The idea to improve your brand isn’t new, but it can be a confusing concept for business owners. People think of branding as an “it.” They believe a thing (i.e., website, logo, catchphrase, product/service) is the brand. But, your brand – your reputation – is not a finite object or idea; it is how the customer perceives and experiences your company.
A customer’s experience is composed of many different interactions and aspects, which collectively create their perception of your company. These perceptions create an image or idea about your business and its products or services; this is your brand.
If you are like most business owners, you have ignored the link between branding and sales for too long.
Well, it is time to get serious about it because your competition has probably been ignoring it too. As your competitors’ customer service gets worse, due to the continued neglect of their brand, you will be able to gather the low hanging fruit through the maintenance of your brand.
Creating and managing a brand can seem overwhelming, confusing, and mystifying–especially if you are already having trouble keeping up on all the other things a business needs (i.e., production, regulation, finances, quality, personal) but this does not have to be the case.
Remember, a brand is your way of selling to your customers through their perception of you and what you have to offer.
The way to build a customer-centered sales philosophy is to break the process down into small manageable pieces that you and your employees can achieve over time.
Depending on your type of business, starting with these two fundamental principles may be all you ever need to establish and support your brand. You will undoubtedly be far ahead of your competition.
1) Improve Your Brand – Visual Image
One of the first things owners lose sight of is their company’s visual image, especially their electronic presence. They get caught up in the inside day-to-day operations and ignore how the world sees the outside. Ignore the outside at your own risk – that is where your clients are.
You may not care about how things look, but potential and current customers do, and it is their opinion that matters.
What people see is what they remember, it heavily affects their perception (i.e., your brand). You want to project success, professionalism, and trustworthiness. As your company grows its image should grow also.
Are you using the same cards, website, letterhead, logos, taglines, graphics, and documents you have had since opening? Do they look homemade, cheap and out-of-date? What do your service people and vehicles look like? How about the outside of your building? There is a difference between a working yard and trash-filled eye-sore. Do not trust your own judgment; ask people how they see it and listen to what they have to say.
2) Improve Your Brand – Customer Experience
Is your customers’ experience simple, intuitive, and enjoyable? If so, great! If not, why? Why make it difficult for your clients to do business with you?
Understanding your customer’s viewpoint is the second basic strategy you need to create a successful brand. When was the last time you called your company and worked your way through the voice mail system? How about the last time you updated your website? Have you tried to use it to order a product, make contact, or ask a question as a customer? Do you have sales people or order takers? Are your salespeople required to have ideas about improving service? How often are clients asked for feedback on the buying process?
The biggest complaint consumers have about buying experiences is poor customer service–this includes business to business transactions. The practice of impersonally selling via technology has made the need for excellent customer service more important than ever. The simpler you make it for people to do business with you the better chance you have of selling more and more often.
To improve your brand is not a complicated goal if you start with these basics. It takes commitment, effort and time to execute them successfully, but the effort will pay off. Customers want a positive interaction with your company. Show them that you are serious about your brand and giving them what they want. If they do not get it from you, they will get it from someone else.
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: