Mashed Bananas (Issue 1144)

In which we are urged to choose and cultivate a distinctive brand trigger that connects clients to us.

 I thought about my mother the other morning. I was preparing breakfast . Not quite sure what to eat, I spotted a couple of moderately ripe bananas perched atop the refrigerator. I pulled them down and started to make a dish my mother referred to as “mashed bananas.” She’d make them with one or two bananas, mashed with a fork, a few tablespoons of milk, and a tiny bit of maple syrup. Mixed, refrigerated for a few minutes, and served cool. She served those to me, frequently, from infancy through grade school.

Sometimes if I’m feeling frisky, I will add some crumbled granola on top. But I’m aware that’s not the “Original Recipe.”

My mom died 13 years ago this week. Many things around the house prompt me to think of her. None of them are nearly as strong as the mashed bananas. (Roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding, which I haven’t eaten in years, would be a close second… we’ll tackle that another day). “Mashed bananas” is an immediate, direct line to a portfolio of memories about my mom.

I doubt any of us will build brands that would displace our clients’ and prospects’ memories of their mothers or fathers. However, the idea is to have at least one distinctive, possibly unique, strong, immediately recognizable trigger that prompts our clients to think of us.

Over the years, I’ve seen a wide variety of professional services branding strategies – particular articles of clothing, a product, specific expertise, well rafted turns of phrase, an off-hand expression, and  association with a particular location or activity, golf, for example.

The trick is, we need our clients to think of us at the moment they have a need we can address. We need a specialty. We need a reputation. And, we need a memorable, clear, “mashed bananas” trigger that is an immediate, direct line to a portfolio of memories about us.

Nick Miller is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. He assists banks and credit unions to generate more and more profitable relationships, faster, with business clients, their owners, and their employees through better sales strategies and execution. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.

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