“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” – Poet Maya Angelou
They say when you die, you don’t remember what people said to you – you remember how they made if you feel. The same holds true for a brand. If you want your business to succeed in an ever-saturated marketplace, and your customers to remember you, effective and memorable branding is key. We work with many of our clients on branding, messaging and design, before we even begin to make announcements externally. Oftentimes, clients confuse a logo as the firm’s corporate identity; a logo is not your brand. Branding is about HOW people feel about your company. This can be done through design, but it’s also done through every interaction you have externally, the stories written on your firm, what you say at conferences, the events you hold, the kinds of clients you do business with, and who you hire.
Typically when you think of strong brands, you think of consumer firms: Starbucks, Nike, L’Oreal, but when done effectively, financial and professional services companies have the power to make you feel a certain way as well. When you think of Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Co., Bain & Capital, PricewaterhouseCoopers – you are confident in the experience you’ll have with them and that you’re working with experts in their respective field. Coincidentally, the logo and name of the firm become less important. What is Bain’s logo? PWC’s? It’s how the company makes you feel.
We recently hosted an event, “Bevel on Bourbon,” at Collision, one of the fastest growing tech conferences hosted in New Orleans. It was an invite-only, private event for venture capitalists, CEOs of emerging tech firms and media influencers. Why, in just three months of being open, would we do this? A few reasons: first, at Bevel, we are connectors, but we don’t just connect you to the media. We connect you with people who will drive your business forward. We carefully selected each and every person to attend, very well knowing that VCs would want to meet the top tech CEOs and vice versa and everyone would want to build relationships with reporters. Unfortunately, these tech conferences have become so massive, with upwards of 15,000 people, that they can seem like a waste of time. But we see them as a huge opportunity. Instead of just attending a conference, we’ll work with you to secure a keynote speaking opportunity, connect you with reporters, arrange a branded networking event and introduce you to people who make the trip worth your time.
But it’s not enough to just have a networking event. Most people, especially some of the introverts we work with in finance, would rather walk through the streets of Manhattan during a downpour without an umbrella than make small talk. You need to make events fun so that people forget they’re talking to complete strangers. So we packed our bags, with 250 beads – branded of course in teal with Bevel tags – and encouraged everyone to participate in the New Orleans tradition of throwing beads off the balcony to the revelers below. We had a live jazz band, muffulettas, and a branded Bevel on Bourbon drink. Even though New Orleans blessed us with a torrential downpour in typical Hurricane Katrina fashion, people who attended said it was the most memorable part of the conference. So what do you think they’ll say when they talk about Bevel? They’ll talk about how we made them feel and the people they met through us – and that is the cornerstone of our brand.