I recently read an article on branding in the Financial Post that talked about how an effective brand will be consistent throughout the entire customer experience, from the moment of first contact until the product is consumed.
I wholeheartedly believe this is true but frequently see examples where companies fail. Often a company will focus primarily on their product or service thinking that it IS the brand. But in fact is it’s only one part.
Your brand is the sum of all the touchpoints a customer has with you – how your receptionist answers the phone, the look of your website, your sales team’s presentations, your trade show displays and (of course) how your product or service performs. It’s all the little things that add up to form a person’s perception of your brand. And your customer’s perception IS your brand!
A good (well, actually a very bad) example of this is a flyer I received from a company that sells and leases colour photocopying machines. The flyer was itself a colour photocopy, which isn’t a bad idea considering that is their business. Now, I’d never heard of this company before so this particular touchpoint is how I made my first impression of their brand. And it wasn’t good.
The quality of the photocopy wasn’t too bad but the combination of cheap paper stock, poor layout and a blurry company logo gave me the perception that this company is small, amateurish and lacks attention to detail. Hardly what you want a new customer to think!
Smaller companies may have limitations on how much they can budget for printing and design but that’s no excuse for shoddy marketing. You should always do the very best that you can afford and work within your budget to produce something that truly represents your brand and enhances your customer’s perception of your company.
And this type of thing isn’t limited to small companies – I’ve seen plenty of big ones with hefty marketing budgets miss the mark as well. I’ve received mailings from 5-star hotels looking for my event or meeting business that were obviously created in-house, probably in an effort to save money on design and printing. They were completely off-brand and certainly didn’t represent the high quality and prestige of their product. I’m not sure if “saving money” on such mailing pieces would ever make up for the revenue lost because customers perceived the hotel as being lower quality and unprofessional.
Lack of consistency and poor attention to detail – have you seen examples of this yourself?