ARE YOU WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT YOU
It is fascinating to chat with business owners across the nation about their brand. Every business is a brand, even if a bad one. Your brand is not what you think it is, it is what your customer thinks it is, it is what your employees think it is and it is what your vendors think it is. Lots of companies clamor that their employees are their number one asset, yet are you ready to hand over your brand, what you tout in your marketing material, to your employees? Are you ready to hand your brand over to your vendors? But the group with the most influence are your customers. If they were designing your brochure, would it have the same or similar message as the one in your lobby?

CREATE SOMETHING WORTH TALKING ABOUT

You are creating an experience for your customer at every touch point throughout the customer life cycle. That experience, which is not owned by you, is what your brand is. In the not so distant future, all you will have to do is log onto Yelp, or any one of the other commanding rating sites and you will be able to read just what your brand is. It will certainly be much more efficient, and perhaps then, we may all choose to actually listen to our customer long enough to be aware of what we are portraying everyday by our actions and behavior.
 
CREATE A REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE
What are the key ingredients of a Remarkable Resident Experience?
 
Remarkable, as defined by the legend Seth Godin:
  • Remarkable doesn't mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to make a remark about it?
  • Being noticed is not the same as being remarkable. Running down the street naked will get you noticed, but it won't accomplish much. It's easy to pull off a stunt, but not useful.
Is the experience you are creating for your customer remarkable and does your customer find value in the experience created? Are you matching your Brand to a Targeted Experience. "Service excellence, just as with beauty, is in the eye of the beholder"! Take some time to evaluate what will Engage and Delight your customer based on your Brand. We were at the local Mini Cooper dealership a while back and they openly invite customers to bring in their beloved pets to the dealership, which some folks get excited about. It works for Mini Cooper, but you likely would not find that at the Jaguar showroom. Mini Cooper is matching a Customer Experience to their Brand and this example has no correlation to luxury and doesn't get better by adding more money.  Southwest Airlines, you either love them or hate them with the cattle call lines, no assigned seats, no frills. Yet true blue Southwest customers like, enjoy, laugh with, and have a favorable experience with, Southwest. Herb Kelleher somehow figured out how to deliver a consistent, value driven experience, and permitted his employees to fix it when it wasn't.
 
What experience are you creating for your customers? Let us know your thoughts and stories here.


March 1, 2009





Eric Brown has (30) years in the Multi-Family Apartment Business having built and developed over 17,000 apartment units, both market rate, luxury and tax credit apartments. Having started Urbane Apartments in 2003 after leaving a lengthy stint as a Senior Vice President at Village Green Companies, a national apartment developer, Eric decided he wanted to create wealth, and set out from Corporate America on his own and created Urbane Apartments in Royal Oak, MI.






Comments(29)

Good thoughts, Eric... 10 years ago the only way to get market research was to hit the streets, and now it's simply to open your laptop.
I've personally found that the small things are the ones that make people remember you and why they do business with you. In my previous life of dealing with B2B I would send a small box of chocolates to my customer, for no reason at all, or give public recognition of our customers (ads thanking them in trade mags).

People want to feel special and they want to buy from someone they like. IMO, doing both is the key to success.

I think brand is the most importing part that should need to give the most attention. I did that in order to make it popular later especially if some affiliates start promoting my brand. Of course, I encouraged others to do so.

Branding a product s truly important and you should responsible for the brand of your products, not everyone else. If you could think from the very beginning regarding branding then success is almost achievable.

You may think that you have an absolute, 100% ownership for your brand, yet if your name identity is shared with hundreds of others, then you clearly lack 100% ownership.

What's the point of brand-building if you are simply brand-sharing?

Global icons like Sony, Rolex or PlayStation are completely unique around the world, there is no dispute concerning who owns these brands whatsoever.

So why is it so difficult for your brands to achieve this global respect and position.

Corporations often justify or deny such serious name handicaps, similarities, marketplace confusion, and trademark limitations directly impacting the sales as customers out there are not catching the tune.

Many people confuse "brand" with name or logo or even reputation. IMO, a brand is none of these and all of these.

In fact, your brand is the emotional connection your customer has with you. When it is rich, rewarding and unique, you have a strong positive brand. It will persuade people to prefer your brand over all others offering similar products or services, every time they have a choice.

It is up to the brand owner/manager to cultivate and encourage that positive emotional connection. Employees and vendors can assist, or undercut, those efforts. They often, however, are just as influenced by what your customers think as vice versa.

Always remember that your customer's "feeling" about you is the substance of your brand. If you don't know and understand that feeling, absent research, you will have a difficult time reinforcing or reversing it.

Good article, Eric.

all great comments..thank you..I am working on building my own brand and appreciate all the ideas and thoughts on "branding" and will keep them in mind when doing business.

