Brands we love vs. brands we hate. It’s an endless battle.
“A brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.” Seth Godin
After all, there are brands we as consumers absolutely love.
And there are brands we as consumers can’t stand.
So what’s the difference between those we admire versus the ones we despise?
And is there something we can do to monitor the course our brand is taking in this battle between love and hate?
Here are some ideas.
Brands We Love: Too Busy to See
When brands get too big and busy with day-to-day demands, they often end up with observations that are too removed to be useful.
An example is the term “brand value” which too often has become one of those questionable metrics watched by remote management personnel. This becomes an exercise in measuring what is, at best, ambiguously defined. To some, it’s revenue; to others it’s a vague metric of consumer loyalty while to others it’s “how many hashtags mentions/followers/likes we got this week”….
This question of brand value is a brand metric that equally arises in customer service as a brand metric. A key part of any brand is the human side and the use of the brand to either fortify the brand’s meaning or turn it into empty hype, which nobody loves or values.
To help isolate what’s useful for a brand to monitor its value, let’s look at customer service as a brand’s frontrunner since this helps us “see” how a brand really adds value, up close and personal.
It is, after all, the difference between the brands we love and the ones we hate.
Above we see brands (and categories) that are loved have three key building blocks:
- Expectation, and
Such a brand routinely offers useful help to its customer.
Such a brand has a defined expectation, of both employee performance meeting the expectations of its customers.
Lastly, this brand observes (to remain connected) informed and responsive.
These all allow for three more qualities: anticipation, initiative and insight.
Armed with these, a brand elevates to being a brand we Love and Value.
To understand this better, the accompanying diagram below shows what happens when these factors are absent.
Above we see a brand that’s not liked or valued exhibits three key qualities:
- Lack of help,
- No defined expectation, and
- A failure to observe (or even to possess enough interest to care).
The resulting qualities are lack of anticipation of customers’ needs, no initiative on the part of the company or its employees, and zero insight into what’s needed, whether it is stated by the customer or not.
Assess Your Brand
To help remove the impersonal aspect and give each of us something we can control, try this for one week. Have your personnel assess the following points (and you can ask this of your brand as well):
- How many people (i.e., customers, clients and prospects) have I helped in some way today?
- How many bits of useful information have I gotten into the hands of those I came in contact with?
- How many thank you’s have I given out to colleagues, peers, clients and vendors?
- How many expectations have I exceeded today?
- How many face-to-face acknowledgements have I given to those who have helped me as well as those I rely on to get things done?
You can tally this daily or weekly, but either way, do this, and you’ll find your focus is on the things you can control and monitor.
And by doing those, the other points come into play that add to satisfaction, value, growth, consumer confidence, authority and brand excellence.
With the above in place, having a great visual brand identity with a compelling brand vocabulary (e.g., image, design, packaging, etc.) will do its job of being legitimate and authentic (versus merely sugar-coating some pretense or compromised customer experience).