Brand is something we used to talk about all the time, before websites, apps, SEO, algorithms and social media dominated the landscape. While brand may no longer be included on the list of hot topics, it has never gone away or diminished in importance. A company’s brand is fundamental to every other marketing effort. Without a strong brand, these other marketing efforts are simply gimmicks. Your brand represents your expertise, your work and your integrity, the way you interact with your clients and your ability to deliver measurable results for your clients.
Building a premium brand
But here’s something else to consider: those of us who have been in business for a while have built a reputation that keeps clients coming back through referrals and repeat clients. Now wee want more than just a brand, we want to be a premium brand.
And why not, for crying out loud?
Many of us have paid our dues. We survived the worst economy known to man; not only are we still standing, but we’re flourishing. We’re well educated, generally with advanced degrees. We have years of real-life industry experience. We’ve transcended the old way of doing business and embraced the new. We understand the power of technology and leverage it. We’re seasoned and savvy. We’re professionals who not only produce deliverables but become trusted advisers to our clients. That’s our brand, and we should be charging for it.
Consumers equate value and quality with a high price tag
If you charge a lower price, they question the value of what you’re providing. One of my clients is a legal document preparer service—they do things like uncontested divorce and probate, living trusts, deed transfers, etc. When they began charging more for one of their services, their business shot up. People clearly identified legal knowledge with a higher price tag.
Another great example
One of my clients owns two companies, and we’re developing a marketing plan for both. High on the list are new websites. I’ve gotten quotes from three web developer/designers who do excellent work, are responsive and able to turn projects around. I’ve worked with these companies and all three are terrific project partners. While their bids varied, they are approachable and all work in WordPress–it’s become the industry standard and has many advantages. My client wanted to solicit one more bid from his old developer, who is also a friend. Her bid was $10K more than that of my highest bid. My client’s reaction: “She must be doing something really great to be charging that much more.”
The reality? I read through her proposal, and she’s not doing anything differently or better. In fact, I think she’s doing some things that are unnecessary and are not a good use of my client’s marketing dollar, and this is always my goal. I pointed this out to my client, but he’s a very loyal guy, and ultimately the decision is his, despite my reservations.
The takeaway: price is a measure of quality and validation
Raising your prices is always a little scary, but let’s go back to that seasoned and savvy proposition. Being paid what you’re worth transcends the dollar value; it validates you as a professional. Remind yourself that you’re providing a wide range of services and knowledge, which translates to a lot of value—and people expect to pay for value. No one is going to respect you more because you charged him/her less.