A new business owner once asked me how VistaComm successfully built its brand. Admittedly, lot of work goes into marketing and communicating your promise—a.k.a. your brand. That’s because a business that is trying to brand itself is never in direct control of how that brand is perceived. Instead, it’s the perceptions of your customers and prospects that create your actual brand.
That’s why your business practices and ethics hold a critical place in the brand discussion. In the end, those two elements alone can make or break your brand. Every aspect of your brand’s identity, including your employees’ behavior—at work, on the way to and from work, or even outside of business hours—has the potential to build or damage your brand. That’s particularly true if you do business in smaller communities.
The question is, how do you control and leverage these elements? While the answer can be elusive and vulnerable to subjective personal perception, good deeds generally go a long way in establishing positive brand perception.
Many of our clients, by virtue of their location in smaller communities, tend to understand the importance of brand reinforcement through community involvement. One example in particular comes to mind. Following the first earthquake that devastated Haiti several years ago, one of our cooperative clients enlisted community partners and organized a shoe drive. Grain wagons were filled with new and used shoes, ultimately generating 12,000 pairs for the relief effort—as well as substantial goodwill and good press.
Building brands encompasses everything that affects the emotional tie between your brand and your customers. The generation now moving into leadership places much more value on words when they are backed by action. Experience shows time and again that the most effective way to build brands is to combine traditional communication forms with alternative channels. You say you’re a vital part of my community? Show me.
A brand idea
Just imagine a company that includes in its employee policy a statement that declares an expectation that every employee do at least one good thing for his or her fellow citizens every week. Would it cost a fortune? Not likely. But it would almost certainly generate some fascinating brand stories—and considerable good will.
The more personal the stories associated with your brand, the more alive your brand becomes. Brands are not unlike people: They reflect opinions, have their individual and often distinctive appearances, possess a unique and consistent tone of voice, and express a point of view on life. Personal ties with your brand are the foundation of loyal relationships between you and your customers.
To boil it down: Good people plus good practices equals a good brand promise.
Get your story out to those who have purchased or may purchase your products and services. Help them understand why choosing you makes a difference. If you’re not sure how to get started, that’s where VistaComm comes in. Let’s work together to build your brand and strengthen your customer relationships.