December 11, 2019 I Next Gen Retailing I by Hayley Voorhees

Make Your Brand Stand Out

In 2020, we will be dealing with the smartest customer base we’ve ever had. If customers have a question, they’re going to look it up on the internet before they call or come into our stores. Not only are our customers smarter, but they’re also busier. An increasing population of working mothers and remote workers are changing the game. People want to do business as quickly and easily as possible. You may only have a matter of seconds to introduce your brand to someone, so how do you get their attention?

People want relationships, not salesmanship. They want to come into your store for the first time and make a connection with someone so that when they need something in the future, they’ll recognize a friendly face.

Here are four steps to take to stand out from the crowd.

1. Learn your customer’s name and repeat it back to them. When you answer the phone, be quick with a pen and paper so that you’re ready to catch their name. Did the whole family come in? Take a second, and greet everyone! Bonus points if you remember their names and can ask how they’re doing the next time they come in to buy reeds.

2. Make sure your customers leave with a memory, not just a product. If someone is taking time out of their day to get in the car, drive across town and walk into your store, they deserve to be welcomed and given your full and undivided attention. They could probably have just gone online and bought what they needed, but they put in effort. This means they’re seeking connection. They want to talk to a real human being. And even if they don’t end up buying something, don’t be discouraged. Thank them for taking the time to stop in.

3. Don’t shove your logo down everyone’s throat. In the 21st century, we are drowning in logos and advertising. The last thing someone wants is another logo staring them down. It’s OK to trust that people are smarter than they look, and they know who they are talking to when they’re on your website or the phone with you.

As a gift to the band directors we work with, I designed a coffee cup just to say thank you for a great school year. I purposefully did not put a logo on the gift, though it did have an element of our brand. The key here is that when our employees in their company polo hand this cup to customers, they know who that gift is from. If you’re handing out merchandise, what are your customers more willing to engage with: something with your logo that represents who you are, or a cool, unique design that represents who they are?

4. Engage with your community. The best way to introduce your brand to new customers is to meet them where they are. This could mean setting up a booth at your baseball team’s opening day or visiting schools with instruments for kids to try. The key here is that the event doesn’t necessarily have to be music-related. Who is your target audience, and where do they typically hang out? If your target is families, maybe a sports game is the best place to greet them, especially if they’re not a family of musicians… yet.

Let’s go back to the main question: How do you get the attention of your customer in a world of brands? Be an authentic human being. People don’t want to interact with big corporate robot companies, they want to interact with real people who have feelings, interests and yes – they want to interact with people who will remember their name and their story. MI

Hayley Voorhees is a current NAMM Young Professionals member and marketing director at Buddy Roger’s Music in Cincinnati, Ohio. NAMM YP consists of young professionals in the music industry.  Our primary focus is on the betterment of the future leaders by providing opportunities to connect, learn and grow from one another. Get involved by visiting

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