The Experience Effect for Small Business is Full of Big Branding Strategies

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The Experience Effect for Small BusinessJim Joseph (@JimJosephExp) is a self procalimed “Marketing Guy — always was, always will be” he says in his introduction to his latest book The Experience Effect for Small Business – Big Brand Results with Small Business Budgets.  

Joseph is the author of the precurser book The Experience Effect where he shared how creating a relevant brand experiene can have a tremendous effect on your customers and your business.  The Experience Effect featured some of Joseph’s big brand strategies and stories.  It was a well received book and contained a lot of brand building processes and tips that any business owner can use.  But it was a book that featured  big brands and you would have to do some extrapolation to take some of those strategies and apply them to your small business.

As the book begins, Joseph shares his inspiration for this follow up book.  He talks about how he was writing his first book when the economy exploded and people started losing jobs left and right.  He talked about how the big paychecks and bonuses disappeared and how this new economy brought to light the myriad small businesses out there that were springing up as newly “freed up” entrepreneurs launched new businesses.

This is what inspired him to write The Experience Effect for Small Business.  In this book, he aims to more directly give small businesses tools and tricks of the branding trade that the big boys use to build brands and make it easier for small businesses to apply at budgets that they can afford.

How Jim Joseph Got His Branding Chops

Jim Joseph has specialized in award winning branding and marketing strategies for over twenty five years.  He’s built some very well known customer brands and marketing agencies along the way such as Kraft, Nestle, Cadillac, Tylenol, and any more.  He is currently the President and partner at Lippe Taylor, an agency dedicated to “marketing with women” across all categories including beauty, fashion, shopping, food, home, wellness and healthcare.

My Experience of The Experience Effect

Since we’re talking about experiences, I guess I’ll give you my experience of The Experience Effect for Small Business.  I’m both a marketer and a small business, so when I received my review copy and started reading it — that’s how I looked at it.  I figured this was Jim’s product and I’m going to experience it.

The first thing I noticed is that I had received an autographed copy — “That’s nice”  I thought.  The inscription used my name (so I know it wasn’t mass autographed) and it was sort of fun.  It said “What’s your experience?”  Hmm.  Maybe that’s what inspired this paragraph.  There’s that subliminal advertising at work again.

Now, I had read his first book, The Experience Effect, and thought it was very good – but I didn’t end up reviewing it the first time.  Maybe that was because I felt that it shared a lot of marketing and branding strategy for big brands and not enough meat for small business.  So, I’m really happy that I have the opportunity to share what’s inside with you.

The tone of the writing is fun and friendly.  Jim seems to be a smart and likeable guy.  When you read any of the chapters, it’s very much like being in a conversation with Jim.  I like that.  What I think that YOU will appreciate (especially if you’re not a marketing genius) is that he’s made the branding lessons more practical and used more small business examples.

Here is just one example from the begining of the book:

“Now I’ve been to other dry cleaners in the neighborhood, several actually.  And they all did a good job, too.  So why did I switch around until I found this particular one?

For one simple reason, at this dry cleaner, the remember me.

The employees/owners greet me on a first name basis, and say hello each time.  They inquire about my kids and ask if my clothes are coming out ok.  The other places never really acknowledged me as a person.  So I switched.”

Not Much Difference From The Original

As I read through this version of the book, I have to say that there is not much difference from the original.  There are still many references to BIG brands.  This is what Joseph knows and understands and these big brands have lots to teach us.

In fact, one benefit I can see by using all these big brand references is that all of us knows exactly what he’s talking about.  We all know and understand and have a shared experience around Coke or the NFL.  So Joseph’s tutorials on dissecting a message or analyzing the competition are much more easily understood when he’s referring to a big brand that you know rather than a mom and pop you’ve never heard of.

But if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like or appreciate big brand references or stories because you feel that your business isn’t like that — then you will find this book frustrating.

Cool Insider Branding and Marketing Tips

I wanted to call this section “cool tools” or templates – but that’s really not what they are.  Joseph has peppered this book with some of his “insider” tips and outlines and charts for getting to the heart of a brand.  My favorite one is called, “For-Who-Is-That-Because-So-Why.”  Here’s how that works.

Just write these words down in a column like this:

For: (enter your target market – demographically)

Who: (enter your target market psychographically)

Brand Is: (Type of business)

That: (Rational benefit)

Because: (proof points – no more than three)

So: (Emotional benefit)

Best Expressed by: (Tagline)

The best way to explain this is to give you one that he completed using the dry cleaner I mentioned earlier:

For – Our beloved neighbors of Chelsea, NY

Who – Are the best dressed folks in town

Dry Cleaner is – Your safe haven for all your dry cleaning needs

That – Takes good care of you and your clothes

Because – Special laundry process and a commitment to care

So – You can do more important things in our life

Best Expressed by – Neighbors taking care of neighbors

If you liked that – then you’ll find several more worksheets, tips or templates that you can fill out just like that.  The really great thing about these is that you can use any market research you’ve collected already or you will get ideas for what kind of research to do with your market or customer so that you can get to the core of your brand.

Overall, I would recommend The Experience Effect for Small Business.  If you’ve already got the first Experience Effect, then I’m not sure you need to get this version. But if you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur or marketer – then this is the version to grab.

While you do that, I’m going to play around with that For-Who-Is-That-Because-So-Why — template!

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."