November & December theme:
“Choose One Thing”
Posted in :  Brain Waves

We often talk about brand loyalty in terms of customers and how likely they are to buy our brand in the face of other choices. Not much gets said about the other side of loyalty in the equation . . . yours.

When my girls were young I was acutely aware of how I acted in front of them. When I slipped up – maybe in a moment of distraction or frustration – maybe gave a not-so-friendly wave to some incompetent driver – you can be sure it came back to haunt me.

The same holds true for your customers. Whatever they perceive or experience you doing will affect their behavior. If they keep getting the unbiased advice, free checking, sparkling decor, fresh vegetables, durable construction and exceptional customer service you have led them to expect, there’s a good chance they will reward you by sticking around. Make choices for your brand that break the expectations you’ve set – sales pitch, new fees, dirty bathroom grout, waxy tomatoes, rusting joints, and excuses – and you’re telling customers that it’s all right for them to break their commitment to you.

So, in the midst of your just-trying-to-get-things-done workday, how do you stay true to your brand? If you can, hire for or assign the position of Brand Champion (a person who is given the authority to stand up for your brand). If that’s not in the cards, the only tried-and-true method we know is to be purposeful rather than reactive.

Spend 15 minutes at the start of each week thinking about how you will keep your brand at the forefront of the things you do and decisions you make.

1. Look at your meetings, responsibilities, looming fire drills, etc. and try to anticipate where brand-impacting decisions will need to be made and how you might make them.

2. Write these options down, keep them with you throughout the week, and add more as the week proceeds.

3. End your week reviewing what you have actually done – what do you think hurt your brand, what built it, what you didn’t anticipate and where you could use help.

4. Take what you learn and apply it to the coming week.

This is a routine you can do alone, with your team or even with another department. Make this part of your weekly routine and it will become second nature. Often, it will lead to new ideas about where and how to stay loyal – in word and deed.

One more note. All of this assumes that you know what your brand stands for and that the promise you are making is clear to your customers. If not, it’s time. If you’re not holding the rudder, your ship will go whichever way the wind is blowing.

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Posted by: Bruce Kaechele
Email the author: brucek@fathom.net