Is Your Brand a Split Personality?

“That company’s got a great personality,” said no customer ever. But they do take note of the qualities of “personality” that make up your brand. When these elements are in conflict, the messages get mixed, your image suffers and sales and retention reflect the scattershot approach to saying who you are.  

So, you know your brand is not your logo, right? That’s a design element that you want to keep professional and consistent in all uses. But it’s still just one thing that tells customers and prospects who you are.

Your brand is not the sign on your door or your slogan or how long you’ve been in business.

It’s not your unique selling proposition. Your USP is how you differentiate yourself from your competitor. It’s a distinction. Your brand is that distinction, and all of the above, and every other aspect of personality by which you become known.

In other words, how your customers see you is how they know you, and whether this image is your intention or not, that becomes your brand.

Just for example, you don’t want to be known as “fun to be around, but can’t count on them.” Or maybe you get a reputation for being quite pleasant when you’re there, though you tend to run a little late (not great). Or fairly reliable on easy stuff, but gets grumpy when under pressure (not so good either).

How about instead: Steady, dependable, thorough, favors quality products, presents self well, fan of neatness and keeps promises, and people see that a good reputation is important to you. That’d be a pretty good brand, wouldn’t you say?

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing says, “Marketing is getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you.” He adds, “Branding is the art of becoming knowable, likeable and trustable. Taken in that light, it’s not much of a stretch to see how the two are related yet separate. Every small business has a brand – either accidentally or intentionally, because it’s a lot like a personality – everyone has one, like it or not.”

He says that definition of brand involves all of these areas: “elements like a company name, logo, images, metaphors, colors, words, look and feel, dress, attitude, networks, consistency and vision.”

Contractors can work to build a brand of being knowable, likeable and trustable in areas like these:

Over-delivering on service. Go the extra mile. Especially considering that some service yahoos won’t even go an extra inch.

The only surprises are good surprises. Deliver a frugal wow to impress customers (freebies and nice touches that don’t cost you much but make a memorable impact). But don’t deliver unexpected add-ons to the bill or take shortcuts in service that causes problems later.

Be known for value, not cheapness. People like a great deal, but they trust quality more.

Present a consistent identity in your marketing messages. It doesn’t help to come off as a carnival barker in one ad, but promote high-value image in another. 

Present a consistent identity in signage, vehicle wraps – everything you do, say or display that represents your company.

Train techs and dispatchers for building your brand with every customer interaction. Everyone who comes in contact with customers speaks to them about your brand. Make sure it’s a message of courtesy and competence.

Branding isn’t just for the big boys. It’s for everyone. The folks out there might not say, “That company’s got a great personality.” But you’ll know you’re hitting the right balance when they say: “That company’s great. You should use them.”


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