Branding: Safeguarding Your Brand
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
I’m a big fan of well executed branding and this has got me all bent out of shape with my local french fries joint. For the past five years (yes, I need to thoroughly detox) I’ve been an ardent patron of the neighborhood’s fries joint which I’ll call joint A. Like everyone else, joint A wasn’t exactly the best fries place but it’s near and where I live that’s a big advantage.
I’d always never liked how joint A was presented as a business despite my love for their services and a good relationship with the owners. I felt there was more that could be done to make the outlet look better and give a better customer experience. Then joint B opened up.
Joint B is the total opposite of joint A. It’s well thought out, the interior space is well done, their junk food offering is better in quality and the customer experience is a big improvement on joint A’s. I refused to visit joint B in support of joint A as I was the most frequent buyer of their french fries, till the day I was in a hurry and joint B didn’t have any ready fries (their quick service had really gone down by this time) and I was forced to visit joint A.
Stepping into joint B was like entering heaven. I was greeted with wafting music and fresh junk food aroma that immediately made me hungry. My order was taken immediately and there were wonderful seats for customers waiting for their orders. They even cooked on order to deliver fresh tasting food!
I couldn’t believe that all this had been available all this time a few meters from my house. I’d always had to go down to the mall for such service and it was always a hustle. After being a regular joint A customer (buying fairly large quantities of french fries 3-5 days a week among other things) for more than five years, I left to “join” joint B.
Your brand as a business is one of the most important intangible assets you’ll ever have and it goes without saying that you should carefully cultivate it. Though you may have good turnover with first time clients, long term success lies in having repeat clients.
Good products/services can only take you so far if your brand doesn’t inspire confidence and value. There will always be other competing businesses that can match what you’re offering. What will make you stand out from them? Branding. Excellent branding.
The number one reason why you love that business you’re loyal to is because you value and appreciate their brand. You love the effort that’s been put into the smallest of things when creating and/or delivering their services/products. That is a major part of why you keep streaming into their doors time and again.
As an entrepreneur you have to ask yourself: What does my brand inspire in people? What do clients feel when they come across my brand for the very first time? Is my brand creating value by how it interacts with the clients?
You need to make sure that you don’t just provide good products/services but that you provide them in a way that makes the client feel valued. You need to think through your identity as a business, how it’s presented to the clients and how it complements your product/serve offering.
Engage with your clients to find out what they like or don’t like about your brand. This will help you see your brand through your clients’ worldview. Had joint A’s proprietor taken her time to find out why I seemed to not be coming in as much as I used to, she’d have learnt how much value customers place in a good customer experience.
Above par branding will always create long term value for your business and in today’s economy this is something that you can’t do without if you’re going to survive as a business.
Cultivate your brand by looking at your product/service, your customer experience and other minute ways that affect your brand’s perception. It is when you take care of your brand that it takes care of you.