What is a brand?
According to Investopedia.com: “A brand is a distinguishing symbol, mark, logo, name, word, sentence or a combination of these items that companies use to distinguish their product from others in the market. Legal protection given to a brand name is called a trademark.”
Once a brand has created positive sentiment among its target audience, the company has built “brand equity.”
The key to brand equity is delivering a consistent product or service to your customers over time. Consistency is very important. You have to do it the same way every time. This is a bit more complex than it sounds. You may need to put things in writing in the form of checklists, formulas, or recipes. You have to ensure they’re followed without variation. You have to resist any tendency to tinker with your processes or recipes. Even attempts to improve can backfire and practically destroy your brand.
Everyone in a company shares some responsibility for building and maintaining brand equity. It isn’t just a marketing problem. To ensure that your company always lives up to its promises you must:
- Have clear policies concerning how your product is produced or how your service is delivered to your public. These policies should be in writing. Imagine what would have happened if Colonel Sanders never wrote down what his “eleven herbs and spices” were or how much of each were used in his Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe. The business (KFC) would have died with him.
- Have a single source for company policy. This might seem extreme, but I’ve had the experience where I’ve set a policy and then months later found staff doing something else. Upon investigating I found that the department head had set her own policy, effectively knocking out a completely workable line I had set up and issued policy on. This is even more important when the company has multiple owners, all of whom work in the business.
- Ensure your policies are distinguishable from other communications. You should have an invariable format that clearly identifies policy as policy. This can include a specific heading, typeface, ink color or background that is only used for policy in your company. Why? If you don’t someone will try to interpret an email you sent in response to a specific question about a specific customer or circumstance as general policy. Weeks or months later you’ll find out you’ve set a policy that you didn’t know you set. I’ve had that happen too. You can’t prevent every kind of weird error, but making policies clearly distinguishable from everything else will help a lot.
- Make sure your policies are available and are known. A policy book or binder or a shared folder on your computer network that’s accessible to all staff ensures that the policies are available. The next step is having the staff read them. Whenever you issue new policies, copies must be given to the relevant staff members in addition to being placed in the policy book or shared network folder.
- Make sure your marketing is consistent and makes promises you can actually keep. I’m definitely not suggesting that you “undersell” your product or service. Just don’t exaggerate or misrepresent. Promise what you can actually deliver and sell the hell out of that.
Is your business organized in such a way that your product or service delivery is consistent and lives up to your marketing promises? Does your marketing sell the hell out of the product or service you deliver?
If not, we can help. Schedule a free consultation.