They hide in the strangest places: branding opportunities like customer service, grooming, phone manners, and more.
We talk a lot about visual branding here on my 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.
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?