"Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it's not going to get the business."
--- Warren Buffett
We've talked here many times about the importance of reputation, word-of-mouth, and branding. The importance of all three cannot be over-stressed, but when you walk into any business today you still see poor quality and lousy customer service. It is as if those businesses never have to be concerned with creating a good reputation because they have piles of cash and really don't need our business.
When I have the time, I always let the management of an establishment (restaurants, doctor's offices, furniture stores, banks, etc.) know how I was treated as a customer. If I was treated like a king, I let them know. If I was treated like a burden, I let them know that too. I feel that I am offering a service by letting management or the owner know that I was satisfied or not satisfied. To me, this is valuable information for them to use. Whether they use it or not remains to be seen.
"A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well."
--- Jeff Bezos
Knowing your business and what it stands for is the beginning of creating your brand. What you convey to all of your stakeholders: customers, vendors, employees etc, is your brand. For example, at SignIndustry.com, our mission statement is:
SignIndustry.com's mission is to provide the highest quality online magazine with the most current, accurate and informative resources available.
It is a simple statement, but one that we follow daily. Our brand is our actions. If we deviate from our mission, we leave our brand and we flounder about searching for an identity. Meanwhile, we lose readership, advertisers, and put our reputation at stake.
"The music industry is a strange combination of having real and intangible assets: pop bands are brand names in themselves, and at a given stage in their careers their name alone can practically guarantee hit records."
--- Richard Branson
When you examine your favorite products and restaurants, what do you find as a reason for your loyalty? Your answer is their brand. Make notes of those qualities and see if you can apply the same to your business. You'll find that most of your satisfaction is based on being treated as royalty with respect, courtesy, honesty, and thankfulness. Apply all four and you will create a lasting brand.
"Google actually relies on our users to help with our marketing. We have a very high percentage of our users who often tell others about our search engine."
--- Sergey Brin
Once you've established a brand, you will create a following. People talk and tell others about your brand.
A nearby city to our office, Winter Park, is home to a smoke house that is out of this world. The place is called 4 Rivers and the barbeque there is to die for. For lunch, the line of people waiting to order begins about 10:15 in the morning and winds around the 10 X 10 foot area used for ordering. There is very little seating and it is outdoors (it is currently 96 degrees here). 4 Rivers does very little advertising. I was invited by someone who told me that I would never eat barbeque anywhere else. He was right. I've told about 20 other people since. The place has great food, great service, and a great brand.
Who is telling others about you?
"Our success is a direct result of knowing how to market a brand and having the right people representing the brand."
--- Greg Norman
Avoiding Boat Wrapping Mistakes
By Jennifer LeClaire
Vinyl is expensive. So is your reputation. Learn how to avoid the boat wrapping mistakes that could hurt your pocket-and your good name.
Read the article...
KIOSKS: Self-Service is the New Customer Service
By Louis M. Brill
Kiosks are found throughout the retail and hospitality communities and in customer service roles like sales clerks, bank tellers, order takers, or concierges.
Read the article...
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Billboard for Daisy Outdoor Products:
"Daisy Air Rifles: Keeping Kids Off Your Lawn Since 1886!"
A billboard for Exxon:
"Where are all the news crews when we're NOT spilling anything?"
Advertisement for lawn sprinkler system:
We know those funny signs are out there. Take a moment and send them in to us and we'll share them with the world. Send all hysterical observations to: firstname.lastname@example.org.