Who or What Symbolizes Your Business?
Today’s consumers are bombarded with choices because they can be marketed to with so many different approaches, both online and offline. It’s very easy for a business to get lost in the crowd. There are many success stories of companies that either have a person, a logo or a product with which consumers instantly identify: the Apple Computer logo, a Coca Cola bottle, the name “Kleenex”, Warren Buffet representing his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway…and the list goes on.
Your local company is probably not in the same size category as those mentioned above, but the strategy is still the same. Let’s take Warren Buffet for example. Fresh out of college, a very shy Buffet started working out of a bedroom in his tiny home in Omaha, Nebraska calling neighbors and family friends and telling them about an investment company that he was starting. He eventually, after many attempts, convinced enough people that he had an idea, and the talent, to increase the funds provided him by these people who mustered enough trust in him to write him a check. The rest is history. He eventually named his company “Berkshire Hathaway” and he and his company have become synonymous with creating multimillionaires for those initial investors, as well as many other people along the way.
A good example in the San Diego area of an ordinary person building a business by becoming the voice and symbol for the business is a very unassuming individual named Jerome Navarra, owner of Jerome’s, a local home furnishings company which has grown from a single location 40 years ago to seven locations today (soon to be eight). Today’s San Diego Union Tribune contains a very interesting profile on Jerome and his company.
The article details how Jerome, never intending to work in the business his father started, volunteered to help out part-time to give his father some rest and is still at the helm after all of these years. He has filmed over 4,000 thirty second television commercials and one of his sons in the article marvels at how much of a local celebrity Jerome is, saying, “It’s totally surreal, people wanting your dad’s autograph when he’s just the spokesman for a furniture chain.” With Jerome’s selling one out of every four mattresses in San Diego, the argument can be made that he’s much more than a television commercial celebrity.
The point: no matter how mundane your product (mattresses are not exciting), or that you you’re a shy person (i.e. Buffet and Jerome), personally becoming the symbol of your company (a “brand ambassador” in today’s jargon), having a unique logo or a great story to tell about how and why your company has grown and is successful provides you with much needed leverage in today’s world of information overload. Gaining this public recognition which separates you from the pack is what can take a small or medium sized businesses to that top 5% of their industry.
Don’t despair if you’re business hasn’t arrived at the level you aspire to yet. Think of the austere beginnings of Buffet and Jerome. You’re already further along the road than when they started working their way to the top of their industries. What can you do to stand out from the crowd? What unique story do you have to tell and how can you get it told to the masses? A few suggestions: consider hiring a reputable public relations firm to help. Use the Internet and social media for all they’re worth. Don’t stop using offline media (print, radio, television) just because you’re marketing online, budget for both. Be visible in the public through executive and community forums.
Stories like these of Buffet and Jerome serve as motivating messages that ordinary businesses and owners can go on to become industry icons. It happens every year. You won’t become an overnight success; it will take consistent marketing day in and day out. But it can be done. And to an entrepreneur, those are the only words needed to get the adrenaline pumping once again.
Regents Bank can help you with your financial needs as you grow your business. Visit with a local Regents business banker today. You also can learn more about us at the Regents Bank website.
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Posted on March 5, 2012, in General Business Best Practices, Uncategorized and tagged Berkshire Hathaway, Jerome Navarro, Jerome's Furniture, Regents Bank, Warren Buffet. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.