Brand Management is an Absolute Must in all Business
Unlike a full-on crisis where business goes into managed image control, for most businesses, brand damage is the silent and slow process of losing customers. This is why brand management is essential! For many SME’s, brand damage will be more harmful to business than a one-off crisis. For example, during a crisis, everyone is focused on the problem and the solution. When a brand is being damaged slowly, in most cases, no one even notices until it’s too late.
There is a lot of science around Brand. Therefore, I could spend a lot of time drilling into the intricacies of building and managing a brand. For the purposes of this article, however, I want to keep it very simple. There are three core principles to doing brand well. They are:
- Know exactly how you want your customers to feel about doing business with you.
- Make sure everyone you employ understands your brand expectations. Ensure they know how to create that feeling with your customers.
- Manage your business such that you and your team are very consistent. Do everything in your power to make the customer experience exactly how you want it, every time.
Did you notice, I haven’t mentioned your logo once? Your logo is a by-product of your brand building. It is only ever a component of your brand.
When you understand that your brand is your people’s shared values. Where it’s clear that your customers share the same values. Then, when your business is consistent in meeting and exceeding yours and your customer’s expectations, you have a good brand. Of course, in a perfect world, you would get this right every time! Your customers would always love you and business would always be great. Sadly, few of us operate a business in a perfect world.
Source – BCI Media Services
Approaching Band Management
When managing the brand, the most common and obvious cause of damage is people. Whether that’s you or your staff or your customer’s. People are erratic and inconsistent by nature. Generally speaking, however, if your team is well trained on how their behaviour impacts your brand, they will manage around their own issues. Your role as the manager or business owner is to keep abreast of how your team are feeling. Be aware of morale and put in place steps to keep your team’s morale high.
Now let’s consider some of the less obvious ways you can manage your brand.
1. Know Your Capabilities
Often with the best of intentions, you will commit your business and your team to a deliverable you just can’t meet. Have you ever had a situation where you’ve taken on business that you thought you could do, but then walked away saying I should never have taken that on? If you have, then it is reasonable to assume you have done some brand damage. If you’re feeling that way, you can bet your customers have had a similar experience. The problem in this scenario is that often, customers won’t say anything to you or give you direct feedback. What they will typically do is walk around to others saying how bad the experience was. Remember your values before taking on a task, if you can’t do it exceptionally well, you may be better off not doing it at all.
2. Be aware of Weaknesses in your Supply Chain
Often others will cause damage to your brand, because of their inabilities. It’s your responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen. For example, if you have a deadline but are relying on someone else to meet that deadline. Allow a lead time in case things go wrong. Don’t leave it to the last minute. Your customers won’t care if your supplier stuffed up, they’ll see it as a reflection on you and your business.
3. Never Assume
Running a business these days requires a lot of crystal ball gazing. However, when it comes to managing your brand and satisfying the needs of your customers, never assume! You must get into detail. Having to apologise to a customer because you assumed something was going to happen a certain way is poor form. Your customer might be gracious about the poor assumption but they won’t forget it. In that situation, your brand is damaged. So, manage to avoid these situations at all cost.
4. Never Lie, Mislead or Deliberately Cover Up
The old saying “Honesty is the Best Policy” is absolutely true in business. If you try to hide, cover up or mislead a customer you’ll get caught out. Maybe not at that very moment, but be assured it will come back to bite you! How you handle a difficult situation can do a lot to salvage brand damage.
When it comes to brand management the list of factors you need to consider is vast. Therefore, approach your brand management from as broad a perspective as possible. Try to determine what could lead to damage to your brand and manage for these.
Be Alert But Not Alarmed
Brand management is a critical requirement for good business management. Remember, it is that often the little things that hurt your brand and these can be what ultimately brings your business down. Don’t let it catch you unaware. Brand damage creep is a sleeping giant in SME’s. It can sneak up on you.
Source – Bedrock Financial Services
You might assume that if you get your customer service right, you will minimise brand damage. And for the most part, this is true. However, the complexity of brand management is that it involves people’s feelings and perceptions. Remember, these are rarely black and white.
About The Author:
Joan MacDougal is the CEO of Macrison. She is the founder and owner of this innovative and original marketing company. Prior to Macrison Joan held senior roles at both American Express and Telstra. With 30 years of front-line marketing, advertising and communications experience Joan brings honesty and perspective to her views on better marketing, communications and advertising. Visit Joan’s website www.joanmacdougal.com to get to know Joan a little better. For more information on our Services click here Macrison Services