When we consider brand marketing, our thoughts immediately turn to large internationally recognized brands.
And, if you’ve been following this blog, you know what I think about traditional brand marketing for martial art schools…
Traditional brand marketing is a waste of time for small businesses, because you don’t have the budget necessary to do traditional brand marketing in your area.
Brands like Apple, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s have huge marketing budgets that they wield like a 55-lb. sledgehammer, bludgeoning the market into submission and recognition of their brand.
However, you don’t have that luxury. Your marketing budget is comparatively tiny, which is why you have to wield it like a scalpel, making just the right incision at just the right spot to get the desired effect (which is why I also say you have to study marketing as if your life depended on it – but that’s a topic for another post).
That being said, there is an aspect to brand marketing that is of crucial importance to the small business owner. And that is, the experience of the consumer in the marketplace with regards to your brand.
Building Your Brand By Simply Doing Things Better
“Brand is the aggregate experience of the value proposition.”
~ Pamela Markey, brand marketing researcher
What exactly does that quote mean, and what does it mean for your school? Very simply put, what Ms. Markey is saying is that the sum total of your brand’s impact on a given consumer is equal to their experience with your brand.
In other words, your brand is the quality of the service you provide to your customers plus the quality of the image you present in the marketplace.
Now, what this means to you is that your brand is your reputation in your local community. For those who are familiar with your brand, it equals the sum total experience they have had in dealing with your business. And for those who are unfamiliar with your brand, it equals their experience with your image and marketing.
Again, your brand is your reputation, which is why you must protect it and nurture it by committing to the simple act of doing things better. Doing things halfway dilutes your brand, and that includes everything from keeping your school clean, to the quality of your marketing, to the quality of the instruction you provide, to the quality of the interactions you have with your customers.
Folks, people talk. And, marketing studies have proven time and again that people are more apt to share a bad experience than a positive one. So, a little slip in quality here, a small lapse in judgement there, and pretty soon your brand is losing traction in your local market.
And that’s why it’s so very important for you to make a commitment to doing everything at a very high level of performance in your business, and to keep close tabs on the quality of every aspect of your marketing, facilities, and services.
Excellence Is A From-The-Top-Down Endeavor
In an organization, excellence is not something that is directed or commanded; instead, it is something that is modeled and learned by example. In other words, organizational excellence is a from-the-top-down endeavor.
So, if you want excellence in your business, it has to start with you. That means if you want timely, neatly groomed, and polite employees and students, then you need to be timely, neat, and courteous. If you want a school that is spick-and-span clean, then it starts with you making a public effort to keep it neat and clean at all times. And if you want high-energy classes and enthusiastic students, you need to be high energy and enthusiastic at all times.
You see, excellence is contagious, and once you catch it you’ll see it spread to your staff and students. All it takes is for you to make a conscious decision to exhibit excellence in everything you do, and the example you set as a leader will be mimicked and modeled by the students and staff you lead. I can assure you that it will have a transformative impact on your school, and in turn on your brand as well.
Areas That Require Excellence In Martial Art School Management
Here is a list of areas in which you should demand excellence from yourself, and model that excellence for your staff and students. It is by no means exhaustive, but it will at least give you a good starting point and perhaps serve as a checklist for creating a culture of excellence in your dojo.
- Cleanliness – Is your dojo neat and clean? Do you and your staff clean the school top-to-bottom after the last class of the day? Is there a place for everything, and is everything in it’s place? Do you, your staff, and your students have a habit of putting things back neatly where they belong? And, do you have simple systems in place (for example, daily cleaning checklists) that ensure the dojo is always clean and tidy?
- Professionalism – What is the condition of your equipment? Do you regularly replace it when it starts to look worn and used? How about the walls and flooring in your studio – is it time for some paint and repair? Are you always on time? Do you and your staff live and die by the clock? How do you and your staff answer the phone? Is it consistent and courteous? Do you always come to work well-groomed, in a clean pressed uniform that is odor-free? Are you odor-free? Is your school odor-free? Your staff? How do you speak to your students and your staff? Is your language clean? Do you demand clean language in your school? Are you intent on presenting a professional image at all times?
- Marketing – Does your marketing look like your 12-year-old son did it? Did your 12-year-old son do it? Do you hire professionals to create your marketing, or do you just whip something up using MS Office or Photoshop Elements and declare it good enough? Do you use professional photos in your marketing, or just take snapshots with your phone? Do you consider the impact of what you share on Facebook and Twitter before you post it? Do you know your target market, and is everything you put out strategically designed with the intent of resonating with that target market?
Commit To Excellence, Because Your Commitment Is Your Brand
Once you accept that everything you do reflects on your brand, you’ll have taken the first step to elevating your brand in the local marketplace. So, today I want you to make a commitment to exude excellence from the moment you wake up to the time your head hits the pillow at night.
Trust me, it will make a huge difference in your bottom line over time. You may not see a blip in your numbers for weeks or even months, but it will happen. The key is in being consistent in your commitment to excellence.
Once you’re committed and you begin to practice excellence daily, it will soon become a habit. And, that habit will spread to your staff and students. Excellence will go viral in your dojo.
And when excellence becomes your brand, your local market dominance is assured.
– – –
Want to know more about brand marketing for martial art schools? Pick up my latest book, Martial Art School Business Growth Strategies, coming soon to Amazon.com!