how your brand lives

I try not to use this as a forum to rant. So after having been cut off by a service truck the other day on my way home from work I began thinking about the impact that experience had on me. The truck in question was a branded vehicle of a company that provided in-home heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) repair and sales.

I am constantly talking to friends about customer service generally, in particular the rapid decline of retail sales and the influence it has on how, when and where I shop. The same holds true for this experience with the service truck. Would I want to do business with an organization that has service people who drive like complete idiots or park poorly?

I guess my point in this is that branding and corporate culture extended beyond their intended or perhaps obvious consequences. I’ve been in the room and watched CEO’s, CMO’s or brand strategists pound on the table the importance of customer service and brand value proposition. Rarely, I think, do they understand how important it is for that brand value to be communicated in a meaningful way that permeates the entire organization. There is nothing quite like a group of starch collars setting corporate direction and have it ‘inflicted and enforced’ company wide without the feedback, opinion or …input of staff. My advice – include them in real and meaningful ways.

CEO’s need to learn, understand and value staff feedback and participation in the brand. Staff after all, in spite of what ever CEO thinks – are equal partners in executing your brand value.  There is the old adage that suggests that ‘everyone is in sales’. I think while not all organizations are sales oriented, all firms need to deliver customer service, regardless of their business line.

Two salient points: first, all employees, through their actions and positions represent the organization. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, those employees have the capacity (knowingly or not) to reach into stakeholder groups, customers and potential customers that CEO’s will never have simply because of where and how they operate their job function.

To that end, the CEO of that HVAC company whose driver cut me off on the highway, that I will never meet their him/her. I will however remember the brand for having tolerated crappy drivers.

You live your brand and to me, crappy drivers = crappy service. Your brand after all isn’t what you think it is or want it to be, it’s really what people say about you when you’re not in the room.

This entry was posted in Branding, customer service, Employee Engagement, Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to how your brand lives

  1. TransitionMarketing says:

    You have hit the nail on the head here. I have too often been involved in the discussions on promoting customer service and “killing em with service” only to have the entire carpet pulled out from under the campaigns feet because the company did not anticipate hiring more staff to man phones etc. or to train the company as a whole in order to ensure a consistent service message across the board.

    You can see this often when Sales answers one way, After Sales answers another and your Website/Online/Social Media staff answer completely differently.

    Companies are willing to spend the dollars on a slick campaign promoting their A1 services, but not on training or prepping to offer said service. They are in fact succeeding in 20% of what is required for successful branding, and failing in 80% with longterm consequences.

    A good example was one I read when studying Six Sigma. A pizza place spent money developing new toppings and fancy pizzas (along with inventory and stock transfer systems to handle the increased materials) and then spent more money marketing these new pizzas only to continue to fail as a business. Once they did the proper exploration into what actually mattered to their customers, they realized that late deliveries and cold or burnt pizzas where the biggest deal. They had to spend their money training their personnel in answering phones and writing down correct directions to get their deliveries there on time and then bought better ovens. Way less money and the word of mouth referral marketing increased their business substantially.

    In regards to your truck story: I read an interesting story once where a driver was cut off by a branded truck, they called the 1-800 number for “hows my driving” and quickly discerned that they were talking to the driver himself… how awkward.

  2. Pingback: how your brand lives part deux | Steve Virtue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.