I often say that branding is a simple complex game and that you need to get both right to be a success. A simple definition of a brand is a promise kept. Be consistent and you will establish a brand people respect, esteem, talk about and even refer their friends and business associates. Be inconsistent and you will establish a brand with negative equity that no one will want to deal with. Here is one tip that you can use to start building your brand in your marketplace.
Determine how your employees talk about your company’s customers. Are customers described as accounts or as valued members of your company? There is an enormous difference in tone! And, this tone will leak through to your customers and tell them in so many ways what your company really thinks about them. In time, given all of the ways to connect to a brand in today’s digital marketplace, there is no possible way to disguise what your company really thinks about its outlook, customers, vendors, and its future.
Customers will do this by interacting with you in different ways:
1) Your invoices will say Thank You For Your Recent Order! on each invoice, regardless how long you have been doing business with your customer. Or your invoices will not say Thank You but simply state the ordered products/services and Payment Is Due Now.
2) When a customer calls your offices they will be greeted with an enthusiastic “It’s a great day at ABC Company! This is NAME, how may I assist you?” Or you might hear something like this, “ABC Worldwide, How may I direct your call?” Which greeting sounds more inviting to you? The first is a service driven company whereas the second seems to be saying we’re very large, very important, and by the way we don’t really need you since we’re worldwide. This little beginning says so much about your company I could write a book.
3) Your company has taken the time to organize its information into easy to access forms and places that takes a few clicks to gain, or one telephone prompt to get you to the right person, or one download to gather the exact information you were searching for. If your company takes the time to do this well, your customers will reward you in spades because you really will stand out. When was the last time you tried to find someone in a large corporation who could help you with a specific issue? It’s enough to make you never call them again and also enough to make you search for alternatives.
Which really is the point of this post. Why not find out what your customers want, from their perspective, and then take the time to deliver that in the form of your brand promises? Remember, the definition of a brand is a promise kept. If you make your brand promises the very things that your customers are searching for, guess what happens! You create strong customer relationships that eliminate the need to rely upon this month’s “special promotion” to drive revenues. And because the value that is being provided by your company and communicated by your employees is so exceptional your customers will begin to rely upon you for all of their related needs. And that’s what I call the beginning of a terrific relationship. It all starts with a simple but powerful brand strategy.