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How a first-grade teacher built a better brand than you

My son just started first grade at school and I’m extremely impressed with his teacher, Miss Honeycutt. She was polite and sweet in the way that all first-grade teachers should be, but in addition to that, she has built a brand for herself that would seriously compete with most small businesses. As a teacher, she’s wholly embraced her name and made it work for her in a way that keeps her memorable. As a consultant, I couldn’t help but take the lessons I saw and share them with you.

Focus on a single idea or element, and saturate your content with it.

Miss Honeycutt, because of her last name, chose bees as her personal mascot. From the moment you walked into her room, you saw cute yellow and black, buzzing bees and everything that represented them. Bees on the wall. Beehives on the desks. Bees in every single piece of material and literature she handed out to the new parents she was there to meet that night.

Take a look at your own store. Peruse your brochures, your business card and your website. Do they all carry the same core values? The same color scheme? Does someone looking at your business card know you by your website? Think about how to streamline your brand down to a few essential points and then make sure those points are in every single piece of material that a prospective customer would come into contact with. At the least, each should have:

  • Your name (in the same font) or your logo.
  • Your web address.
  • Your most popular method of contact (email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.).

Get the best and most important information front and center.

IMG_1147When you’re starting a new experience with someone, one of the best things you can do is give them some idea of what to expect. That’s why this handy FAQ we got from Miss Honeycutt was a real gem. Having an understanding of what to do on birthdays, or when to expect report cards really made the meeting smooth, and helped get answers to questions we hadn’t even considered yet.

Provide an easy way to get in touch.

A simple business card of sorts, appropriately styled in comic-sans font (the only profession you’re allowed to use this font, if I do say so myself), gave us all the most pertinent information in an easy-to-reach manner. It even had a magnet on the back, so it could be easily found on the refrigerator.

Don’t miss the chance to leave a lasting impression.

There’s a reason that the pediatrician gives your child a sucker on their way out the door—they know that going to the doctor can be an uncomfortable experience, so a little sugar can go a long way. Miss Honeycutt knew from years of experience that a little candy was the quickest way to a student’s heart, which is why she sent each of them home with a bag of “Bit o’ Honey” for themselves. In the same way, be intentional about finding a way to “sweeten the deal” with your own customers or prospects. A small gesture can be inexpensive, and still mean so much.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you embrace your identity and be creative in making it memorable to those you come in contact with. This teacher has figured it out—will you?

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