Hook, Line and Sinker

Why a brand strategy is an expert communicator's best kept secret.


Summary: When you're launching a communication business, you've got to have your shtick together. That's why the best communicators always work with a brand strategist to get their message straight. This story illustrates how a message strategy helped a communication trainer break into the corporate market to launch her new business with a $20K first sale.



Patty had just completed her doctoral thesis on how miscommunication impacts a company’s bottom line. She had written a book on the subject. And as part of her effort to land new corporate clients and build a bridge into the market, she had created a powerful, cutting-edge message aimed at CFOs: Clear communication saves money and increases profitability. Her doctoral thesis was built around this theme. But this expert communicator’s message was falling on deaf ears. She lacked a strategy to engage her audience. Patty needed a hook to get their attention.



After meeting and talking with Patty and hearing her pitch, Jenn recognized the misalignment right away. Patty had aimed her message at the wrong audience. It was HR professionals, not CFOs, who make initial decisions about training. HR directors are focused on developing human capital, not financial capital.

Jenn crafted a new message relevant to this target audience: “Empower your people to be profitable...” Then she reworked Patty’s talk for an upcoming speaking engagement where she was to present in front of an audience of HR directors. Here is how she set the bait: “How many of you enjoy reading resumes and filling jobs?” No one responded. Of course they didn’t. The least attractive part of their job is hiring and firing people. Then she said, "my clear communication training helps you retain your best employees and negotiate with your CFO better." She had their attention. The rest of the presentation Patty described how her communication training keeps people productive and make the company more money. By the end of her presentation she had ten new business leads.




But now that she had them hooked and was making proposals to win their business, Patty had a different problem: how to reel them in and land the first contract. Before they would hire her, the directors wanted references. Since this was a new training program, she had none. Patty could deliver what she was promising. She had no doubt. What she lacked, however, was the ability to articulate that to these potential new clients in a way that would convince them. So her initial instinct was to discount her services – thus discounting her value. Jenn reminded Patty that her experience as a Dale Carnegie trainer and years as a university professor, more than justified the price she wanted to charge.

Jenn helped Patty respond to their reference request by positioning her experience and explaining that while her client list was confidential, she could arrange for them to speak with colleagues, professors and even students with whom she had worked.

She nailed it. She signed her first training contract at $20K and launched her new business, Clear Communication Institute.


Could you use help generating revenue in your business?

A brand strategy helps you pull all the pieces together and design your fastest path to cash. Here are four ways and seven case studies that reveal how a brand strategy puts money in the bank.