Working on establishing a brand? It needs nurturing as much as building
People often talk about the importance of building a brand. Why? It’s how you present a cohesive, visual identity, explain your motivations and give people confidence to buy from you, again and again. If you run a business, you’re creating a brand, know it or not.
However, brands can disappoint. I recently took a weekend getaway to the South Coast of England. Following a number of full-on weeks, my partner and I were ready to put up our feet - or walk on the beach, watching the waves. We decided that it was worth investing in a premier hotel brand for guaranteed luxury. And my oh my, were we ever disappointed!
From the hotel not having the room we booked to the largely empty restaurant being unable to seat us (as they were “overwhelmed” by a party of 10), coupled with the peeling paint and stained carpets, the experience was nowhere close to meeting the supposed 4-star rating.
The real problem for the brand in question is that my trust in the company has been ruined in one fell swoop. Rather than represent luxury and quality, I now view it as a business that has passed its sell-by date.
Now think of your own business. What can you do to develop a trustworthy, reputable and appealing brand, and then ensure you maintain this identity and keep clients loyal? The facets of the hotel experience serve as analogies for yourown enterprise.
Consider the restaurant disappointment - the manager could have easily seated us, provided beverages, and set expectations by noting that the kitchen was busy. If you’re at a show and people are queuing to buy (it does happen!), reassure them that you will help as soon as possible. Offer a seat if possible and provide them an art book to read whilst waiting. They will be impressed by your attentiveness, professionalism and the fact that you are in demand.
In so far as the peeling paint (and generally decaying interior), make an effort to make and keep exhibition spaces presentable. People won’t normally take notice if it’s in good nick, however will observe if it’s in poor condition. As the saying goes, it’s all in the detail.
When you experience others’ brands, pay attention to what you notice, how you feel and the impression you are given. Think about how these observations can be applied to building and maintaining your own brand, and do something about it.
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Photographs © Chris King.