In our fast-paced world, many business owners view their customers as widgets on an assembly line. They move them through the line, take their money, and make way for the next one. They reel their customers in with flashy advertising and marketing plans, and then leave them less than satisfied with their overall experience. But marketing and advertising expert Scott Deming says this is no way to build a business if you want to be successful in the long run. You must brand and you must do it right. “The almighty customer” should trump “the almighty dollar” every time.
Deming shares his lessons through branding morals in his new book The Brand Who Cried Wolf: Deliver on Your Company’s Promise and Create Customers for Life. Here’s a sneak peek at simple lessons that will help you build your brand and create the ultimate experience for your customers.
Moral 1: Advertising, marketing, and branding are not the same animals and can’t accomplish the same thing. The differences may seem subtle, but to be successful, you must recognize that they are there. Both advertising and marketing are mechanisms used to connect customers and businesses. Branding, on the other hand, is the creation and support of a powerful perception and image of someone or something based on unique, emotional experiences so powerful that the perception or image becomes a belief.
Moral 2: Be careful what you promise. When individuals and companies don’t deliver on their brand promises, they fail to create or maintain uniqueness in their brand categories. That means no brand loyalty among your customers. They’re just as likely to go for someone else’s widget over yours. In the reverse scenario, when a company over-delivers on its promises, it is able to create a feeling of belonging, of culture, and of family.
Moral 3: Separate yourself from the pack. As mentioned above, when businesses get mired in sales quotas, short-term goals, statistics, and so forth, the people inside those businesses become robotic. Their eyes are focused not on how the brand is doing, but on what the numbers tell them. Both you and your employees should actually be focused on exceeding your customers’ expectations. You can start by getting rid of impersonal customer service techniques such as email or automated telephone services.
Moral 4: Perspective is everything. To really know how things are going at your company, you’ll have to step out of your own shoes and take a walk in those of your customers and employees. You need to look at your customers and say to yourself, If I were one of my customers right now, what would I love to have from me? Then, do it!
Moral 5: You (and your brand!) are probably not as great as you think they are. You may or may not be aware of the Lake Wobegon Effect, but it is a phenomenon from which many of us and our businesses suffer. It’s the human tendency to think we are better than we actually are.