Don’t Miss These Business Branding Opportunities

how to make a brand stronger by getting all your employees on the same page

They hide in the strangest places: branding opportunities like customer service, grooming, phone manners, and more.

We talk a lot about visual branding here at the Big Brand System blog. The quality of your marketing materials — their colors, typefaces and consistency over time — will help build trust in your offerings.

But that’s not enough. If you stop there, you’re missing a multitude of branding opportunities that make a lasting impression on your customers.

On-The-Job Branding

I was reminded of this by my brother, who works as a construction manager on high-end (very high-end) homes in Arizona.

Your brand starts with your message, but it’s put into action by you and your employees. What you say, how you say it, and even personal grooming will have an effect on how your brand is perceived.

My brother has to juggle numerous vendors: stone masons; framers; electrical contractors; painting companies; the company that installs the at-home putting green in the backyard (really), and many others.

He’s a people person, luckily: one of those rare sorts who can find a way to connect with almost anyone. But here’s what he confessed to me: when he has to deal with a vendor, his job is much easier if the company consistently manifests its brand message.

What in the world does branding have to do with construction management? What difference could it possibly make?

Singing from the Same Songbook

My brother’s job is easier when the vendor’s employees all “sing from the same songbook.” If their marketing materials make a promise that their employees carry out flawlessly, he has a consistent experience and learns to trust that company.

When employees understand and live the values of the brand, they become brand ambassadors that take that message to the streets. Once they’re out in the world singing from the brand’s songbook, there are ways you as a business owner can support them. And if your company is just you, this advice still applies.

Suit Up for Success

Not all industries can use a uniform. In the construction industry, the dress code is pretty loose. But my brother says any company that invests in shirts or uniforms for their employees gets instant respect from him.

If your competitors don’t use uniforms, could you try this? It might be a way to stand out from your competition.

And if uniforms aren’t appropriate for your industry, think about what the business attire used in your company is saying about your brand. Dress codes have relaxed in the past couple of decades, but make sure your clothing still reflects the level of professionalism and preparation you bring to the work you do.

Procedures and Protocol

I can already see your eyes glazing over: procedures and protocol? Really?

It sounds incredibly boring, but procedures and protocol play an important role in your company’s brand experience.

Imagine what happens if every time your customer has any kind of contact with you or your company, their experience is cohesive. Whether the contact is on the phone, on the web, or in person, they encounter a warm welcome and are well taken care of.

They initialize a transaction and a predictable series of events that happens. When their product or service is delivered, they can count on things unfolding a certain way that doesn’t change over time.

When your company has procedures and protocol in place that you and anyone who works for you can follow, it’s easier to offer this kind of consistent brand experience to your customers. As my brother says, when a company follows a set protocol at every job, it puts his mind at ease. He spends less time micromanaging, and can focus on the big picture.

Make Them Trust You

That’s what it’s really about, isn’t it? Build trust by offering a consistently excellent brand experience so that your customers can relax and focus on what’s most important.

When they know they can count on you and your company to deliver reliable, high-quality products and services, guess who they’re going to call?

Comments

  1. says

    Great post! I would only add that this idea of “branding” opportunities could also be seen as “marketing” opportunities, “customer service” opportunities, or even “positioning” opportunities. The point being that everything we are and do and say as a business matters. It speaks to Attention and Intention: What are we doing and Why are we doing it? And is everyone “on the same page”?

    Again, great post, and much needed insight.

    • says

      Absolutely, Bobby: whatever name you want to use for it, they’re all opportunities to make a good impression. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Jessica says

    I agree, but you have to be careful about who you put in a uniform. If your employees are knowledge workers, uniforms are likely to make them seem less professional.

    Unless the uniform is required for safety (i.e., lab coats, medical scrubs, chef’s hats), it implies that you don’t trust the employee’s judgement, and they have no authority.

    • Mike Korner says

      I agree with you Jessica. Actually, I think your comment brings up a great point. I think it depends on the nature of the business.

      I can see where Pamela’s example is right on for most customer-facing employees (except the safety examples you gave). Example: In conventional retail, some sort of uniform is needed so I, the customer, knows who works there. It also reminds the employees that they are part of a company.

      When employees aren’t customer-facing, you have a different dilemma. The answer used to be partially addressed with professional attire (like suits) so you didn’t need to worry about it. With today’s more relaxed work places, it’s tough.

      What I noticed is that if you give people a nice company shirt, many will wear it in the office of their own accord. You could probably even get by with a weekly company shirt day if you presented it well. But, forcing professionals to wear a “uniform” would be an issue for some. Me, for example. I almost never wore a company shirt, and it wasn’t just because it was a stupid color :) I didn’t because it gave me the feeling of being owned. I didn’t like that. To this day I’m very picky what I wear on shirts. If I wear a t-shirt, for example, if it has a logo I view it as me endorsing the company or message. If I haven’t used the product or don’t like the product/company, I won’t wear the shirt.

      I think the topic is more interesting when you are home-based. Should you wear a “uniform” at home? Some people do because it makes them feel more professional. I dress up when I go out (say for lunch) because when I don’t I always seem to run into someone I know. I don’t wear dress clothes or a uniform when I’m in my home office though.

      In all cases, I think the underlying message Pamela raised is excellent. When you have a company, you have to figure out how to get everyone acting consistent with the brand you want.

      One way to do this is by creating a culture (like Zappos).

      Another way to do it is with a powerful mantra that powerfully states how things are to be.
      – Example: Lands’ End has “Guaranteed. Period.” When someone calls Lands’ End with a problem, the employee doesn’t spend any time wondering if the problem is covered under a guarantee.
      – Example: BMW has “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” If a BMW product manager has the chance to choose tires for a car and she is presented with a less expensive option that sacrifices performance, the decision is a no-brainer.

  3. says

    Hi Pamela!

    I love how you’ve taken the whole idea of branding outside of the usual box we tend to put it into. These other pieces are also really important and can really be the finishing touch on the rest of the brand.

    • says

      Hi Jess!

      You know, they’re minor details, but they help form an idea in our customers’ minds of what level of service they can expect from us. All the visual branding stuff is what I really like to talk about. If you get that right, but then have terrible phone manners (for example) you’re not going to grow your business.

      Thanks for the comment and for stopping by!

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