Smiling is Branding
You work so hard to build your brand.
People connect with Pepsi over Coke or Adidas over Nike or Hellmann’s Mayo over Miracle Whip, and so on.
That simple declaration takes time to build into loyalty.
It involves repeated good performance out of which you build trust to connect with.
And with one bad experience it can be gone.
The perception of a company is delivered by the employee who is paid the least on the front line. Or possibly a person who has so much authority, they may not hold the company’s ethical standard. This is the one employee who is in direct communication with the first people to interact with your brand and, in many cases, also the most often. They may be a person who is overlooked, undervalued, overvalued or unqualified for the job without developed personal and relational skills to match the ethos the business stands on.
What skills are actually required in these positions? Is customer relations regarded highly in the abilities of the job description? How does a company empower those in such a position to handle the variables of the situations they face? Is there a gauge as to when they can be trusted to represent those values? Is there authority to match the responsibility?
What is the value of a great impression?
Balance Sheets Don’t Determine Value
It’s the intangibles that can cost us the most.
The problem is that we don’t even know their real cost because loss of trust or lack of connection to the product or service doesn’t make it to the balance sheet.
The subtext of these questions posed is getting at how to determine real value.
We spend so much energy on the numbers.
Numbers do tell a story. They can tell many stories.
They have their place. Of course you must be profitable.
The numbers, however, are not the sole reason to make a decision.
Just as in your personal life, values determine the results.
Philosophies make determinations, value judgements.
The choices made become easier when their reasoning is understood and when they fit the philosophy. Profit then, is the reward for serving the needs of your philosophy internally, which correctly made it all the way to your customer, who interacted with it externally by a purchase that connected them to your company.
No profit, no company.
No philosophy, no trust. Soon, no customers.
Are you in business to help those who use the product or service or is it simply to provide a living for yourself?
It’s worth noting that helping your customers provides both.
Do you prefer to do business with those who meet your needs, big or small?
You have a reaction when customer service is there to really help you, and not just cite company policy that might not make sense in a given situation? Conversely, the company who doesn’t seem to care when dealing with you is poorly remembered,
likely costing future business. Again, not making the balance sheet.
Even attention to the situation, while not being able to fully accommodate, can be a well respected effort.
That small amount of extra attention is real marketing. It’s the intangible cost of keeping a customer.
You Are the Brand
Business is business – an adage that is now old and from the industrial age. It began it’s exit in the information age. It is now gone, although most don’t realize we’ve moved on yet. We are now in what Seth Godin calls “the connection economy.” He puts more succinctly what I believe to be true. Business is personal because it always ends with connection between people. Be intentional by thinking about things that are beyond what the businesses rules and standards say. They are always subject to more information for the possibility of change. Change can always refine a philosophy.
Think for yourself. Know your philosophy.
That is the heart of your product and your difference in the marketplace.