Improve Your Brand in 5 Steps — Do These Areas Of Your Brand Live Up To Your Brand Promise?
Lasting brands put in the effort to align their brand story with their business operations — meaning they do what they say they’re going to do and improve their brand when it needs to be done. When a company views their brand as merely aesthetic (i.e. logo, color palette, fonts, photography), then their brand’s strength only goes as deep as the aesthetics. That’s a big problem.
Your brand influences every action performed, every stance taken, and everything beneath the surface that is so easily looked over. For your brand to endure for decades, use these quick tips to improve your brand and business operations.
1. Customer Experience
We once worked with a client who framed their entire brand around “southern hospitality”, which was appropriate considering it was massage therapy and spa business. During our initial brand assessment / recon appointment, the only evidence of hospitality was limited to the massage table. We felt some efforts to SHOW hospitality throughout the experience would go a long way, and the client agreed.
We put in place a process for how clients were warmly greeted, offered a variety of drinks, given a quick tour to familiarize themselves with the facility, etc. This took some additional training for the employees, but once they saw the “why,” they bought in. They even started seeing others ways they could communicate hospitality. These efforts did wonders to increase return customers. It’s one thing for your brand to say “we’ll take care of you,” it’s quite another to show your customers what that feels like.
While a good chunk of commerce has migrated to the digital world, brands are wise to remember we still live in the physical world. If your company has a physical location, then there is plenty of opportunity for you to align your digital brand with your physical space for a more authentic brand experience. For example, your website presents a warm and inviting brand with loads of personality, then your physical location should certainly reflect that, too. If you’re still living with that cold gray paint that’s been there since you moved in, your customers will be turned off and confused by this inconsistency.
Here’s an experiment: walk into your storefront and pretend you’re a first-time customer. What’s the first thing you see? (Come on, be critical). Chipping paint? Printed material for an event that was 5 months ago? A hungover receptionist? These details are taken in by your guests and cause them to immediately form an opinion about your brand. Be thorough and ruthless when assessing your physical location, because that’s how new customers will be. It’s the little things that ultimately define your brand to your customers.
3. Customer Goodbyes
You will lose customers, and their last experience with you will determine their overall impression (that includes their review!). So give them a gracious exit, no matter what.
Let’s say you make sugar scrubs and bath balms, and a customer realizes they are allergic to your product. They probably won’t become a returning customer, but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost their valuable opinion. Show understanding with a generous return policy or by providing a discount for another product that won’t flare up their allergy. Even if they’re experience with your product was a bummer, at least their experience with your service was not.
4. Customer-Facing Documents
Plenty of things in business are complicated, but complexity should never come across in your brand. Let’s take quoting for example. Quoting might be a logistical nightmare for you, but that is not the customer’s problem. They should be able to read, understand and agree to a quote easily. Whether you’re dealing with quotes or other instances that showcase your operations for the first time, the process of customers giving you money should be as simple and as timely as possible. No excuses. If you say you’ll get a detailed proposal to them before the end of the week, you have to follow through.
5. The Hiring Process
Your customers are not your only audience. Employee candidates are also looking at your brand, so when you’re hiring, make sure you’re presenting a quality impression. If your brand messaging boasts about your responsive customer service, don’t wait a full week before responding to an application. Take a critical look at your hiring process and acknowledge whether some formalities clash with your brand values. If you don’t practice what your brand preaches, employees will quickly become disenchanted with your company.
When you do hire a new employee, their first day experience should reflect your brand’s values. How do you treat them on their first day? Do you show them the ropes or leave them to figure things out on their own? Employees are key promoters of your brand, meaning it’s crucial that they “get it” on day one.
Improve Your Brand (Or Get A New One) With Bareknuckle
We’ve only scratched the surface with this post. Bareknuckle provides brand design, messaging and the strategy to tie everything together. If you need to improve your brand, buy us a beer and we’ll get to it.