darcy jacobson- buildium- brand storytelling

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Brand storytelling

Brand storytellingLeveraging transparent storytelling to compete & winwww.buildium.com

Buildiums contact info

Darcy Jacobsen () - +wendy.troupe@buildium.com I'm not sure what we did here or how you'd like to portray it?Darcy Jacobsen () - +pernilla.kaiser@buildium.com is magical. That is all.Chris Masterson () - https://youtu.be/pUikdqQrmOg It's here, unlisted. Only people with the link will be able to see it. Might take a few minutes to process on YouTube before it will embed.Darcy Jacobsen () - I only see an embed from YouTube option, not Wistia, +chris.masterson@buildium.comDarcy Jacobsen () - Or here on Google drive: https://drive.google.com/a/buildium.com/file/d/0B8noX_1swGZTX0txb214MzJtaGc/viewDarcy Jacobsen () - The video is here: https://buildium.wistia.com/medias/q0zcusjc3dDarcy Jacobsen () - +pernilla.kaiser@buildium.com This is the more recent image for the video thumbnail. Wendy wants it to play from the doc.

Everyone needs a brand.In a big data world, brands provide a shorthand placeholder.

Volvo = safetyGoogle = dependable answers Target = style on a budget

They allow you to claim an area of the marketplace.They allow you to own an area of the customers mind.They allow price premiums, easier movement into adjacencies, greater internal alignment, and increased customer loyalty.

Were going to talk a little about something most of you are intimately familiar with: brand.

And in particular our journey at Buildium to re-establish control over our brand, update it, and focus it more closely on the new audience weve articulated. The audience we feel is going to drive us to our next phase of growth.

So for claritys sake, lets begin with definitions. What are we calling a brand?

People build them out of the random, memorable interactions they have with a brand (e.g. ad, article, WOM, experience, etc.)

Emotions are more attention grabbing and memorable than facts.

The more unified your theme the stronger your brand.

The key to brand building is therefore the identification and repetition of an emotional theme that is supported by your brand experience.

Brands are like birds nests.

Brand cultures accumulate as various authors create stories that involve the brand. Brands have four primary types of authors: companies, popular culture, influencers, and customers.

The cultural materials circulated by these authors come in three forms: stories, images, and associations.

Stories and images are the more potent sources of brand culture. Brand stories and images have plots and characters, and they rely heavily upon metaphor to communicate and spur our imaginations.

Think of brand associations as the emotional currency of these stories and images. We may forget the specifics of a product story but still attribute some characteristics to the brand (its for old people, often falls apart, etc.). As these stories, images, and associations collide in everyday social life, conventions eventually form. A common story emerges as a consensus view. That is the brand.

Buildium had a brand.

At Buildium we had a brand.

We were the champion of the little guy, the folksy, bootstrapped company.

We used language like: A small business serving small businesses.We talked about ourselves as growing from three guys working in a proverbial garage to more than 130 employees working in three countries.We were homey and approachable.This brand worked to attract 11,000+ plus customers. But customers look for brands that they can relate to, and as a result most of our customers were just like the brand wed created. Scrappy but small.

Liam Shannon () - Sure. I will write a note to Nellie and see what she has.Darcy Jacobsen () - +liam.shannon@buildium.com Can you help us source some of the older brand pieces from the designers?Competitors were controlling it.

Our competitors began to exploit that brand and use it against us. Pigeon-holing us as ONLY the brand of the little guy. As not as professional. As not as powerful.

The problem with that was our research showed that those slightly more upmarket customers had a much higher LTV for us, as opposed to the starter companies we were attracting such a high percentage of.

And many of those mid-sized firms were seeing us as a sort of starter-wife, if you will. Someone to graduate from.

Folks seem to enjoy Buildium since they are going from spreadsheets to their first management software [...] you may hit a limit with Buildium and start to look elsewhere for something more robust.-Rob Boese

Appfolio seems to be for bigger players. You can start with Buildium.-Ahmad Hijazi

I currently use Buildium [] If money was no object, I might have gone for Appfolio instead [...] I dont think Appfolio would make sense until I had 100 (properties)

-Dawn Brenengen

Customers began to reflect what they were hearing from competitors, this very close reframing of the brand we had.

We needed a brand takeover.First, we set out to understand ourselves.

If we wanted to expand our reach and shift our mix to embrace those more mid-sized, professional companies, we needed to take back control of our brand. And that began with some soul-searching.

Embody the brand.Align company culture to customer value.DedicatedCommittedGenuineResponsiveDrivenAlive

Focus on customers firstBe helpful and supportiveCommunicate openly and honestlyBe nimble and flexibleTake initiative and work hardBe passionate and have funOur core values

Our brand values

The first thing we did, and this began last August as part of our own internal employer brand project, was to understand who we are. In a somewhat commoditized industry we understood that one of our biggest differentiators was our support--our people--so for us, more than for many companies, it was critical that we start there. We embarked on an exhaustive and unflinching exercise to understand who we are, and who we want to be.

That became our revised core values, which were just unveiled to the company at large in January.

Then we looked at how those core values informed our brand values.

Next, we set out to understand our customers.

Once we had a clear sense of what value we bring, we wanted to understand what our customers are really all about--and in particular that ideal customer that I mentioned earlier.

What are our hypotheses?*Align company culture to customer value.Todays buyers aspire to be professional (therefore the need for a more professional image).

Buyers wants a solution that they can trust to help them grow.

Buyers are looking to identify with a brand that understands them.

Appfolio is perceived as the best in breed solution and has portrayed Buildium as entry level.

A simple, straightforward and transparent pricing model builds trust.

Buyers are easily distracted on buildium.com.

*Based on remote unmoderated user testing of 14 users completed in Q415.

Based on our research, user testing, and our own SWOT analysis, we identified a key set of hypotheses to guide the brand evolution.

So what do Buildiums customers & prospects care about?

Connecting with people

Simplifying their work

Growing their businessKeeping property rented, and keeping tenants and owners happy.Staying organized and in control of tasks, so they have time for what matters.Building a profitable and thriving business for the future.

Part of this process was also isolating what our target customers care most about.

Then we created a new story.

But as you know, it isnt enough to simply know what your customers pain points are. If pushing the button were that simple, our jobs would be very different. Marshall McLuhans hypodermic needle theory isnt quite the way things work.

This couldnt be just an evolution of messaging or websites or look and feel. This was the development of an emotional narrative--a story, that would resonate with our target customer segment, and ally them with our brand. We needed to inspire them, we needed to make them feel, before we could impact their behavior.

Stories are hardwired into our DNA.

When we process information Brocas and Wernickes areas of our brains light up. When we hear stories, our whole brains light up.

We actually experience the emotion and the sensory triggers as if we are there.

Our brains experience neural coupling. Our brain waves begin to mirror those of the tellers of the story.

We begin to think of the story as our own.

Our brains want to turn information into a story.

We think in narratives all day long, no matter if it is about buying groceries, whether we think about work or our families. Our brain will make stories out of limited information (Brene Brown - We are neurologically hard wired for story...and the brain rewards us for that story, whether it is accurate or not). We are always looking for cues about how to relate or not relate to information, and how to feel about information.

If you are not telling a story about how your brand relates to your audience, they will turn it into a story about how it doesnt.

And something amazing happens to our brains when we do tell stories. If we watch a powerpoint presentation or read something with boring bullet points, it activates two parts of our brains called Broca's area and Wernicke's area. They are the language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And that's it, nothing else happens.

But when we are being told a story, not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other are