First let’s clear up a common misconception of what a “Brand” really is. Branding is more than just your company’s name or logo. It’s more than just a particular type of product you offer such as Q-tips brand of cotton swabs. It’s more than just the look of the packaging of your product. In a nutshell your ”Brand” is the culmination of everything your prospect’s 5 senses can pick up on about you.
It’s the image you present at all times. From the company’s logo and color scheme all the way to the manner in which your employees dress.
It’s what your prospect hears from and about you. From what they hear about you in the media to how your customer service team handles incoming complaints.
It’s the feeling your prospect gets in all their dealings with you. From their satisfied or unsatisfied interaction with you to the relationship building activities you carry out.
It’s the pleasant or unpleasant scents that get associated with you covering everywhere from the scent of your product or facility, to even your employees.
And lastly it’s also the tastes that get associated with you. From the taste of your product (if it’s a product meant to be tasted) to the quality of coffee or tea you serve.
As you are probably beginning to see the picture I am painting for you, your brand encompasses everything about you. Hence you can see why it’s important to always put your best foot forward.
Let’s take this one step further. Even more important than being perfect in your eyes, is being consistent in the prospect’s eyes.
Consistency is the key to branding. It is terrible branding practice and just plain unacceptable to offer great service one day, and bad service the next. You are better off being consistently mediocre. Then at least the customer knows what to expect and is generally more satisfied. Another example of bad branding is having a different look and feel for your website as compared to your other marketing collateral (e.g. business cards, brochures, etc.). Ultimately, your prospect should be able to recognize you at a quick glance – just by colors, design style, logo, etc.
For instance, let’s take the fast food retailer McDonalds. They have done a spectacular job at branding. Their food tastes consistently the same no matter which location you eat at – essentially around the world. What you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste are pretty much consistent and acceptable across the board.
Bottom line, branding is essential to establishing your identity in the marketplace and consistency is the key to effective doing that. Prospects want consistency! Consistency breeds comfort and comfort is an aspect of relationship building – a key marketing strategy.
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