A brand rant

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?

14 Comments
  • Gary Brazzell
    Posted at 08:03h, 20 March Reply

    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.”

  • Ascentive
    Posted at 20:24h, 20 March Reply

    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~

  • sindu@ barc recruitment
    Posted at 01:32h, 21 March Reply

    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

  • Andy @ FirstFound
    Posted at 10:03h, 21 March Reply

    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.

    • bonnie
      Posted at 10:04h, 21 March Reply

      Great comments here. I’m stealing that one.

  • Yucel
    Posted at 12:20h, 21 March Reply

    Thanks, this makes it easier and harder…

  • Gary Brazzell
    Posted at 12:23h, 21 March Reply

    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.

  • bonnie
    Posted at 12:26h, 21 March Reply

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

  • Norgeskatalogen
    Posted at 12:10h, 22 March Reply

    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 🙂

  • Becca
    Posted at 20:41h, 22 March Reply

    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.

  • Home Lighting
    Posted at 01:33h, 24 March Reply

    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.

  • transportation services dc,
    Posted at 22:02h, 25 March Reply

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    Posted at 09:32h, 02 April Reply

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    Posted at 13:22h, 02 April Reply

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