Debbie LaChusa – Speaker Highlight
Is your business “gift wrap” or real substance?
This question was an essential part of Debbie LaChusa’s presentation at the 2011 SuccessNet Summit. Debbie is known throughout North America and Australia as The Business Stylist® because she helps business owners design a business, brand and marketing that “fit” them perfectly.
I have seen many great marketing and branding presentations throughout the years in a variety of industry settings. What made Debbie stand out was her real time and real life business experience. Debbie began her presentation by challenging us to look inward for the answers to the following questions:
What do you truly want?
Why do you want to start a business or be in business?
Do you want your business or someone else’s business?
In her research, Debbie conducted her own survey of hundreds of people to determine what people truly want. Her findings reported that 6% of respondents ranked money as the top achievement they seek. 9% claim that success is the most critical to them. The 85% who were left, responded that happiness is the key ingredient that they seek in the recipe called life.
From these results, Debbie compelled us to understand that the responses shown above come from an old societal path that we have walked and accepted. She noted how so many business owners and people run their life based on a series of should of, could of, have to, what if and only others can (but not me). I found this to be a unique start to a “marketing & branding” presentation. Where’s the nuts and bolts of building a successful brand and business?
Debbie noted that most people subscribe to this formula:
Happiness = Success & Money
Debbie then went on to present the new model of she called her Business Success Formula or Happiness2:
Value you bring your clients + Packaging = Success & Money
Happiness squared is derived from value plus how you package and present that value to your clients and customers. Adding value comes from your ability to solve real problems and deliver tangible outcomes for your clients or for whomever you serve. This is an excellent reminder for any of us involved in running a business. I would argue that the same formula would work well in any relationship or household to improve your quality of life.
Debbie then split up the packing of your services into two buckets called marketing and branding.
Marketing by Debbie’s definition is your ability as a business or promoter to make a connection and resonate with the prospect. You only need 3-4 methods to do this. Debbie made special mention that video, blogging and social media are easy ways for us to reach, connect and resonate with our audience. It is critical that you pick the method(s) that you will feel comfortable with and be able to sustain in the long run as part of your messaging.
The word “messaging” arrested my attention. I feel that many people struggle with the concept of marketing because it is a mammoth sized subject area. Sometimes it is very vague and we struggle with taking action to improve our marketing strategy because we are distracted. However, I can think about a message. A message is singular and has the single task of conveying one specific idea to the audience.
What message do you convey to your audience about your business?
I urge you to think about the 1, 3, 5 or 100 messages you and your business are telling the world about. Take the time to improve each message one by one or perhaps it may be time to simplify into one strong, powerful and memorable message.
Debbie transitioned immediately into the branding process. She laid out two very key questions that she has successfully used with her clients to help them rebrand their image and messaging. These questions are intended to help you define your brand.
- Who are you?
- What do you stand for?
What do you think of when you read the list below?
- Martin Luther King
- Lady Gaga
- Tiffany & Co
Each person or entity in the list creates very specific reactions from people. Whether you favour or dislike the list, it is undeniable that each one stands out among the average crowd.
Brand Discovery Process. What I liked most about Debbie’s content was her style and simplicity of how she presented and categorized the content to create a real experiential learning (and profit) experience for all of us in the room. This unique process has you answer three distinct questions which if you give enough time and creativity to, will yield tremendous results for you.
- What do you want to do?
- What business are you in?
- What’s your Point of View?
I never had heard the phrase “point of view” used this way in a branding discussion. Your point of view is similar to a USP or unique selling proposition. It is the one thing that immediately and quickly separates your value proposition from the rest of the competition. Think Nike, Domino’s Pizza, Fed Ex, Dairy Queen and other businesses in your area that do this well.
Back to the original question: Is your business “gift wrap” or real substance?
Gift wrap is the trappings we get caught up in and diverts our attention from the substance and value we offer along with the problems we solve. Your logo, business colors, website, pens, signs, stickers, badges and business cards are components of gift wrap.
Debbie closed by calling us to action to ensure we all present integrity in the substance that our business has to offer. She also shared with us that significance is success.