Brand is so important. So often in our industry we hear the stories of people who have not been taken care of. It is so important to support the brand with awesome customer service, consistent communication and professional delivery. From the trainee right up to the CEO the brand that represents your company must be delivered consistently time and time again to those who matter - our client or customer.

@Matt, Thanks for stopping by, and sharing yur ideas. Much apprecaited.

@Maxagen, You are Your Brand, Everyone has one, thats the point. But is it what YOU think it is, teh answer is typically NO, it is something much different, Your Brand is what your customer FEELS.

Brand is for product ? how about service?


@perryper
Your question underscores the problem many people have. A brand is not just a name or an object. It is a real or expected experience translated by the customer into an emotional reaction. If a service, or any behavior, creates a user experience, it is a brand. It is a good brand or a weak brand based on what the brand owner does to understand what it is and takes steps to reinforce the positive and eliminate the negative.

@William, Thanks for the comment. You are Spot On, it is always About the Customer Experience. Walt Disney figured that out decades ago. Irrespective of what your mission or marketing materials say, How Your Customer Feels, Is Your Brand,

I have struggled with the concept of branding and establishing my product's brand. Thanks for the information you give here. I find that "branding" is my most difficult challenge, yet see the need for me to succeed at creating my brand. I agree that it is the customer who associates the entire experience with the brand. Taking a lead from a corp that I previously worked for, I am focusing on my customer service, not the product itself, to define my brand. It worked to create a $100 billion company and it can work for anyone willing to put service at the top of priorities.

Yes, i was also thinking that when piracy was not implemented yet. There was a huge uproar regarding purchasing original and branded types of products, these days... people are getting more practical since that the pirated ones are almost the same, and the price was almost half of the original price of the branded which costs too much.

Lyle

Thanks for the information!it will help in my future plan.

@Paula, Good Morning, thanks for the input.

Just be aware that your "Brand" is being formed with or without your input, based on how your Customer Feels.

Customer Service is a great idea and a great place to start. However, I can tell you from my own Start-Up Experience, that in the beginning, we just dropped the ball too much. We said we were Customer Service Oriented, We said we put the Customer First, BUT, our actions didn't support that. We had limited resources, and were inexperienced.

The Good News is this, We Openly and Transparently accepted customer feedback. We stayed in the game and didn't make excuses. We said we were sorry a lot. And then, little by little we started to create Customer Evangelists, that helped us figure it out, and what great customer service meant to them, and we adjusted along the way.

Good Luck on your trek!

Good to know :)

Jazz @

Archery Bows

There are differences of brand value and brand recognition.You have to earn respect, and you can’t buy respect. Many companies spend thousands of dollars on pretty brands but they haven’t actually developed the brand value yet.

Sometimes depending on the product or service you do need to first invest in brand recognition in order to even give yourself a chance to build value.

Kristina Tomlin

my favorite part-"Being noticed is not the same as being remarkable. Running down the street naked will get you noticed, but it won't accomplish much. It's easy to pull off a stunt, but not useful"

because it is so true and simple!

kelly @ Quality Tattoo Suppliers

Superb post, thank you =D

-W.Hudley
dating married

Thank you all for the comments and stopping by, a great discussion,

Next Blog Post; What Happens When You Run Out of Money, Our Greatest Fear! Stay Tuned,

Thanks for the information! I appreciate all the ideas on "branding". I think brand should need to have the most attention and is very important for your succes inline.

I love it when companies spend so much time creating a brand and then forget to address what the customer already thinks about the brand. No matter how much money is spent on a new campaign, if you do not address the customer's previous concerns you will get no where. That is why it is important to have a good program for Online Reputation Management in place. Web 2.0 has given the customer a loud voice, use it to your advantage.

I don't know if I necessarily agree with everything you're saying. I believe that most Americans are just crybabies and cannot be pleased regardless of how hard you try. I do agree that as a business owner we do need to create a brand but on the other hand I believe that "branding" is very overrated.

As a direct response marketer I look at my conversion rate and my return rate. That is important to me than any "branding" of a product.

Just my opinion

Brand is something that so many companies take for granted in a sense. They think once THEY know what their brand is that everyone else is going to follow suit.

A brand is not only something that you have to build, but you have to maintain it as well.

excellent post and a good reminder of how important it is to be aware of how we're branding our business.

Thank you for another interesting post. Just want to add a bit of information I found about branding.

There was a study performed by a branding agency that tracked the perceptions of a large 'focus group' to correlate their perceptions of the strength of various brands and the reported stock values of these leading brand companies.So, what do you think about the results of the study? The correlation was so strong!!

Google owns your brand, at least if you own an internet business. This company can make or break you.

That Mini Cooper example on how they are matching their customer experience to a brand is absolutely brilliant! That really was an exceptionaly way to tie it together.

Mmm I guess brand name matters less than you think.
Google by any name would not lose it's popularity.

Regards.

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