Seriously, if your brand sucks, it’s your fault. Not your customers, not your suppliers, not your real estate broker. Yours and only yours.
To keep it simple, we define a brand as how people feel about your products and services. The focus is on how your customers and clients think about you and what you do.
I’d even dare to say, we, your customers, often care more about your brand than you do.
Your brand means something to us. It can speak to us, enrage us, or inspire us. We memorize your jingles, often unwillingly. All the 80’s babies can sing along to “Always Coca-Cola” and if you need a more extensive primer in 80’s commercials, check ‘em out here.
We repeat your catchy phrases in public with friends. How many times did we say “Whaaazzzzuuuup!” to each other? 500? 1000? Still?
We do this for your brand. Sacrifice our money, time, creative energy and passion. But it’s a thin, long, emotional line between love and hate.
So, if your brand sucks, it’s certainly not our fault.
But I Have A Great Logo
Nobody dislikes a brand because of it’s logo. Now, it’s true, some of the best brands have iconic logos, but that’s not the main factor for disdain. Your logo will probably change. Don’t worry. Really…nobody really cares.The bright pink font might be annoying, but it’s Juicy (or my own!). And annoying isn’t hate.
But I can give you an annotated list of why your brand may be “underperforming” (business school speak for “sucks”). It’s probably because:
we have bad experiences
we hear of others having bad experiences
your brand represents something we do not value
your ceo is a rich brat and degrades women and minorities
your product broke, probably during the worst possible moment of use
your customer service sucks
you blame us when a product break or your Big Mac is too salty.
your partners don’t deliver. In fact they don’t even ship the item
you charge almost as much for the shipping as the item itself.
your company stole money during the recession
your company and an entire industry stole money after the 2008 recession
Where does that leave you? Luckily, that’s what this blog is all about. Especially when we get to post #2. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.
Number One Rule To NOT Suck
Be intentional about your values. These means with whom, how, why you partner with other professionals and firms.
A company you’ve probably never heard of, the Florida-based PPR Talent Management Group, values their employees, and their health, above all else. They invest in organic fruit deliveries, health screenings, and they even exercise together on the beach – precisely what makes their beachfront location particularly enticing. `
A company you have heard of, Zappos, is FANATICAL about their company culture. Founder and CEO Tony Hsieh, makes company culture the absolute first priority.
Priority over making money, innovation, and market share. People first, always.
Sheih is a culture guru for people like Rob LoCasio, CEO of LivePerson, an online customer service company, who tracked down Sheih for guidance on transforming his company culture.
“He said, ‘it’s a five-year commitment, if you’re going to do it. It’s a five-to-lifetime commitment; it’s not a two-year execution and you’re done. If you want to take it on, you’ve got to be willing to put that type of time into it.
Your culture starts with you. Even as a solopreneur, your staff are your freelance partners, your suppliers, your drop-ship provider – anyone who is responsible for delivering on your brand promise.
Number Two Rule To NOT Suck
Treat your customers fantastic. Create raving fans.
People love Nordstroms, the Seattle-based department store, specifically for their customer service policies.
It’s actually the stuff of which legends are made. Growing up in the Seattle, my aunts who regularly shopped Nordstroms and The Bon Marche told stories of returning items with no receipts and receiving CASH! I’ve heard of people who returned tires that were purchased at ANOTHER store (Nordy’s doesn’t sell tires) and returned them for a full refund, even after years of have passed.
True or false, these stories clearly reflect Nordstroms commitment to their customers. People who shop there will go there first. Almost always.
Let’s Start There
Understanding these things and your brand is free to be awesome. Stay alive and you can make us love you.