Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

March 23, 2014

Britten talks on branding

TRAVERSE CITY — It’s all about the customer’s feelings.

Paul Britten, owner of Britten Studios, recently offered that simple advice about developing a business brand to Traverse City business leaders at a gathering of the Leadership Lunch Club series. Britten spoke of important marketing lessons he learned while transforming his Traverse City-based company into a business enterprise with global reach.

“In the world of branding and the world of marketing, nobody cares about me,” Britten said. “They only care about how they feel about themselves when they are in the presence of the brand.”

Britten knows something about brand development. His business off Cass Road makes signs, banners and other products for sale to high-profile clients like the Sochi Olympics, Wrigley Field, and the Plaza Hotel in New York. Britten said an important lesson learned early on — that doing business isn’t about you — was realized when he mailed thousands of business brochures to potential clients and failed to develop a single lead.

“I sat in my little office in Washington, D.C. for the next three weeks, and never once did the phone ring,” Britten said. “Not once.”

That failure prompted Britten to change course. He pursued a marketing plan that allowed customers to personally identify with the company, and took out an advertisement in a national magazine that focused on how the business could resonate with the customer.

“I ran an ad in a special events magazine that said, ‘At last! Custom backdrops you can afford’.” Britten said. “I wrote every piece of copy to never try to say we or I. It was, ‘Your event will be spectacular. You will be a hero. You will feel so incredible you will look great your clients will be jumping up and down … and I got 700 calls from people who had clipped the coupon.”

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