What's Your Brand? Part 1

Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant
Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant

What’s Your Brand

Part 1 of 52

By Matt Plapp

As a marketing consultant I call on 100 + businesses per week. After most phone calls and visits I can’t help but wonder “What’s their brand”? Most people think about radio ads and tv ads when I say that. But I’m not talking about advertising, I’m talking about your companies brand. I’m talking about what defines your business to consumers when they think of you, if they actually do think of you. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

I recently had a customer tell me they don’t advertise when I spoke with her on the phone. I told the business owner it was a good thing she didn’t. Confused she asked what I meant. I told her it took me 4 different phone calls to get someone to answer the phone. On the 4th time when someone finally answered I could barely hear what they said when they answered the phone. Once I figured out I had the correct business after having the young lady repeat the name 3 times (maybe it was an issue with a tongue ring) I was put on hold. Once on-hold there was no message selling their business, just SILENCE, oh and I was on hold for 10 minutes. This I told the owner is why they should not be advertising, not because she thinks they have enough business or a great customer database. I don’t care how great of an advertising campaign you have, if you don’t answer the phones, put people on hold without ever checking back and don’t attempt to spend a few hundred dollars for an on-hold phone system (The Original On Hold Company, www.omghq.com) then it will won’t matter. Those experiences will define your brand to your potential customers and you will feel that pain in a few years.

Next I visited a client to see how the experience was in-store. This was a Jewelry store with a few locations. No-one at this particular location knows me so I figured I‘d get the normal treatment. This particular client told me in prior conversations that “I don’t think the advertising is working”. I always get a kick out of clients telling me this, WHY, because most have no idea. I ran a decent size local retail store for 10 years. We did every type of advertising available, I knew my marketing mix was working due to the increase in traffic and sales around our flights. But I never had proof that our cable, radio or magazine ads weren’t specifically working. It’s just too hard to gauge that for most retail businesses. OK, back to the jewelry store, I was actually in the market for a gift for my wife. I was dressed nice and I had my wife and kids with me. My wife looked at 3-4 rings and found the one she wanted. We got the price ($2,500) and I even TOOK A PICTURE of the ring with my apple iphone (for a good sales person an easy sign I don‘t mind spending money). I even told the salesman, who I later found out was the GM of that store, this was so I could come back the next day and buy the correct ring. This is where their BRAND fell apart. The GM never asked for my name, phone number or any other contact information. He didn’t give me his card or try and set up a follow-up appointment. He didn’t offer some kind of discount or reason to closee me. How about some sense of urgency “There’s only 1 left” to try and close me. HE NEVER TRIED TO SELL ME. Consumers want to be sold, especially salesman like me. Again, it does not matter how slick your radio ad is, how great the newspaper coupon offer is, if your staff can’t sell then you just wasted your money.

So to recap we just talked about the following items:

1. Answering the Phone

2. Clear Speaking when talking on the phone

3. On-Hold Systems

4. Getting a prospects contact info

5. Setting up a appointment

6. Closing a retail customer

So many times business owners think about their advertising when they hear someone say “Brand”, but it’s much more than just advertising.   Stay tuned, each week I’m going to update this series with good and bad ways that companies Brands are being represented.

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