Kevin Barber

Kevin Barber

Kevin is the Creative Director of Vybrary. He has created videos for some of the world's leading brands, like Gatorade, Budweiser, Mastercard, and Forbes, been featured by Ellen Degeneres, and has created video campaigns that have generated 30 million views (of a single video, alone!) for small businesses-2-3x-ing annual revenues. He has also taught Film & Media at Pace University and regularly holds commercial workshops in NYC. He currently resides in Nyack, NY.

How to Be Consistent & Creative with Your Small Business Brand at the Same Time

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Today we’re going to be talking a little bit about the two C’s of maintaining and leveraging a digital presence online. And that is consistency and creativity

We’re going to break those down further, but it is something that most local businesses can really benefit from keeping top of mind, which is how can you be consistent in how you present yourself,  how you reach people, and how can you also be creative in that approach so that people are engaged and interested in what you have  to say instead of going, “oh, here comes the same thing over and over again.” 

The Three P's of Consistency: Presence, Perception & Performance

So if we’re to think of consistency, let’s break that down into the three P’s. I’m all about the acronyms this morning.  We’re going to look at presence, perception, and performance. 

Presence

 First off: consistency in presence. Now this one’s fairly straightforward in that we want to be in top of mind, as much as possible. And that can be in a number of different ways, though. And that’s where it can get a little more interesting, a little more complex, because if we look at how we can be present, well, what channels do we have? Where are people? Where are they spending their attention?

An obvious one, and  tied to what we do here at Vybrary, is social media. Your audience is most likely on Facebook or YouTube or Instagram. And it’s up to you to know where they would be. Those tend to be the common ones. We also have, of course, tick-tock and Snapchat.

 Depending on the platform, you’ll have more or less organic reach. And that’s where Facebook has strong- armed you into paying for exposure. Your organic business posts aren’t going to get that much reach anymore. Whereas other platforms like LinkedIn have your personal profiles more, but are your customers seeing you there? Maybe not.

 So ads give us a way to be present, especially when we aren’t running ads all the time that are for conversions that are just trying to throw an offer. But instead we provide some additional content. We can stay consistent in the presence of our consumers daily lives. 

Perception

Next up we have perception, how are people perceiving us? And that can be something as Mishy, mashy, as you know, what our brand colors and our logo or our type font, and being consistent in that way.

But it can also be consistent in terms of our mission.  What do we stand for? What do people look to us for and expect from us in terms of the kind of a tone? Are we optimistic? Are we hopeful? Are we more talking about practicality? Having a certain point of view, a certain voice can be really helpful. 

And this is where having someone on your team consistently doing this, or at least being able to govern or manage any contractors you bring on board, that can be really helpful. Because then people get to know and identify your business with a certain tone. It’s helpful to think of that in terms of visual. It’s helpful to think of that in terms of the actual content and the actual writing and sticking to something in that realm where people know they’re going to see a certain kind of a certain kind of content from you is very helpful.

Performance

Next up, we have consistency of performance and this is what most small businesses are used to working on, which is: when people actually engage with you, they get a very specific kind of service or specific kind of care. This is where customer interactions come into play in customer service. And that performance obviously speaks worlds for you and then will create testimonials and, you know, reliability in that sense. 

So when we have these three P’s — our presence, our perception, our performance, that kind of consistency is really important for creating an overall impression in our customer’s minds and  also keeping us top of mind.  We could break this down a lot more in terms of presence, once people enter your sales funnel, that’s a whole other way of looking at things that a lot of local businesses don’t follow. Quite often, their traditional sales process is like, “okay, they contacted us, we’ll contact them back, qualify them, and then be in touch, set an appointment…” but there are a lot of different ways that we can stay in touch– both with ads, but also with sequences and automations through email, through text ,where we can stay top of mind there as well and be present. 

Creativity Applied to the Three P's:

We have consistency, but what keeps that from becoming boring? We need to constantly be creative. We need to be changing it up. We need to come up with different ways for people to engage with us and show different angles. 

