Luminous recently sponsored and attended the 23rd Annual PM Forum Conference 2018, where marketers from the professional services sector gathered to explore influences, inspire creativity and share examples among peers.
The theme of this year’s conference was The Bare Necessities – centred around legendary marketer Bill Bernbach’s thoughts: ‘Human nature hasn’t changed for a million years. It won’t change in the next million years. Only the superficial things have changed.’
Chaired by Lucy Canning of Grant Thornton, the sessions discussed how to capture the attention of clients/customers, the behavioural science behind decision making, and who’s doing it well, both inside and outside the industry.
Jeannie Gibson, New Business Executive shares her key takeaways:
1. Get clued up: The human mind is a fickle thing. Even the most logical of decision makers will be affected by biases that are out of a marketer’s control. If you grasp this, and what these biases are, you can begin to use them as an opportunity.
2. Get creative: Put yourself in the client’s shoes – focus ruthlessly on one or two experiences of interaction as these make a lasting impression. ‘Creativity trumps cash’ is a more memorable way of putting it, and easier to talk about.
3. Get real: Prospective clients do not spend much time thinking about your brand. Tom Roach of BBH London explained how to build a brand that will stand out in the crowd and revealed budget-increasing statistics:
How to build a brand:
- Find your brand truth.
- Get noticed.
- Wear the same clothes (distinguish a visual identity).
- Be consistent.
- Tell a story.
- Say it with feeling.
Facts and figures:
- Brand value represents an average of 20% of a business’s market capitalisation.
- High-strength brands deliver a greater volume of sales – up to 3x the volume sales of the average brand.
- Big brands can charge a premium (6–13% more).
- A strong brand has 4x more chance of growth than a weak brand.
- Make a long-term investment: Over a period of six months, brand building investments earn greater payback compared with short-term sales activation investments.
4. Show, don’t tell: Taking inspiration from outside the industry, the most memorable campaigns show, in a compelling way, how the product or brand is differentiated, rather than clogging up inboxes. If it doesn’t evoke a ‘Ha! Oohh! Eek!’ response, it’s likely your email/campaign will be archived, for good.
5. Get emotional: In the professional services sector you are keeping people on the straight and narrow, helping to build businesses – it’s emotional stuff. Use this to your advantage to help build a lasting brand and build memory.
6. Use agencies: In the words of multi-award-winning Brian Macreadie, Head of Brand & Campaign Marketing at BCLP, carve a bigger budget and use creative agencies to create impact.
7. Be nice: According to the client panel, professional services should be doing things on (brand) purpose. If your business’s motives and beliefs align with those of the client, they are more likely to buy. The panel also stated the importance of the fee-earners truly reflecting what their brand messaging is saying. Be nice, and ask the client what makes them tick. It would seem there’s a long-term advantage in going the extra mile.
The Luminous view
We agree that finding the brand truth and sharing a key message is essential to be distinctive in the industry. Distilling and refining the messaging of your company should allow that message to be heard in the professional services crowd.
Sheila Morrison, Luminous’ Head of Brand Engagement, adds that, more than ever, clients expect you to have distinct purpose and a point of view about what’s happening in the world. Marketers in the professional services sector should not underestimate the power of brand in bringing this to life.
If you’d like to find out how we can help you define your purpose and stand out in a crowded market, please get in touch.