I want you to look at yourself like a company. The brand of YOU, Inc.
Companies make hundreds of decisions before launch. They choose a name, branding colors & logo, what kind of people they need to hire, ideal clients, price points… you get the picture. They test it, and if something ain’t workin’, they rebrand.
Most people don’t think of themselves in this way. You might hear:
“This is me! Deal with it!”
“Why do I always attract losers?”
“If I’m so great, why doesn’t he want to commit?”
This point of view implies things are set in stone, un-rebrandable, and you’re somehow getting the raw end of the deal, karmically.
I see it differently.
So today, I wanna take a look at the business plans of two completely fictional retail fashion stores.
I’ll call the first store “ALWAYS OF LEGAL DRINKING AGE”… catchy yes?
In the table below, I’ve included certain brand decisions and observations, and on the right, my interpretation of those facts.
ALWAYS OF LEGAL DRINKING AGE
|Found in most malls||=||Easy to find without much thought.|
|Employees are often college kids||=||Few of them are invested in long-term success of the store.|
|Loud music / attention-grabbing colors||=||Screams “party time” and fun.|
|The clothes and products are dirt cheap||=||
You feel kinda rich shopping here. You can get three full outfits, with accessories, for $100. Woot!
Dressing rooms are trashed, clothes on the floor, piled on top of each other, being stepped on, sequins being pulled.
Often referred to as “disposable clothing.”
|New trends are in constant rotation||=||You’re often back for more. Stopping in every time you’re at the mall to just “see what you find” or because “you don’t have anything emerald green in your wardrobe.”|
|Client profile: mostly teens, college kids, & “highly fashionable women on a lower budget.”||=||
Customers come “of age” and/or outgrow the store.
This store is for people who want to look on-trend, but don’t have or are not willing to invest the resources on better quality.
|No refunds! Exchanges only within 7 days||=||What you see, is what you get… forever. You don’t stress though, because if you need to exchange, there’ll be another item you like just as much.|
|Store is often packed & lines are incredibly long||=||
People either know they can find what they’re looking for here, or don’t care what they buy and are willing to just “shop around” for whatever.
From the outside, this place looks like a party everyone should want to go to.
I’m sure you can think of a store like this, right? And there’s nothing wrong with their business plan. In fact, ALWAYS OF LEGAL DRINKING AGE is raking in more than 4 billion dollars a year. Not shabby.
But just for fun, let’s look at another type of store.
Hmmm… I’m just spit-ballin’ here… let’s call it…
|Found in some malls||=||If you’re looking for a Schmoomingschmales, it would be wise to check online before just wandering around, willy-nilly.|
|Employees are often career retail salespeople||=||They dress sharp. They’re quite knowledgeable about brands they sell, how to care for them.|
Delicate music, if any. Maybe even a live pianist playing classical music!
Wide aisles and luxurious dressing rooms
|=||This is a calm place to shop. Meant to make you feel a bit fancy, even. You’re a star, baby!|
|Clothes are quite expensive. Sometimes $90 for a simple T-Shirt. SHEESH!||=||
You actually have to be a bit rich to shop here. If you’re not, you might buy one “investment” piece.
You touch things delicately, carefully placing the hanger back, as if that silk blouse were a work of art.
|Clothing is from trusted high-end designers, known for quality. More emphasis placed on “staple pieces”||=||
You’re often here for something specific. Maybe it’s “smart work clothing” or a gorgeous dress for a special event.
If you fall in love with something you weren’t looking for, you carefully consider if you’ll purchase today or come back after you’ve “earned it.”
|Client profile: People with champagne taste and money to spare||=||Most customers have to “grow into” this store. But once they do, are likely to become life-long, loyal shoppers.|
|Refunds accepted. No questions asked||=||If you’re unsatisfied for any reason, they will try to make it right. They’re investing in you as a customer for the long haul.|
|Customers are sparse||=||Because of the high price tags, people with lower budgets often don’t even go in to look around – worried they’ll be tempted or worse, feel bad about themselves for not being able to afford it.|
SCHMOOMINGSCHMALES Annual revenue? Closer to 3 Billion. Less than ALWAYS OF LEGAL DRINKING AGE.
They’ve chosen to trade market share for their principles of quality, timelessness, and ethically manufactured clothing.
Your choice to shop at either would be based on a lot of things, including current age, income, station in life, and environment.
So what does this mean for you?
What is your brand about?
What do you stand for?
What does your personal support system (your employees) look like?
How do you want to be seen and treated?
Who is your ideal customer?
And when… if ever… do you go “on sale”?
ALWAYS OF LEGAL DRINKING AGE doesn’t need to have sales – it’s always cheap.
SCHMOOMINGSCHMALES sometimes has sales… but it’s rare.
Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, & Versace never go on sale. You can afford them, or you can’t. You’re willing to pay the price, or you’re not.
People know these items are worth the price but are just not in a position to pay for them… yet.
They might say “One day… when I’m rich… I’ll get a pair of those red-bottom shoes!”
Maybe they do.
Maybe they don’t.
Maybe they work harder to afford them.
Maybe they scrimp and save for years so they can have them.
Maybe they decide the knock-off versions on EBay are good enough.
Or maybe they just head over to ALWAYS OF LEGAL DRINKING AGE and buy something flashy to distract themselves and give themselves a momentary rush. See what I’m getting at here?
So, where do you land?
What is the price someone must pay to be in your life? And when, if ever, do you go on sale? My wish for you is never!
If you’re standing in the doorway of your SCHMOOMINGSCHMALES, you have to give up looking across the mall and worrying about how many people shop at ALWAYS OF LEGAL DRINKING AGE!
Those are not your customers.
Those are not your products.
And those are not your salespeople.
You’ve chosen less customers, possibly even less revenue. But your customers treat your store with respect, pay top dollar, and stay with you for the long haul.