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The world is at your fingertips, use it!

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The world is at our fingertips, yet sometimes we still search local.

When a large corporate business is looking for a resource to help them grow or reshape their brand, they are very unlikely to type the phrase “ Brand consultant near me” into google to try and find someone to help them. However, we live in an age of convenience and even when we don’t ask for the most local professional geographically our search engines will conveniently serve us up with the ones which are just around the corner from us.


Our everyday lives prime us to seek out convenience often at the expense of the best experience.


Often, we don’t even think about it. I know I have done it before. “Printers near me” it’s exactly what I typed into google when I needed some documents printing ad-hoc for a client. I don’t know why I did it, but I did. Despite knowing a good handful of printing businesses and using online services like Vista Print, Moo and Print Pond I still decided in the spur of the moment to type in a search that looked not for the most convenient or reliable but for the one closest to my geographical location. Force of habit I suppose when trying to find a cash machine or petrol station when I am away from home and not something that seemed worthy of a second thought until last week….


Firstly I answered an enquiry from a potential client who seemed very interested in working with me. As we got toward the end of the call they asked where I was based. I told them I worked from Milton Keynes but had clients across the country and they quickly responded. “oh I was thinking of working with someone more local” At that point I explained I would have no issue travelling to work with them and also that the bulk of work would be done offsite, but they wanted local. So despite being impressed with my experience and the work I outlined that they could benefit from their pre-determined boundary was a geographical one. Maybe it was just an excuse, but I don’t think so, here is why….


Supporting Local is important but it should be at the expense of getting the best result.


Fast forward 2 days and I am visiting a new client who is about an hour from my office. They have started to build their business but need help to create a brand to package their product into for their great new service-based business. But they have struggled. I ask them if they had worked with a Product and Brand Consultant before or perhaps spoken to a creative agency to get advice and they responded, “Yes I tried working with a local one, I found them online, but they didn’t really have much to offer apart from saying they could make me a logo and print some stationery.” The rather well-worn cogs in my brain started to turn. The less than amazing experience I had with a local printer was being repeated by my client because they had searched “local”!


Before people jump in the comments and get mad saying we should all support local business, please understand that I believe this is true also. But we need to create a separation between supporting a local business that provides what you need and getting support from the best possible professional.  For example, my mechanic is not the closest to me, nor is he the cheapest, but he is a specialist and understands my car. As a result, I am happy to pay him a slightly higher than market rate to repair and maintain my car for me. As well as taking a longer than normal drive to drop off my car when it needs something doing to it.



Geographical location should not be a limiting factor when looking for business support.

The same principle applies to employing someone. Unless you need a person physically onsite to undertake a specific task then limiting your search for talent to a specific location only restricts the access you have to the most talented pool of people to help. I was recently looking for a new person to help fill a role and where they were on the world map was not even a parameter that concerned me. I wanted the best possible talent within the budget I had researched. The result was someone who exceeded my expectations. The reason? Because I gave them the freedom to work around their own commitments and work with flexibility.

The same goes for my client base.


When I started the business, my mind was set on local business owners and businesses located in Buckinghamshire. But then I had a client in Hong Kong, then Poland and I quickly realised that offering Brand Consulting globally was just as easy as offering it to someone who was geographically on my doorstep.



So what are the 2 things that I have taken away from the last week.

 

Well firstly geography is irrelevant, at least for the service that I offer. I need to remind myself that both when I am looking for clients and when looking for services and resources to support them.


Secondly I need to remember that people (just as I did) sometimes adopt a habit that becomes second nature when looking for support and instead of looking for the best possible solution they sometimes default for the most convenient. What does that mean? I suppose I best examine my marketing to make sure my offering looks more convenient. I mean it already is, but breaking down the barrier of perceived convenience from being a local business should probably feature quite highly on my communications for 2024.

 


About the author:

Luke Green. Founder and Consultant, Ballistica LTD.

Luke Green is the founder of Ballistica Consulting which provides Product and Brand solutions for businesses around the world. After working for global musical instrument giant Marshall Amplification for nearly 20 years he set up a consulting company that focuses creating and driving both new startups and revitalising existing brands. Using years of experience in creative product management, international distribution, marketing, and branding.

Passionate about ensuring products and branding align his hands on approach has helped numerous companies develop product strategies, create brand identities, and write business plans that are consumer focused.




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