Brand Building: Managing Expectations in Your Small Business

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Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Yesterday I had an interesting email conversation with one of our coaching members. She’s a small business owner who really gets marketing so I love having discussions with her about marketing and branding. The topic: managing expectations when brand building. You’ve often heard Sarah talk about this, but today I may have a little different spin.

Recently, we hosted The Small Business Marketing Joysummit. Some of you experienced technical issues and called us. Your call may have been answered by Sarah or maybe Kate gave you a personal phone call.

Did you expect to talk to Sarah or get a personal phone call from a person who was happy to help you deal with your issues? We hope so. Because we are The Photography Business Institute. And even though it was a FREE event, we put all of our resources on customer support (I was on twitter and facebook all day to answer your questions quickly) because it’s important to us to provide education to small business owners.

Were we perfect? No. We acknowledge that and are bothered by it. And maybe you were disappointed that we weren’t. But we did our sincere best and we hope you experienced that.

Now more about how managing expectations relate to your small business. If your marketing materials say you have the freshest ingredients in the city or cater to animal lovers or bring NYC fashion to the midwest then you are setting expectations.

Yet if your restaurant claims to have the freshest ingredients in the city, yet has a sign in your window in JUNE stating that if you wear your Halloween costume in you’ll receive 10% off your order (true story), then I’m doubting you have the freshest ingredients in the city! Why? Well your marketing isn’t fresh so I bet you don’t pay attention to detail with everything else you do either, including in the kitchen. You have not managed expectations in this case and you’ve hurt your credibility.

My point, be careful when you set expectations with your clients. Make sure you are 100% dedicated to fulfilling these expectations. Because if you’re not, your credibility will suffer.

On a side note – It’s unfortunate that we had these issues to begin with when it came to the Joysummit and logging in to access the site. And we’re sorry it wasn’t as seamless an experience as you may have hoped. We’ve made notes and we’ll improve because that’s what we do.

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