A few years ago I read an article by Dan Pallotta a pioneering social entrepreneur, the founder of Pallotta TeamWorks, and president of Advertising for Humanity and the author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential.
Working with my clients on marketing I realized this topic needs to be shared again.
Brand is much more than a name or a logo. Brand is everything, and everything is brand. It’s how you are perceived and what expectations your customers have. It can be the good bad and ugly. Starbucks has coffee in so many iterations and some food. When they added wine, it confused people because the perception of what they would receive changed. Your brand is the strategy but and this is important it has to be backed by what you stand for. A great logo does not replace poor or mixed messages.
How is your customer service? Today sites like Yelp can make or break your brand and consumers will link what they see on ratings and by extension the brand. Think about when you go into a store or on line and you see logos that represent certain brands; have you already decided their quality? How easy is it for customers to get help? “Your call is very important to us” , some will tell you the wait time.. at least an hour and they will call you back maybe. Others won’t say a word just play awful music and commercials about their products. If the employees are ignoring customers or don’t have the expertise to assist correctly that’s your brand. Think about Home Depot and other big box stores that got a bad reputation about not having the right staff to serve customers. How did that affect their brand?
What message do you send on your website or in person? Do you use jargon or acronyms that may fit some industries but limit who can refer you? Does the description of your product or service ring true or is there a disconnect? Is your website easy to navigate? If I want to speak to a person not just send an e-mail or use live chat; give me that option, don’t make me hunt for it.
Are you hiring the right people who share the values of the company and represent what it stands for? If not that is a huge disconnect and loses a lot of sales.
Ultimately, brand is about caring about your business at every level and in every detail, from the big things like mission and vision, to your people, your customers, and every interaction anyone is ever going to have with you, no matter how small. It is how you are perceived at every encounter.
Whether you know it or not, whether you have a swanky logo or not, you do have a brand. The question is whether or not it’s the brand you really want.
What does your brand say about you?????