Mar 19, 2012

A brand rant

I’m really tired of people thinking that their logo is their brand. No…that’s your brand image. Your brand is also not your tagline or your style or anything else that has to do with how you look. The best definition of a brand these days is that it’s your customer’s perception of your product, service, company or person. 

If you’re General Mills, you can spend millions on focus groups, research and test messaging to figure out the perception YOU want to create in your customer’s mind. But for most of us, it’s factored into everything we do on a daily basis. We can save it – or wreck it – within a moment. And even General Mills or other big corporations can’t avoid this fact. Huggies found this out with their recent “Even Dad’s can do Diapers” pitch that probably reversed the results of years of advertising impressions. The same could have happened for Nike and their Black and Tan shoe launch debacle. Except that Nike apologized immediately in a very public way, and pretty much the same time the controversy happened. Nike good, Huggies bad. That’s MY consumer perception, and therefore, their brand, in my mind.

People spend WAY too much time working on their websites and logos and other “stuff” and not enough time on their customer service, their messaging, their attitude. And that’s what really creates a brand in the mind of the customer.

Hospitals and medical clinics are another great example of this problem with the definition of brand.  Most clinics and hospitals know they are in a competitive environment these days and many have upped their advertising, lowered their waiting times and done other things to try to get and retain patients. But one thing they don’t seem to realize is that on the backend, their nasty billing people often ruin the entire experience. I have a great sports medical doctor. I rarely wait for him to see me, and he’s kind and informative. Not at all the stereotypical bone surgeon. But his billing is done by a parent company that is probably the meanest group of people I’ve ever met. I shudder when I have to deal with them and I suspect that if there were a large problem, I would likely switch doctors. Great care, great concern for my health but from an administrative perspective, I get no respect. This is an issue I believe hospitals and medical clinics are going to have to address if they want to sustain their caring brand.

I know I’m ranting here. But I’m so tired of clients spending so much time on marketing and PR, and then not having a nice person that answers the phone. We won’t get longterm results from marketing until clients realize the ENTIRE operation has to be in alignment with the brand. Or their customers are going to get a very different feel than what their ads say.

Curious if you’ve had examples of this?

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14 comments on “A brand rant”

  1. Oh yes. This will always be a facet of the business. I occasionally have clients who want me to work on commission and are confused when I refuse. One of my pat answers starts with, “I can make a new referral source try you once, maybe even twice, but only you can make them never use you again.”

    March 20th, 2012 at 8:03 am

  2. Ask yourself what questions you would have on your mind when someone referals a business or service to you.
    My questions are focused on the Customer Support. I may not be interested in the business or service after all.

    ~Anja~

    March 20th, 2012 at 8:24 pm

  3. ofcourse mate, this is because many of the people are interested in earning money but they are not utilizing it when he get’s the customers

    March 21st, 2012 at 1:32 am

  4. A logo is no more a brand than a nose is a person. It might be noticeable, but it’s just a prominent illustration that doesn’t necessarilly reflect the values underneath.

    March 21st, 2012 at 10:03 am

  5. Great comments here. I’m stealing that one.

    March 21st, 2012 at 10:04 am

  6. Thanks, this makes it easier and harder…

    March 21st, 2012 at 12:20 pm

  7. On a more serious note, I actually keep a list of trusted consultants who provide industry specific services that are complimentary to mine. When I am suspect that a client may be losing ground while customers are on the phone, I politely recommend a consultancy that provides a secret shopper service specific to the home health industry.

    March 21st, 2012 at 12:23 pm

  8. Gary that’s a great idea. I’m going to start a similar list.

    March 21st, 2012 at 12:26 pm

  9. I have actually seen this in effect in my country. 2 major internet providers duked it out, one of them spending LOTS of money on marketing campaigns, while the other spent their money having a huge office getting their people to do customer service. Today the second company is 3-4 times larger as the other (the other still exists though).

    Perception is everything in business! When people feel they get good service, they stay LOYAL to that company. Proven fact :)

    March 22nd, 2012 at 12:10 pm

  10. The ideas you’ve shared here are fantastic and no doubt so great and it may really improve the variety of individuals visiting your website.

    March 22nd, 2012 at 8:41 pm

  11. That’s actually kind of funny, Bonnie. I think I may have bumped into some people who thought exactly that as well. They both are related when it comes to the actual business but when it comes to the meanings, they are far from each other.

    March 24th, 2012 at 1:33 am

  12. The information you shared here is really valuable for me.Thanks for the article.Looking forward to see more from you.

    March 25th, 2012 at 10:02 pm

  13. [...] This person really doesn’t like me, so at first I thought he had read my latest brand rant but then I realized he was 100% serious. So what’s up with this disconnect between marketing [...]

    April 2nd, 2012 at 9:32 am

  14. You explained the topic very well. The contents have provided meaningful information thanks for sharing info.

    April 2nd, 2012 at 1:22 pm

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