A brand new way to look at (and build) your brand.
Everyone wants a great brand. Very few companies have one. Even fewer people have one. How’s yours?
Everyone knows the great corporate brands, and everyone knows the great people brands. You don’t really care about them, UNLESS your loyalty to the brand is fierce (to a sports team, to a product, or as a fan).
And sometimes, great brands falter. Even die. How do great brands die? Low quality, poor management, union chokeholds, market shift, and over the last twenty years, failure to take advantage of the Internet – pick one.
The reality is that you care most about YOUR brands. Your company’s brand, your product’s brand, and your personal brand. But, you can learn lessons from the big ones that falter.
REALITY CHECK: How do you build a brand – and what are the stepping stones and pitfalls of YOUR brand, as you build it?
The answer hangs in the balance of all the things you do that are NOT brand building.
The answer lies within these critical reputation-building areas:
1. Quality of product.
2. Availability of product.
3. Ease of doing business with you.
4. Friendliness and helpfulness of sales and service people.
5. Enjoyment of product.
5.5 Continuous improvement in each of the five areas listed above.
Many people (especially advertising agencies) believe that the best way to establish your brand is advertise. They are only partially right. Reputation is much more powerful than advertising. And word of mouth advertising is much, much more powerful than advertising.
Why don’t companies fire their ad agencies and reinvest the money to create reputation-building actions they could take in order to solidify the brand and make any advertising pay real dividends?
The old concept is: Advertising brings brand awareness.
The question is: What kind of awareness?
EXAMPLE: If I see a billboard with the name and the picture of an insurance agent and an insurance company — as I drive by, I see the image, and it creates a thought or a statement.
The question is: What do I say, or what do I think, when I see it? And does it cause me to act?
Will the ad cause me to act or ignore? Will it create a good feeling or a bad one? Will I recall a good story or a negative incident? Or will it be nothing?
When I see the image, any brand or advertising image, I will think or say one of following five things:
Something real bad.
So the challenge, from the chicken and the egg series, is: which came first, the advertising, the brand, or the reputation?
ANSWER: It doesn’t matter. In the end, reputation and word of mouth will win out over advertising.
Do you make a sale by advertising or by word of mouth advertising?
Do you make a sale by advertising or from reputation?
Do you make a sale by selling them on how great you are, or is the prospect buying as a result of what a neighbor said or did?
Ask yourself where and why you bought your last car? Or where and why you go to the stylist you do to get your hair done (if you have any). Or doctor, or dentist, or furniture store, or, or, or.
It never ceases to amaze me that advertising agencies focus on cost per thousand and other kinds of commissionable rebates for products and services that have a bad reputation.
I wonder if companies spent as much money delivering great service as they do trying to tell everyone how great they are. Maybe they should cut their advertising budget in half and invest the other half in serving customers.
I’m big on branding, and creating a great brand, but I am bigger on reputation. If the reputation is there, the brand will be bigger than the ad.
The best way to build a brand is build a reputation that attracts customers. Take the actions necessary, invest in the people necessary, and invest in the quality necessary to get the brand to build itself through the words and testimony of others.
If you want more ideas on how to build your reputation, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time user and enter the word REPUTATION in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Little Black Book of Connections, and The Little Red Book of Selling. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to email@example.com.
c 2006 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/333-1112