What’s in a name? Your brand- and your brand should mean profit! Over the years I have made a point to push for excellence within my team. I know that everybody would like to make this statement, but few really implement a structure that will hold up to the test of time. In previous Blogs I have touched on the difference between stores that truly put the customer first and those that put the price first. One thing I can say without exception is that if your sole focus is to be the lowest price, you will never build a brand name for quality.
I am not knocking anyone that focuses on being the cheapest option; in fact that is their brand. There is a place for these products and services. However, it is a blood-bath market place to compete in, and not for the faint of heart. I have spent my career building a brand based on quality that will carry on for years after I have dropped out of the race.
So why do I focus on a brand of quality? As I said before, profit! People are willing to pay for quality and there is much less competition offering true quality service. If customers were not willing to pay for quality, places like Nordstrom’s and Best Buy would not have any customers. People know when they go to these places they will be treated with great customer service and assisted by knowledgeable staff.
Once more, think about cameras, clothing, watches, etc… If people only cared about price then Nikon, Halston, and Rolex would have no sales. Why would people be willing to pay more? because of the brand. Consumers know that if they buy a Rolex they are getting the best made watch available. Yes it costs much more than an average watch, a lot more! But it also costs a lot more to produce. However, consumers who appreciate real craftsmanship and quality are willing to pay the extra money.
I use this example in my training to get across the point that we want to be the company that everyone else aspires to emulate. We want to be known for true craftsmanship and quality. This starts with an extremely strong process, training, and a continued improvement plan. We are constantly setting the bar higher and higher. We are never complacent and always finding new ways to offer better value to our customers. That is what it is all about, value! You can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars building a brand, but if there is no real value, you will not last long.
So building a brand means a complete dedication from yourself and your team, it requires total ‘buy in’ at every level. You need to take the time to understand your market, know where the gaps are and build your brand to fill those gaps. It may have nothing to do with quality (even though that is part of what you strive for) it may be about speed of service, availability, ease of use, etc… Only after a solid market analysis can you determine what branding message would be the most profitable and fit with your core values. Once you have developed what your brand message is, you need to build the structure to support that message and adhere to it. Under no circumstances can you make an exception or waiver off from the original message. It is easy to get off track when the market changes or the economy shrinks. However, you must stay true to your brand, even under the worst of circumstances.
Don’t get confused with a mission statement. A mission statement is not a brand. Most companies write a mission statement, get everyone to sign it, and then hang it on a wall to collect dust. A mission statement is just that, a statement. While in many cases a mission statement may be a rough outline of what you want your brand message or core principles to be, a brand is a way of life. It is something you live every day. A true brand message has structure and process built around it to ensure that it is being carried out to every customer or product, everyday.
You also need to continually touch on that message with your team. One piece of training at orientation will not support a true brand. Your message has to be spoken multiple times a day, and your team needs to have continued training as well as periodic inspections to ensure that the brand message is always at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
As I said, a true brand is a culture. It is a way of life for you and your team that if followed, will bring not only profits through the door, but it will also help in maintaining a harmonious work environment, because everyone understands what their mission is and how to get it accomplished.
So the answer to the question: “what’s in a name?”- is simple! It is what people think of when they hear your name. When you hear the name Rolex you think of gold, quality, precision, etc…, when you hear the name McDonalds, most people think of the golden arches or golden french fries, when you hear the name Toyota you think of value and dependability. So what will people think of when they say your name? If you have an answer to that question, you have taken your first step to building your brand!