Your mom was a smart lady. She taught you not to chew with your mouth open, how to tie your shoes, and to always keep your promises. All valuable life lessons, and relevant at any stage of life. She probably didn’t realize that she was teaching you something about business and branding, too.Everyone has heard about branding, and realizes that it’s important in some way to every business. Maybe you don’t realize fully how it’s important, but you sure know that it is. Unfortunately, most businesses think that if they have a cool logo, they are branded *dusting hands off and congratulating self* and ready to start putting ads in the paper *marketing done.* A great brand does certainly include a logo, but that’s far from the total package.
I define a brand as your promise to your customer. Everything you show the public is what they will expect to find when they come to your store, call you on the phone, or send you an email. If your ad says, “We provide the best customer service in town,” then that is exactly what the customers expect. If you say “We have the best selection of widgets,” that is what they want to see when they visit. If your logo is fun and whimsical, then your business should be, too. So many factors influence what people think of you; your brand is all of those things. Every touch promises your customer something.
I believe that the most critical component of your brand promise is your employees. Without them to live out the promises you make, your business suffers. According to a survey by RightNow Technologies, 73 percent of customers leave because of poor customer service, and Rockefeller Corporation, in a similar survey, found that 68 percent of customers leave because they believe the business doesn’t care about them. Double whammy – caring and customer service.
Promise your customers anything, but be sure your employees know what the promise is and how to live up to it. Even a sole proprietor has a bad day now and again, and may forget that promise if he or she doesn’t have it top-of-mind at all times. Live your brand, and keep your promises.