5 keys to building a strong brand
No headshots in this post. No LinkedIn profile pictures in this post. Just a feel-good story about some recent personal experiences that exemplify “building your brand” and five tips that you can take away to build your business’s professional brand.
When I speak at companies and professional organizations, my focus is on building and cultivating your personal and professional brand. And I love experiences and stories that bring this to life. I had two recent experiences that epitomize good branding: a mammogram and a visit to the dentist. Both are not typically fun experiences (!) but they both left me feeling good.
I have been having my mammogram at Piper Breast Center for many years. From the first time I set foot in their clinic, the ambience, customer service and overall experience has been positive. When I needed a surgical biopsy, I was treated promptly and with the utmost respect. Which is, of course, the most important thing. But it’s my annual visit that always leaves me with a positive brand experience, and it’s little things. When I arrive, I am greeted by professional, organized and pleasant staff, who check and double-check my medical information. I am then directed to their bright, comfortable and cheerful waiting area, where I am then greeted by a pleasant volunteer who kindly takes me to a changing room. In the changing room, the volunteer gives me a clean and, yes, comfy robe to wear while I wait for my mammogram technician. That waiting area is also bright and pleasant, and every time I go, I am asked if I would like coffee, tea or another beverage. I often opt for tea just so that I can have it in one of their heirloom, bone china tea cups.
I will spare the details of the actual mammogram experience, but suffice it to say that the care, professionalism and kindness extends to that actual reason I came to the clinic in the first place. But the brand experience doesn’t end there. When I return to the changing room, I discover two different brands of spray deodorant, because for those us who know, you never apply deodorant the morning of your mammogram. So what makes this experience so important from a brand perspective?
- I don’t dread my mammogram appointment, I even look forward to it, because of the experience and ambience they create.
- In almost ten years since going to Piper, they have never failed to offer me tea or coffee in one of those elegant and dainty tea cups.
- I have come to expect the deodorant in the changing room when I’m done, and I have never been let down.
- I know and never doubt that I will be treated with care, courtesy and professionalism.
- Because of their attention to detail, I have absolutely no doubt that the results of my test will be 100% accurate.
No matter what business you are in or how unpleasant the service is that you provide, creating a consistent and strong brand experience is essential to building a relationship with your clients.
On to the dentist this morning to prep for a new crown and potential root canal. Now, that is definitely not a fun experience. But again, my dentist, Dr. Loween at Serene Oaks Dental, has a consistent and strong brand that keeps me coming back. One of their strongest brand attributes is integrity. On my last visit, Dr. Loween discovered a small crack in one of my molars. He said that since it was a crown that had just passed warranty, he would replace it for the cost of materials only. Today when I went in for my appointment, the dental assistant showed me the cost of the crown which was much more than the cost of materials—let’s just say it was about the cost of my monthly mortgage payment—ouch! But when I reminded Dr. Loween of our earlier discussion, he didn’t miss a beat in saying, “Of course, we will do the work as discussed for the nominal cost of the materials.” He went on to say, “What’s most important to me is that you have quality work, and I will sleep better knowing that our patients are well cared for.” That’s integrity. And that’s a strong brand. He’s standing behind his work, abiding by his word and making me feel good about the experience—that exemplifies the brand of Serene Oaks Dental. Beyond that, my experience at their office is always consistent. I know what to expect. I know I will be greeted by name. I know the staff will be courteous. I know I will receive good care.
5 keys to building a strong brand
So regardless of your business; regardless of the type of service you provide, follow these brand guidelines and it will build customer and client relationships that will grow your business, build customer loyalty, and best of all, nurture wonderful relationships with terrific people:
- Deliver a consistent customer experience for every single customer interaction. Don’t miss a detail or compromise even the smallest nuance—it will be noticed.
- Stand by your word, deliver quality work, and act with integrity.
- Add extras, like the tea in a china cup, or small amenities or a handwritten thank-you note. All of these small extras add up to an exemplary customer experience.
- Define your brand and then clearly articulate and implement the experience you want your customers to enjoy when doing business with your organization.
- Be authentic. Your company brand should be a reflection of your personal brand.
At KeliComm, one of the ways we help you with your business brand is to create a consistent look and brand of your team through photography (take a look at our recent Blog about building your company brand with photography). Also, in the services we deliver to our clients, we strive to deliver a consistent and strong brand in everything we do. We never rest on our laurels though. We are always striving to create an even better customer experience. Contact us for more information about how KeliComm can help you cultivate your business’s brand or if you’d like us to speak at your next meeting about cultivating professional brand.