Branding a service is very different from branding a product for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Products are made where services are delivered
- Products are used where services are experienced
- Products are tangible where services are emotional
Products are impersonal physical items that can be evaluated before you buy them. Services, on the other hand, are very personal. Customers don’t just buy a service, they buy an experience.
Services don’t even exist until we buy them. There has to be a level of trust or even a “leap of faith” from the customer before they will buy a service.
What are your customers really buying with a service?
Many service businesses think that their customers are actually buy their expertise but customers can’t evaluate expertise. What they’re actually buying is a relationship and only they can tell you if the relationship (or chemistry) is good. This is why a competent, likeable consultant will attract far more business than a brilliant but introverted expert.
So what can you do to better brand a service business?
First you have to remember that marketing IS your business and that your customers will experience your brand at every touchpoint. You can have a great website and award-winning advertising but if you also have an unresponsive receptionist or sales people, everything fails.
Every act is a marketing act
Make sure every employee understands that everything they do is a marketing act and affects the perception of the brand.
Services usually only have a few touchpoints. Some of them include:
- Business card
- Website, email marketing and advertising
- Brochures, sales sheets
- Tradeshow booths and banners
- Reception staff
- Sales people
Make sure that all of them reflect how you want your brand positioned and perceived. If every brand touchpoint a customer could have contact with is effective and “on-brand” you’ll have a better chance of having a prospect make that emotional “leap of faith” and do business with you.