Marketing Your Brand—One Interaction at a Time
“Marketing” can mean many different things – different techniques, different technologies, and different approaches. But in the end it all comes down to the perception of your brand in the eyes of your customers. If it’s positive you win; if it’s negative, beware.
Your company's brand is your most important marketing asset. This means more than just the look of your logo and the design of your letters. Your brand is embodied in the “vibe” customers get from your company. This perception is driven by your on-going customer communications, the experience customers have interacting with you online, and the feeling they get when they engage with your employees directly. Indeed, this kind of brand perception is much more deeply rooted than simply the appearance of logo or the design of a website; it is the kind of customer sentiment that can mean the difference between growing the business and losing market share
Your Secret Weapon
One of the best ways to build your brand is by deputizing your employees as "brand ambassadors." Your employees are on the front lines, directly interacting with customers and clients in the office, on the phone and online. They put forth the front-line perception of your brand—for better or worse—one interaction at a time. How can you make the best of each customer interaction? You must make the most of your secret weapon in the name of branding: your employees.
The first step to leverage your employees as brand ambassadors is to make sure they clearly understand your brand. This often requires a degree of baseline analysis so that everyone involved is also clear on how your brand should be defined. Consider the following questions:
When you answer these questions you will have a better footing to build your brand. Here's an example: Target is known for telling its customers to "expect more while paying less." It's a fantastic brand promise. That's why they train their employee to be fast, fun, and friendly. In the end, Target customers perceive that prices are low, but service is top of the line. That's the "expect more" portion of Target’s brand promise. Be like Target—figure out how you want people to feel when they interact with your company and then figure out how your employees can make that happen.
The best way to market your brand one interaction at a time is to empower your people. The more informed your employees are, and the better planned their customer interactions are, the better your branding results will be. So educate and empower your people. Give them talking points, facts and interesting nuggets about the company that they can share online, on the phone and during face-to-face interactions with customers. Keep your key messages short and simple, and repeat them often. Encourage your employees to do the same. Now your employees will have the tools to build the brand of your company one interaction at a time.
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