Branding Is in the Details

I often say that branding is a simple, complex game and that you need to get both aspects right to be a success. A simple definition of a brand is a promise kept.

• Be consistent and you will establish a brand people respect, esteem, talk about and even give referrals to their friends and business associates.

• Be inconsistent and you will establish a negative equity brand that no one will want to deal with.

Here are a few tips to start building your brand in your marketplace.

First, determine how your employees talk about your company’s customers. Are customers described as accounts or as valued members of your company? There is an enormous difference in tone! And, this tone will leak through to your customers and tell them in so many ways what your company really thinks about them.

Over time, given all of the ways to connect to a brand in today’s digital marketplace, there is no way to disguise what your company really thinks about its customers, vendors and its future.

Customers will pick up on this by interacting with you in so many ways. Here are a few:

1) Your invoices say “Thank You For Your Recent Order!” each time, regardless of how long you have been doing business with that customer. Or, your invoices will not say “Thank You” and rather simply detail the ordered products/services and state “Payment is due now.”

2) When a customer calls your offices they will be greeted with an enthusiastic, “It’s a great day at ABC Company! This is (NAME), how may I assist you?” Or, they might hear something like, “ABC Worldwide. How may I direct your call?” Which greeting sounds more inviting to you?

The first is a service driven company, whereas the second seems to be saying we’re very large, very important and, by the way, don’t really need you since we’re worldwide. This simple first point of contact says so much about your company I could write a book on it.

Tom Marin is the managing partner of and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

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