From Hell’s Kitchen, to his 20+ active restaurants worldwide – Gordon Ramsay has built his name into a billion dollar brand.

His recipe for success? In 2014, he told Variety: “I take nothing for granted. I go into every restaurant, every program, as if it’s the first day. And I give 110%. Because it’s not that money turns me on. I find that side slightly embarrassing. It’s wonderful and it’s nice, but it doesn’t make you a better chef. The fundamental crux of a successful chef is being true to what you do.”

IT and managed services have little to do with world class cuisine (unless your clients are within the hospitality industry), nor do I imagine most small or medium business owners would want to work with a MSP who treats them like Gordon Ramsay treats his chefs:

But stay with me for a minute.

You see, there’s something oddly endearing about Gordon Ramsay: “He’s at the top of the game. But he balances out that brilliance with human flaws. He swears all the time. He gets into public spats. He wears his heart on his chest. And he’s absolutely fearless.”

Not everyone is impressed by Gordon’s antics, or even his food. There are still a handful of chefs that have accumulated more Michelin stars, more restaurants, and more influence on social media within the food industry. Yet Ramsay’s undeniably close to the top; with his multiple TV shows being some of the longest-running and top-rated, while his hot temper keeps millions of viewers coming back for more.

What’s my point?

Every industry is filled with businesses that offer the same products and solutions. In the food industry, there are thousands of 4-5 star restaurants and chefs cooking most of same menu items. The reviews, thus public perception, are/is what entice people to become customers. Then, it’s the dining experience and ambiance that turns customers loyal.

The IT industry is no different. For example, just one search for “Managed IT Services Dallas TX” brings up 20 managed service providers on a Google Map – and that’s just the first page of Google My Business search results! (And don’t get me started on the endless search results for “Marketing Agencies Dallas TX”…)

Map of Managed IT Services Dallas

What differentiates these 20+ MSPs isn’t what they offer or where they’re located. Sure, that’s what they’re found for through organic search. But what convinces a small or medium business to work with one provider over the other is their brand – who they are, how they provide their solutions, and how they manage relationships. Only then is it the quality and consistency of service that keeps clients happy, engaged, and eager to grow in their partnership.

 

The Difference Between Branding & Marketing

Outbrain, one of the leading paid content marketing and discovery platforms, defines the difference between branding and marketing as follows: “Branding is who you are, and marketing is how you build awareness. Branding is your strategy, while marketing encompasses your tactical goals. Marketing refers to the tools you utilize to deliver the message of your brand.”

In other words, branding is the process of differentiating your business. Your brand is the soul of your business, and what sets you apart from every other managed service provider. Marketing is how you communicate who you are, and create awareness surrounding your MSP and its solutions. It’s what moves the needle for your business, generating leads and driving you closer to your goals.

In the case of Gordon Ramsay, television has been his number one marketing channel. Through television, he’s amplified his brand to millions of active followers on a weekly basis. Without television bringing such heightened awareness to his name, he’d likely only be as well known as Massimo Bottura.

Without phenomenal branding, your marketing likely won’t be bold or disruptive enough to permeate highly competitive markets. But without marketing, who cares? Nobody will know about your brand, unless your quality of service is so exceptional it commands attention from the press and a constant stream of referrals. (And if you have that many referrals… why are you reading a blog from a marketing agency?)

Furthermore, your brand is your promise to your customers. Your brand sets expectations with your clients, and failing to deliver on your brand’s promise truly is a recipe for lost business.

The key to successful branding is knowing your unique value proposition. The key to successful marketing is knowing how to communicate your value authentically and consistently. There’s poignant synergy between the two, and you need both to achieve long-term growth.

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How to develop a content strategy for IT

How to develop a content strategy for IT (examples inside!)

You’re convinced. Content marketing is the way to grow your MSP. Now what? To really get the most out of content marketing, you need a good strategy. And you need a strategy that’s going to work for your business. That means you’re not going to find a one-size-fits-all strategy.

What you need from your content marketing service

So, you're on the lookout for a content marketing service for your MSP. If you’re new to this whole content marketing thing, how do you judge which service will be a good fit for your business? Let’s look at a few of the areas you should consider when shopping content marketing services.

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Video seems to be on the rise and in your face wherever you go. It’s not your imagination and it’s not going away. If you’re not using video to market your services, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with your audience.