“With any brand that you frequent, that you’re fond of, or that you use, there’s been a journey of some type,” says Kurt Bartolich, the founder of GUTS Branding, and the author of the brand conservancy book it is possible to ’t Ride Two Horses With One Ass.
Whether your business offers an active (Build-A-Bear) or passive (Southwest Airlines) customer experience, there are some basic branding truths that successful companies observe.
Unfortunately, many businesses build their customer experiences backward and take people on a less than perfect journey.
When most business people think about a new or about branding, brand building is thought about by them. However there’s a relationship between brand, experience, and journey which ’s easy to lose sight of.
Kurt’s an expert in brand research advertising research, and brand conservancy; he ll help show us the way to customer experience by means of a brand filter.
When You Take Care of Your Brand, It’ll Take Care of You and Your Organization
Hear the Whole conversation with Kurt Bartolich here …
Set Yourself Apart
Most professional have an answer to the query “What is a brand? ” However there are nearly as many answers as there are people you ask.
But the number one thing that customers stated when asked to specify a brand involved a covenant of trust.
How trust is built by you is delivering upon this expectation and through consistency.
“You know, the old saying,’perception is the fact,’ right?” asks Bartolich. “If I’ve got a new client I always ask them,’what’s your definition of a brand?’ So many companies are fairly consistent internally when I speak about this, but their actions speak otherwise.”
Kurt defines trust as the reason that someone chooses your business, organization, products, or services over any other option though trust is an important part of a brand is defined today. That’s intrinsically connected to the experience that you create.
If you clarify and are able to define that experience, that’s a pretty good definition of your brand.
Kurt explains the connections between trust, brand, and experience in this short video clip …
Perception is Everything
Many companies ask:
- What do people like about us?
- What’s unique about us?
- What are we doing really well?
- How are we known?
- How are we differentiated?
- What is our distinctive value?
Excellent brand research isn’t about opinions on logos and slogans. It’s frozen in the psychological gap between what your organization wants to be and what your customers need you to be. It s about knowing what psychological gaps you can occupy or what perceptive gaps can you shut.
“Let me give you an actual example,” says Bartolich. “I worked in biomedical research doing new positioning. The organization wanted to cure cancer, heart disease, all these different things. This is goal and a wonderful vision, but it ’ s not realistic. So I asked the CEO,’When’s the previous disease we cured?’ Plus it was polio in the 1950s.
“We went out and spoke to their consumers, asking why they supported biomedical research. They weren’t the Pollyanna reasons like cancer cures. They wanted. It’s that type of a disconnect I see far too often.”
Understanding those gaps you see yourself versus how prospects and your consumers see you, can help bridge tactics and strategies to cover them.
Many companies and associations either don’t embrace research, take an inside viewpoint, or they do the research themselves. This is sort of like diagnosing your illnesses or doing your financial planning. You need experts to perform this work.
Safeguard Your Core
Another thing businesses often overlook is the importance of protecting their core. Far too many brands expand too fast. They don’t have any guardrails in place that help protect that new.
Finally the brand is owned by the consumer because they re going to specify how they perceive it. Think that is setting themselves up for failure.
Walmart founder Sam Walton once said,”The only person who can fire me is my client .” Every brand needs to locate a way to continue to grow and to keep relevant and to participate.
Taking a Conservancy Mindset
You need to keep to your customers perceive your brand, your brand true.
For instance, for several years Olive Garden kept expanding its menu. It got bigger and bigger and it kept building and building and lost its way. The first thing he did was return to the basics, when the new CEO took over. He shrank down their menu to great sauce pasta, and meat that was great.
Doesn ’t mean you’re not moving. In actuality, in a world in which we have so many brands and so many categories, with new ones emerging daily, it’s better to keep it focused and go deeper with your brand, not wider.
There’another aspect to brain conservancy. It’s about protecting authenticity.
A lot of brands think that mass accessibility equals mass consumption. And that’s not necessarily true. Sometimes creating a mystique is a really effective tool to creating a brand.
Branding That is”Just Plane Smart”
Bartolich dares anyone to argue that Southwest Airlines isn’t a brand. “They don’t nickel and dime you. They take themselves seriously, but they poke fun. They create a wonderful end-to-end experience.
“A colleague of mine was on a Southwest flight. The flight attendant got on the PA and said,’We have a woman celebrating her fifth birthday. We don’t have a cake on board, but you can help her blow out her candles’ She had everyone turn on their overhead reading light, and then all the cabin lights dimmed. They brought up the birthday girl to the front of the plane and had her’blow out the candles’ Every person turned off their lights as she blew.
“They’re the hero airline. That’s how I define their brand.”
Bartolich recommends you read Southwest established that experience, how they have done it in a very authentic way, and operationalize it. “They are a great case study.”
To hear this episode, and many more like it, please subscribe to The Customer Experience Podcast.
You can listen to episodes if you do not use Apple Podcasts or iTunes:
Coming Soon To The Customer Experience Podcast
- Branding expert David Brier
- Customer experience experts like Joey Coleman (Never Lose a Client Again) and David Avrin (Why Customers Leave)
- Customer Success professional Nick Hart (Outreach.io)
- Marketing leader Samantha Stone (Unleash Possible)
- Revenue leaders such as Jeremy Donovan (SalesLoft) and Charles Green (Trusted Advisor)
Podcast guest recommendations or questions? Email: Ethan in BombBomb dot com
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