Business Porn: How a Signature System could be just what your brand needs in the age of COVID-19

May 1, 2020

Shorthand

Most service-based businesses really find it hard to nail their value proposition and to express it in a way that’s really compelling.

How many presos have you sat through where you’re shown slide after slide and you just want the nub of it?

I learned this lesson myself early in my career when a client stopped my pitch to say he liked shorthand. Could I give it to him in two minutes?

I found it difficult at the time, but in today’s world elevator pitches have become the norm. VCs usually give startup founders seven minutes to win their money. And the elevator pitch is named for the opportunistic chance that you meet a potential investor or client on the elevator and have to make an impression before they reach their floor.

Business porn

Renée Hasseldine is the CEO of Share Your Passion, which takes the genius out of an expert’s brain and turns it into, in her words: ‘Business porn. Really sexy intellectual property.’

Why should clients choose you? What makes you remarkable?

Renée deals with service-based companies and creates a Signature System for them that visualises their value proposition.

Entrepreneurs and companies often focus on the wrong thing. They may not see what is remarkable, or think something is remarkable that isn’t.

If I’m a potential client, why should I hire you? Give me the pitch. I’ll often have clients tell me: ‘We’re really good on service. We deliver what we promise.’

And I’m like yawn yawn yawn, is that the best you can do? They may have been in business for thirty years and have offices all over the world. But they really find it difficult to articulate what makes them special.

 

The Signature System

Renée’s Signature System comprises visual models.

‘The system I teach uses four models, four pictures. I have a script where you tell a story. Like a concertina, it can then expand for someone who wants more details. Same core structure, same skeleton.

‘The Signature System is a magical thing that becomes the basis for all your speaking gigs, pitches, social media content, and the services that you actually deliver to your clients. Every single product that you offer your clients should be based on this Signature System. If not, you’ve gone off track and gotten distracted by shiny objects.’

Why a visual representation of the brand’s core?

‘We remember things that we see,’ Renée says. ‘We all have different ways of learning and absorbing information. The cool thing about putting it into a visual model is that the visual people obviously like it, the auditory people hear it being described, and the kinesthetic people draw it. So every learning style is covered by putting things into a visual model. It makes the information easier to absorb.’

‘The Signature System is a magical thing that becomes the basis for all your speaking gigs, pitches, social media content, and the services that you actually deliver to your clients. Every single product that you offer your clients should be based on this Signature System. If not, you’ve gone off track and gotten distracted by shiny objects.’

Cut the jargon

She says she was on a sales call this morning and had to ask the same question five times because they so needed to say what they needed to say, which was jargon that made absolutely no sense to anybody but them.

‘Your business is like a cardboard box and you’re inside the box. All of the stuff the world sees about you is written on the outside of the box. All you see is the bubble wrap. You’re digging through that shit, but the gold is on the outside of the box and you can’t even see that.’

Conversely, the outside of the box may be vandalised, and everyone sees the graffiti but you.

Her Signature System is used by the sales and marketing team as a guide for developing collateral. It is used by HR to create training modules for new people as they’re coming on board. It is used in service delivery to ensure consistency of the brand across all client touchpoints. With the Signature System you know that your clients are going to get consistent, quality results no matter which team member they are working with.

‘It means you can build a more scalable business in a sustainable way that continues to get outstanding results. Which is important in a service-based business or you won’t survive.’

 

Grab the bull by the horns

Now it is more important than ever to develop a Signature System, because every single business is going through an unprecedented change. You can either be reactive and put out fires all day long, or you can take the bull by the horns and work out how you’re going to make things better.

Renée asks us to ‘Reimagine if you were going to build your business from the ground up, what would you do?’

The world has moved online, and people have shorter attention spans than when face-to-face. They can mute you or grab a coffee. That client I mentioned who wanted shorthand—well that’s everyone now.

And Renée points out you can’t wine and dine clients anymore. You can’t buy people off. At least not so easily. The biggest expense account no longer automatically wins the business. You have to demonstrate real value.

The pressure to efficiently, effectively articulate what you do, and why, has never been more important.

 

Don’t die with the music in your head

Too many businesses, especially service companies, fail to develop IP. They hang out a shingle and leave it at that, believing that having a license or degree is all they need to attract clients and build customer loyalty. Many of these businesses fail because they have nothing to say. They are no different from a hundred competitors.

Renée tells entrepreneurs, ‘If you’re a professional, service-based business, and you have world-conquering dreams, then you need to take what is in your head and turn it into something fucking awesome.’

My singing teacher once said the world would be a better place if everyone learned how to sing. I think the business world would be a better place if everyone had a Signature System. In fact, I’ve just engaged Renée to help me with ours.

Renée Hasseldine can be contacted here.

This blog post was inspired by an interview between Darren Taylor and Renée Hasseldine (CEO of Share Your Passion) on Rebranding Branding: The Podcast – Discover your brand mojo. If you would like to hear the interview, listen or subscribe here
Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor

MD & Head of Strategy and Research

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