Branding goes deeper than your visual appearance, much much deeper. And your reputation plays a big part in it.
It’s not just a matter of having a great looking logo with some flash business cards to hand out (although that helps for first impressions), you have to make sure that your values roll right through your whole business from beginning to end. Realistically it is about how you approach your marketing strategy and the P’s!
1. Your communication
- This is so so so important, this is about:
- How fast you respond to a customer
- How efficient you are to problems and solutions
- Stick by your promises (if you promise an email, make sure you send it)
- Overestimating and over delivering (NOT the other way around). People want to know that they are buying a quality service, not one that is promised X amount of time and blows out a lot more than they had expected
- How you handle yourself in certain circumstances
- Being a professional at all times
Recently I’ve had both good and bad experiences, so as an example let’s start with the bad. My husband and I recently built a new house with a ‘reputable’ builder. The whole experience was a nightmare that could have all been avoided if the communication was clear and precise. Their lack of empathy towards us during the whole process was a disaster, they chose to treat us like a number and did not go out of their way to accommodate us or even to care when our lives were temporarily turned upside down. This led to nothing but countless negative social media rants and VERY ANGRY and disappointed customers. Now for a company that has a product worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, this isn’t a good thing. Bad news spreads fast, it won’t take long for those few customers that chose to go elsewhere to make a dint on their profit margins, all which could have been avoided.
And now the good. Once we moved in, I had screen doors fitted to the house, and there was an error in the measurements so the company had to reorder them. Here is where things could have gone good or bad, thankfully it was good. The company offered to give me a free screen door and a case of beer for the trouble! Although I really didn’t expect them to do that, it shows how they went above and beyond to keep their customer happy. I had already been extremely impressed with their customer service up until that point and had already recommended them to a few friends, (one going ahead to use them and is extremely happy with the result). So it goes to show, that regardless of how bad a situation can be, it’s all about how you as a company can deal with it and keep your customer happy. THIS is crucial to how your brand is perceived in the market, think of how many people are going to hear about how good their customer service is and use them because of a positive experience. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. And in case you were wondering who this company was, it was Highland Shutters
2. Your product or service
Not everyone is out to get the cheapest price. As suggested in the Marketing Mix article, it is just a section on what people base their final choice from. Some people want to know that you will be delivering a quality service, and that doesn’t just mean the workmanship, it’s the overall experience from initial quote to final transaction and everything in-between.
Go above and beyond, because word of mouth is crucial. If you don’t get back to someone, all that person needs to do is tell someone else in conversation that you never got back to them and that may stop someone else from contacting you in the future.
Your product and services are what your business is about, if you are the best at what you do, make sure you back that up from start to finish. This will be the epitome of how you are positioned against potential competitors because I assure you when a potential customer/client is asking for a quote, they’ve already asked someone else for one too. Give them a reason to pick your company show them who you are. On that note be sure to read ‘Why it’s important to tell your brand story‘.
3. Your people
Who works for you will impact your business tenfold. Think about how you feel after you have just had a great experience with a person from a specific company; you want to tell everyone about them, likewise if you have a bad experience. Think about the type of person who works at a hip music store as opposed to an upmarket department store, they are a depiction of your brand and are working frontline for it. It is important that your brand is always in play through every touch point in your company. This means that the customer is getting the same brand perception from your businesses people and all of its communication, ranging from internal and external point of sale, right through to social media responses and posts.
Virgin is a great example of how branding flows from beginning to end. Richard Branson is always engaged with how his brand is perceived, how his people are perceived and how you as a customer see them. He as the CEO is one of the reasons Virgin has been so successful, he is actively part of the everyday functioning of the brand and is always on the ground. This doesn’t mean to say that everyone has to take this approach, but it’s evident that by staying on top of how you are seen in the public eye is crucial to branding success.
On that, I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes from Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.