I’ll admit to a slight feeling of road rage this morning brought on by a van driver blatantly using his phone whilst negotiating a roundabout one handed. As I followed him down the road it was pretty obvious that his phone was receiving more attention than his driving and I wasn’t surprised when he turned right without signally, cutting the corner as he did so. Now you might say, ‘what’s new, there Glenda, I see this all the time’, but this one was different and the difference is branding.
This driver was driving a security company’s vehicle emblazoned with the message ‘Feel safer with us’! Actually I felt anything but safe with this man on the road. This driver probably didn’t think about his company’s brand for a second but he should have done.
Too many people confuse a brand with a logo but it is so much more than that. Branding is often compared with an iceberg, what you see is only about a third of what constitutes a brand. Above the waterline you have the visual identity, the logo, the name, advertising etc but it’s what is below the waterline that will usually have the most impact.
Below the waterline are all the things that inform the way we feel about a business. This is where the customer experience and staff behaviour play a big part. This is what people will remember. I can’t remember the name of this security company but I can remember my reaction to my encounter with it. What’s more I am sharing that experience with others. Most of us do, especially when that experience has been poor.
We have significant control of what is above the waterline but much less with what is below it. However there are steps we can take to safeguard our brands, here are a few ideas:
- be really clear about what your brand stands for and make sure that all stakeholders buy into that vision
- train staff and external providers in the standards of behaviour that are consistent with your brand (this includes delivery drivers, your outsourced call handling etc. as well as directly employed staff
- examine your systems and procedures to ensure they are consistent with your brand (if you are offering speedy service don’t let the phone ring ten times before you pick it up!)
- reward the behaviours you want to see more of
- monitor what people are saying about your brand (track social media, survey customers, respond to feedback) and deal with any issues
When have you had an experience that was inconsistent with the way a brand wanted you to view them? Why not share your experience here?