When talking to clients about their brand, most think that branding refers to their logo, the font they use in their brochure, or a graphic on their service vans. However, branding isn’t just your logo. It’s everything about your business.
Customer complaints give us strong insight into what your brand really is. If you go to Facebook and read any business reviews, you’ll find consumers talking about the way that they were treated, the prices that they paid, and the way the company communicated (or didn’t) with them. What you won’t see someone saying, “I really wanted to hire them, but they used Comic Sans in their logo and that offended my delicate sensibilities.”
Branding is how you present and interact with your customers directly and indirectly.
Let’s focus on Three Key Areas:
One: When You Meet Customers
If branding is every interaction with customer, then what you say and do when you meet them is paramount. From answering the phone, the way a tech conducts themselves in a customer’s home, to how your staff acts in your showroom are massive opportunities to set and enhance your brand.
How do you and your staff present yourself: Professional? Knowledgeable? Transparent? Passionate? Good Listeners? What is your body behavior like: Relaxed? Rigid? Slouching? What language do you and your staff use with customers: Professional? Conversational? Sometimes inappropriate?
At the end of the day, think about every interaction that you physically have with customers and how you come across in those interactions. What’s working and what can you improve?
Whether through work or just life, I’m in and out of businesses every day. It always floors me when I interact with an employee who is unknowledgeable, unhelpful, unprofessional, and, sometimes, downright rude. Customer service is the make-or-break element of a long-term relationship with a company or nothing whatsoever.
Employees are the ambassadors of your company. They only way they learn that is by watching the owners of that business live their brand.
Two: When Customers Read You
Although critics love to claim that no one reads any more, consumers do more homework on companies than ever before. They’ll read advertisements, reviews on social media, customer complaints, and, most importantly, your website to decide whether they should even consider doing business with you.
So, what are you saying about your business?
What words, phrases, and language do you use to describe your company? Are these important to you? Are they important to your customers? Often companies focus on the wrong elements of their company when they talk to customers. They might talk about how long they’ve been in business though their customers may not care about that element. What does your customer care about?
Whether you believe it or not, consumers are on your website. What it says, what it looks like, and how its laid out gives your customers so much information. Is it responsive to mobile devices? Is it secure? Does it look modern? Is it easy to navigate? Do you have pictures of people like your customers? Does your website use the same language of your customers or does it sound like a conversation between two Water Treatment experts?
Your website is probably the first interaction of your brand with consumers. What is your brand saying?
Three: When Customers Talk About You
Now you might be saying, I can’t control what customers are saying about me? I say hogwash!
Look at a company with great reviews and you can see their brand. The reviews all contain similar elements of the same themes over and over. They’ll talk about the great customer service, warm staff, knowledgeable owners, clear communication, strong follow up, and other elements. When you make these elements the cornerstone of your brand and deliver them every time, you’ll control what people will say about you.
On the Road
As part of a marketing company focused on Trade and Service companies, I can’t help but pay attention to these businesses everywhere I go. Especially on the road. Multiple times, I have watched vans bearing a service company’s name and logo cut people off on the highway and drive aggressively through residential neighborhoods.
At the end of the day, I’m a consumer and that van and its driver represent a company. What do you think I’m saying about their brand?
Live Your Brand
If having customers rave about you, being busy with meaningful work, and running a successful and engaging business is important to you, then you must own and live your brand. You need to sit down and decide how you want people to talk about your business. Then you need to put into place the processes, platforms, and resources that make that happen.
That starts with you, the business owner, first. You need to live your brand.
The rest will all just fall into place.