Archive July 2005
Imagine walking in to a dark supermarket, not being able to clearly see the products or read the labels and having to make informed product choices. It may seem ludicrous, but it’s what many of us ask our customers to do every day.
Stop assuming your customers know what you do, or how you do it. All they know is what they have seen, bought or experienced of you to date.
Your letting your business down, if you don’t have a killer brand, one that turns the spotlight clearly on to you and your product and shouts from the roof tops what you do, how you do it and why they have to buy from you.
A great brand evokes a way of life, imparts emotion, bestows status and informs. It is your perpetual magnet constantly drawing in your customers.
The names Telstra, Coca Cola, Kellogg’s and Flight Centre all clearly tell you who they are, what they offer and how they offer it. Does your brand do that for your you?
Don’t fool yourself into believing you don’t have one, or don’t need one. Every business has a brand, regardless of whether they want it or not. Every time a customer thinks of you they are making a decision based on your brand.
Great companies have realised this and capitalised on it by deliberately manufacturing consumers’ impression of them by carefully crafting their brand and thereby creating loyal and repeat customers.
So how do you do it?
Step One: Who are you and what do you stand for?
You can’t tell anyone who you are and what you do until you clearly understand it yourself. Review what you offer, what you do best and how you do it, as well as what you want to do and then decide how you want the world to see you and what you want to stand for. This is the skeleton of your brand.
Step Two: Find synergy between your product and your customers
You’ve got to be consumer centric. Constantly discover what the consumer wants from your product, don’t assume it. A client selling cleaning services recently discovered that what his customers really want, and are prepared to pay for, is a holistic maintenance and cleaning service more akin to a traditional caretaking service. Subsequently he has rebranded, repriced and repositioned himself into more profitable and consistent work then he had ever envisaged.
Step Three: Make your brand consistent
Once you have decided what you and your customers want you to stand for, you need to project it.
A fancy logo and letterheads are just the beginning; for brands to truly be powerful the same consistent brand message must ooze from everything you do, it must evident be in:
· your business name
· your logo
· any slogan you use
· your products or services name
· your pricing and service
· your product or service packaging
· your premises location and look
· your company website
· where and how you advertise
· how you and your employees dress
· how you and your employees behave
· your customer service levels, and
· every single client interaction
Step Four: Monitor It
I recently stayed in a hotel where the brand promised quality and service, the fit out glorified it, the prices supported it, but yet the staff were unable to fulfil on it. It’s not good enough to be almost “there”; to be a killer brand you’ve got to be 100% “there” all of the time.
Your brand can serve you for ever, if you regulalry evaluate your consumers needs, your products and services, your service standard, your systems and marketing, and adjust them as necessary, just like Mc Donald’s has recently done in augmenting their product offerings to include more low fat and lifestyle foods.
A brand is your company’s loyal chauffer; it will drive you to whatever success you want, as long as you’re clear about where you’re going and how you want to get there.