"Every company regardless of industry should go as far as they can to put themselves in their customers' shoes. The more tightly you can align the exercise with a financial outcome, the more honestly you can see yourself for what you truly are." - D. Erlbaum, CEO, Finch Brands
I got into the services business based on the premise that I could construct a more potent branding company as somebody who spent his life buying rather than selling related services. My and other early Finches’ experience on the client side was the cornerstone of our positioning, allowing us to authentically see the world through the eyes of our clients and, thereby, be precise practitioners on their behalf.
Above all, this has always meant recognizing that branding is an essential part of a larger business picture. Business is first and foremost about managing cash and driving profits. Delighting more customers and outplaying competitors, keystones to making your brand a powerful asset, are the levers we help our clients pull to achieve a better business result.
Secondly, it’s about recognizing the unique situation of every client not only in terms of market and lifecycle, but also management/ownership dynamics, risk tolerance and short and long-term goals. This necessitates customizing an approach for every situation and, as a rule, offering clients everything they need and nothing they don’t.
For example, when it comes to market research, more is always more – not only in terms of statistical significance and confidence levels, but also in terms of investment. Overkill is the hallmark of many providers in our business, making top-tier services inaccessible to all but the highest paying clients. Our focus has always been on designing projects and relationships that are scoped and priced right not in the ideal world, but in the real world.
Fourteen years after the founding of Finch – now having handed day-to-day leadership over to true branding experts – I am enjoying an active role as investor and board member in outside companies, most intently an emerging toy company called Bleacher Creatures. Most thrilling is to be a customer of Finch Brands for the very first time, being forced to evaluate just how real Finch’s value proposition is.
There is nothing to help you see through the eyes of a customer like being a customer. And there is nothing to ensure an objective assessment of value like writing a check. And there is nothing as gratifying as knowing all the selling rhetoric you’ve delivered over the years is confirmed to be as real as it was intended.