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How To Kill A Brand In Less Than An Hour

April 24, 2012

You have all seen it happen and probably been a part of the slaughter. Maybe…even experienced it yourself. In fact, I bet you have and probably recently.

Imagine for a moment that you are having technology issues and your technology provider is a nationally known, heavily promoted competitor in the marketplace.

You chose them (over their competitors) for whatever features and benefits they seemed to offer at the time and the “promises” they made to you as a prospect. Promises such as ‘you, as our customer, are important to us’. ‘Whatever we do and offer is for you’. ‘We never take you for granted’. Blah, blah, blah.

Let’s start with the definition of a brand. The Brand Establishment sums it up best:

“A brand is a claim of distinction, supported by the evidence of performance.”

And the deal is – if you are a brand, don’t make promises your brand can’t keep or live up to. Don’t say one thing and do another, or nothing at all. Don’t put the authority and impact of your brand promise in the hands of your employees unless they are hired smartly, empowered, well trained, engaged and enthused.

And for goodness sake, do not put them in contact with your customers, unless they can represent all of these things. If they are not…

…guess what happens? They become brand assassins; capable of ruining – within an hour everything you have done (or not done) to build and develop your brand – by the way -your most important asset!

In Building The Brand-Driven Business by Scott Davis and Michael Dunn they quote a Visa EVP of brand marketing: “Our employees are our brand. Every single employee has a customer contact.”

Or they have the capacity to kill it. Dead. Done. Finito. Tainted.

I am not making this up. Just happened to me yesterday and I know it happens to you. Spent over an hour on the phone, transferred to wrong department – after wrong department – handled by less than professional ‘customer service people’, spent endless minutes listening to on-hold messages and spent time with people who didn’t know how to help me or were in the ‘wrong’ department. Fed the wrong information, then corrected by the next knucklehead, then re-transferred again to another equally unqualified knucklehead.

I don’t care how big your company is or how small your marketing budget. Don’t waste another dollar on jingles, ads, tweets, posts, commercials, PR or anything else until you get it together internally. You don’t build a brand with marketing but not delivering the promise sure can kill it.

You build a brand from the inside out and your most important ambassadors are your employees. Make sure they can deliver the promises you make.
– By Tom Traynor

About The Brand Establishment

The Brand Establishment perfected the first contemporary brand development process specifically for small to mid-sized advertisers more than two decades ago. These tools and procedures have been utilized by companies in virtually every business sector – hundreds of times.