Presence

So if we look at the three PS through the creative lens, we have presence. One of the big things that we can do here is make sure that we are reaching people, using the different modalities that people use to consume content, to view our presence. Different people are different kinds of learners. They are visual, they are auditory. They are both. They like to read. Presenting our presence in creative ways where we’re not just always sending an email, maybe we send a video in an email, or maybe we write a blog post, or maybe we record an auditory piece of content, much like we’re doing here because some of your potential customers have a long commute, and they’d  rather listen to you. Some would rather consume your content in the morning coffee. 

So your presence, using different modalities, becomes form- fitted to how your audience lives and chooses to consume that content. And that makes it easier for you to be present. That makes it more interesting for them because you are meeting the way that they like to be reached in their daily routine. 

Perception

So then we also look at creativity of perception. Yes, it’s important to be consistent with how we are seen in terms of our visual representation, our tone, our mission,  feeling that they get from us, but. We also have to remember that people are complex. We have different psychological needs and desires at different times. So that doesn’t mean we want to be consistent and the same all the time. It means that we want to work  in the same ecosystem.

 So we can, can not only be altruistic and optimistic. We could also be funny sometimes. We could also be more serious and more concerned. We can inhabit the full human experience as a business. And we can do that as a way to present a more full perception our business because that’s how people are.

And the more caverns are the more sections of people that we awaken, the more full their experience of our business is going to be, the more they’re going to relate to us, the more they’re going to connect with us, and the more they’re going to trust us. Which, especially in high ticket lead gen businesses, something like solar, where you are investing in 20 years, you’re going to be  paying that thing back. That’s a big commitment. And so the more aspects of their humanity that you connect with the better and having a more creative approach in terms of the modalities and then in terms of the tones– that’s going to really help. 

Performance

Then we have performance, creativity in performance. You can always be offering different add- ons or different ways that you can serve them better. And that’s just about being present with the times and not just getting stuck in your rut. If you offer solar installs– well, maybe you have adjacent services like battery backup, or like a pool heater. You can offer different ways to stay relevant and creative in putting together a package for your performance.

And then also creativity in the delivery of that performance. In terms of customer care, where you can be more interactive with them, you can reach them in different ways. You can ask right at the first interaction, do you prefer texts? Do you prefer phone? And you can be creative in that approach and test those things and see what people respond to. 

Making Creative Consistency Practical

So here we have consistency. We have creativity. And both of those are going to enhance your customer relationships, enhance the warmth and quality of your leads, if you aren’t already doing business with them, because you’re going to be reaching people and speaking to different parts of their humanity on their terms.

The last thing that we have to remember is that being consistent, being creative– all these different modalities, all these different experiments– this doesn’t have to be a full-time job. You’re probably hearing this and thinking, “well, I don’t have the bandwidth for that.  That’s all great in theory, but what do you do with that?”

Automation

 If we look at consistency, yes, team is a way to make consistency, but also automation is a big one.  Looking at the different modalities , you have ads. Once you set that up, that can run for a little bit. And that will keep you consistently top of mind. In terms of reaching people via text or email, you can set up certain automations that are triggered. That can be quite consistent without you having to put in the man hours, woman hours, the person hours to make that work. 

SOP's (Standard Operating Procedures)

In terms of perception, you can create a certain brand guidelines, and then you can have team work within that. With performance, obviously you set up your SOP, is you set up your standard operating procedures, your structures, and that can create consistency.

In Closing

 You can be creative, without having to constantly reinvent the wheel. You can look at it as, “okay, every couple months we’re going to change it up,” and then you can import this new creative into the same delivery automations and SOP’s that you already have set up.

 I don’t want you to think that you have to be on this rat race, that this is out of reach. It’s more about setting the creative parameters and then being consistent with how you apply them– Whether you are using digital technical automations, whether you are bringing in an outside team, on occasion, or training your team to do it, this can be a much smaller investment of time. 

 

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