Building your firm’s brand: Easier said than done

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Marketers like to use the word “brand” and “brand building” because it is the branding process that (at least in theory) demonstrates marketing’s value.

The “brand value” relates to the intrinsic trust you’ve earned and which — done right — extends both to current and potential clients. A great brand means potential clients will be much less resistant to changing their current suppliers to do business with you, or if they have an occasional or new need, will most likely think about you when they are making their initial choices. And, by its very nature, a great brand equals incredibly good client retention.

Mel Lester’s article in AE-Resource inspired this blog post and is worthy to read in its own right.

The challenge of course is that while marketing associates with branding, brand success requires you to have earned the trust and respect. In the most extreme (and most overworked) brand tag line: “We offer great customer service), your brand is worthless if the substance behind the tag line is not consistently truthful. And, of course, when it comes to something like customer service, it isn’t what you think about your service level — it is what your customers actually think.

Alas, of course, great efforts can blow apart with a single dumb move; or perhaps the uncovering of some old and unwelcome skeletons in your business closet.  If for example, one of your employees is charged in a bribery scandal, your entire business/brand will be tarnished — even divisions and people who had nothing to do with the ill-deeds.

These observations explain why really successful marketing arises not from some external or “marketing department” processes, but reflects the true core values and behaviors of your organization and employees. And, it explains why brand building is not a quick process. Yes, you can “win” some publicity coups and achieve recognition through awards and commendations, but these need to be earned, and they won’t happen without lots of consistent and integrity-laden effort.

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