Remember our branding cow? Well, we're back for part two of our branding for business series. Let's take another look at our branding cow. This post will cover your logo, customer service and marketing communications.
Muscles are pretty integral to our day-to-day lives. Often times we use them without even thinking, though occasionally we stumble across some that are weak and are in need of some strengthening. Thinking of your back end in this manner is a great way to make sure you stay brand focused. Some companies will try to “body build” with their operations while neglecting the other elements of their business that make them appear well rounded to their customers.
While these ‘intangible’ elements of branding are important, it is also good to remember the day-to-day stuff too. Making sure that your business operations run smoothly ultimately effects the moment of truth interactions with your customers. If you’re consistently understocked or slashing prices to move inventory then you might want to look at what’s going on in the back end.
Put a face on your business.
Everyone likes a pretty face. Your logo is no different and is likely one of the first introductions your customers have to your business. Having a strong and clear logo can help set you apart from the start. Be careful, though. Once your logo is set, it may be difficult to change it back. Take Gap for instance; in 2010 it changed itslogo from the iconic blue and white to something a little more streamlined. Check out the change here.
The outcry from their loyal customer base was tremendous, and not in a good way. There was such uproar over the change that the company changed the logo back in a little under a week. Now of course, changes to logos can be made over time, just look at Wendy’s!
However, unless you’re planning on completely rebranding your business or revitalizing it, it’s better to just leave it alone and get it right from the start.
The customer is usually right.
Have you ever gone to shake hands with someone and just received a limp-wrist in response? Unfortunately, too many businesses are “limp-wristed” when it comes to customer service. A firm handshake is, in many cultures, considered a sign of good faith, trust and an unspoken contract to begin some type of interpersonal relationship.
Customer service is critical to your company’s success. In fact, a positive customer service experience after a negative business interaction can actually increase customer loyalty. According to a 2013 study by Dimensional Research, poor customer service experiences can have a huge impact on customer retention and lifetime value.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should always bend over backwards for your customers. It’s true that sometimes the customer isn’t right. If you have a problem customer whose relationship with the brand might negatively impact your business, then it’s perfectly okay to make the necessary changes. However, you should be structuring your business and empowering your employees in such a way that customer issues can be resolved before they even have a chance to become problems. Not to mention bad reviews.
Train your legs.
Your marketing communications are the legs that get you around your market because let’s face it; your brand can’t operate in a vacuum. If it could, things would be a lot easier. Unfortunately, not every one of your customers is on Facebook, or likes emails or enjoys receiving direct mailers. The awesome (and frustrating) reality of business is that your customer base is diverse. You need to be flexible in your interactions and be able to move around.
When you think of your MARCOM, imagine a team marathon event. If you let one of your “runners” (i.e. communication channels) go for a long time with no exercise, you’re likely to see poor performance. Similarly, if you exercise a channel too much, you will quickly see your customers burn out. (Just think about how many unread spam emails you get from companies each day!)
Despite the fact that your customers may operate in different segments, your message should still be the same. Too many businesses send out inconsistent messaging, graphics and communications to their customers. At the end of the day, all of your efforts should sing the same song – from social media to mail fliers.
Your brand is valuable.
Your brand equity is the measure of your costs versus what you’re able to charge for your products and services. Brands with more equity and customer loyalty are generally able to charge a premium among competitors in their same category. So, take a look at your market, your customer base and your prices relative to your competition. This will give you a good idea of where your brand “falls” in the mind of your market.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you define and implement your branding efforts successfully.
- Figure out who your company is, who your audience is, and what you want to talk about (POV)
- Define your voice. Are you blue-collar? Are you classy? What do your customers say about you? (personality)
- Get a great logo and make sure your operations work! (logo & business)
- Treat your customers right and make sure they’re treating your right in return (customer service)
- Integrate your brand into every element of your business from the way answer phones to the words & imaging you use in your advertising (MARCOM)
Last, but certainly not least, once you’ve got all of this under your belt, write it down! Creating a book of brand standards is a simple and easy way to communicate your brand to your employees and to make sure that everything that gets pushed out falls in line with what the brand would do. Stay consistent and true to your brand and your customers will keep coming back!