We hear a lot about branding these days. We’re branding not only our companies but our individual identities. And if we are in business or we are thinking about starting a business, one of the steps to establishing a brand is to identify what we want our brand to stand for.
Now think about the commercials you’ve heard recently. Some companies brag about their reliability, others talk about how user friendly or easy they are to deal with. Others will promote their quality products and services, while still others want you to know how accessible they are.
No matter how you define your brand, it is important to note that those characteristics you want to stand for should be a part of every aspect of your business.
Let me give you a few examples. Let’s say that reliability is one of the key ingredients of your brand. If this is the case, you should make sure that you choose an internet provider that has a high percentage of up time because you always want people to be able to access your website. You also want to make sure that you and your employees are on time, and if you have a store front you want to make sure that your operation is open every day on time. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than having to stand outside of your store or business waiting for you to open.
If being the “easy company” to work with is what you stand for examine every single facet of your business for its ease of use. As a matter of fact, consider mystery shopping areas of your business to be sure this is the case. The other day, I was online researching a prospect that I was going to be meeting with. They are a medical services organization with a lovely website – lots of white space with just the right amount of information to keep me reading. But for some reason, I had to click through two pages to get a phone number for the organization when this is information that should have been on their home page. As a matter of fact, it should have been at the top of their home page right below their name and address if making life easy for the customer or prospect is their goal!
Keep in mind, today’s buying environment is complicated. There is lots of room for confusion out there about your products and services. People don’t want to read through a whole lot of jargon and hype to get to the benefits of doing business with you so make it all easy. Review your brochures and other marketing materials, listen to the menu on your outgoing voice mail system, look at your auto signature on your emails, check out your hours of operation, your payment or transaction process, and your proposal process if you are in a business where people require this of you. Everything should be easy and streamlined.
Some companies want you to know that they are a quality operation. If this is the case, everything from the company logo, stationary, and even the way the employees dress have to reinforce this idea. Cheap looking business cards, corporate casual attire that could pass for sleepwear, or websites that look like they were pieced together just won’t cut it if quality is your game.
So take some time out of your schedule to define who you are and how you want to be perceived in the marketplace then walk through your entire operational process just like a customer would. Fix those things that are in direct conflict with the image you truly want to project. Then think about hiring some mystery shoppers to ensure that you are hitting the mark.
Your customers will consider your brand unstoppable if your operations match the image you are advertising.