Saturday, August 13, 2011

Build your Business with a Brand Update Strategy

Summer, finally! For many businesses, summer is the ideal time to get ready for fall. September is too late. Back-to-school is back to normal for so many of your customers. Holidays are over. Routine replaces freewheeling. Unless your business is seasonal, then your sales cycle should be swinging to the high point of your year as fall becomes Christmas.
What is brand? Great question! Brand is reputation. It develops at those crucial moments in the relationship between you and your customers where they judge your worth or your value in the transaction. It’s the customer experience that builds or destroys customer loyalty. How you touch your customers will determine if they walk away satisfied - will they recommend your business or service to their friends? Will they help you build your business? Risk or reward Are your products or services the best they can be? No amount of marketing, no amount of staff training will mean a thing if you don’t have what the customer wants in your category. Always remember, in the Internet world, an unhappy customer can damage your brand reputation with the click of a mouse by sending an e-mail to a friend or by posting negative comments to their Twitter and Facebook communities. What now The business has had success in the past, but now you want to grow for the future. The responsibility falls on the business owner to invest in the time required to work on the business. Are you focused? Are you ready to do what’s necessary to grow your business? In a previous post, we discussed your 10 Point Communications Strategy. Your updated or new website will soon launch. You have learned to blog. Your newsletter strategy is in place and your business profiles on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are polished. So take the time now to update the rest of your Brand strategy. The in-store experience - a check list
  • Does the paint on the walls appear tired, discoloured, chipped, faded or out of date? Does the colour compliment the display of your products?
  • Inspect the door frames, baseboards and window sills for signs of wear, excessive dirt or mould.
  • Inspect all counter tops, shelving and display cases for chips, cracks, glue or sticker residue.
  • What about your washroom or washrooms? Whether for staff only or available to the public, have you made all necessary repairs?
  • Is your furniture in good shape or does it need to be replaced?
  • What about your lay-out? Is there logic and flow to the placement of furniture and the efficient use of space? Remove clutter.
  • How good is your lighting?
  • Is your window display inviting? Does it represent the essence of your business?
  • Is your place of business pleasing to the senses? Visual, smell, and, don’t forget, the ear?
  • If you play music or have some sort of digital display with TV capability, who controls what the customer hears or sees, you or your staff? Be sure the customer experience is the first consideration in every audio or video decision.
  • Are all signs and point-of-sale items up to date? Is your technology reliable and in good working order?
Staff training – a check list
  • Have you identified and addressed any personnel issues? In other words, do your staff members take care of your business the way you want it done? When was the last time you reviewed your sales system with staff? Do they know what to do and when to do it? Are they good at problem solving? How are their sales closing skills?
  • How good is their product knowledge, are they able to easily answer questions, discuss key properties of each product?
  • Are required documents and forms up to date, are supplies ordered and does staff know how and why they are important?
  • Are all staff members comfortable with your technology?
  • Dress code: do you demand a certain look from each employee? Do you have compliance? Does your dress code include shoes, their cleanliness and state of repair?
  • Do those who require business cards have a supply?
  • How do you want your phone answered? Does each staff member know the drill?
  • How do you want your customers greeted? Does each staff member know the routine, or does that part-time kid on the weekend still call your customers "dude"?
  • When customers have questions, in person or by phone, how do you ensure the proper follow up?
  • Is there a smile in every transaction?
Every one of the items on the above check lists can be adapted to any business setting. As a business owner it is vital to pay attention to every detail because your customers do. The old adage speaks to the impossible task of pleasing all of the people all of the time: can’t be done! However, you can reduce the risk of losing a customer with a focused Brand Strategy. The Floodlight Business Solutions Group is here to help you Build Your Business. This article is contributed by Ted Farr - Floodlight Business Consultant Ted Farr Communication Specialist Floodlight – Build Your Business Kelowna – Ottawa – Kingston – Toronto 1-888-768-9415

Kelowna Business Coach - Branding Consultant - FloodLight Canada