Steps to Management Success – Step 105: Protect and Serve Your Brand

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 14th, 2010

STEP ONE HUNDRED FIVE

Protect and Serve Your Brand

A brand is essentially how people perceive your company, your products, and even you. It’s the basic overall perception that your customers and prospects have. Obviously, having a positive brand image can be a strong competitive advantage. People may often do business with you based solely on their perception of your brand, so it behooves you to manage those impressions for maximum sparkle and shine.

WHAT IT MEANS: It takes more than slick advertising to build a strong brand. You have to back up your claims with strong performance. Are your products reliable or, better yet, exceptional? Is your service a customer turn-on or turnoff? Every single impression that your customer has of doing business with you counts—what she hears from others; what she experiences herself; and what you communicate via your marketing materials, your logo, your packaging, your product design, the appearance of your store or reception area, et cetera. Ideally, all these factors should work in sync to proclaim the glory of your story—but all it takes is one bad apple, one discordant note, or one scratch on the new car to ruin the effect.

ACTION PLAN: Regularly probe for factors that might be tarnishing your brand. Can product/service quality and/or value be improved? Does your advertising speak to the reasons people are actually buying your products? Are there weak links in the chain—products or packaging or people who reflect poorly on your overall brand? Do your corporate communications (including ads and Web site) have a similar look and feel to reflect consistency and solidity? Like goodwill, your brand is an intangible asset—but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be managed.

EVEN BETTER: Do some research to gain a more accurate sense of how your brand is perceived. Your preconceived notions may simply be wishful thinking, so make sure to ask the people who really know: your customers and prospects.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)


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