By Scott Seroka
Question: What’s the name of your favorite hotel?
Okay, now let’s assume you’re booking a trip, and that hotel has no rooms available. What’s your second favorite?
So, now you have your “shortlist” of your preferred hotels. Now think about all the hotel brands that didn’t come to your mind. They won’t get your business, and for them, that’s a problem.
Now suppose you need to rent a car. What’s your favorite rental car company? Let’s assume they have no cars available. What’s the name of the next company you would call?
Again, think of all those other companies that didn’t come to mind. They won’t get your business, and for them, that’s a problem.
You can play out these scenarios with any product or service – whether it’s a hotel, toothpaste, an attorney, or where you do your business banking.
In nearly every case, a very short list of brands will come to mind that you prefer over others. Conversely, you could easily think of quite a few brands you would avoid or never consider.
My point is that the very people you want as customers also have a shortlist of companies they prefer over others when they need the products and services you offer. Are you on that list?
The cold and brutal fact is that making a sale, winning a customer, or forming a relationship comes down to how people perceive your brand!
I’m going to share the eight steps you can take to elevate your brand and make that shortlist so that when people do need what you sell, your brand has a better chance of being one of the first to come to mind.
- Start by measuring the health of your culture through an internal culture assessment. Many times, low employee engagement, poor leadership, and low morale will keep any company from reaching its full potential and achieving greatness.
- Do a brand assessment among your employees, customers, and channel partners to gain insights into your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities from their perspectives. (Oh, what you will learn!)
- Start spying on your competitors. Know how you stack up against them, begin to understand why customers buy from them, and get to work on making your brand as relevant as possible to win more business. Here’s a tough question: If you were on the other side of your desk, would you do business with your company?
- Answer this challenging question: If you were going to build a company that competes against you, how would you do it? How would it look? Write a two or three-page business plan and strategy. Once you’ve put some thought into this, you’ll know what to do.
- Invest heavily in your people through training. Not just technical, but training on leadership, communication, problem-solving, conflict-resolution, sales, marketing, branding, crisis communication, and any other training that better prepares them. When you do this, your company to be a force to reckon with. Some people say, “What if I train my people, and they leave?” My reply is always, “What if you don’t train them and they stay?”
- Become a visionary. Keep your fingers on the pulse on the trends in your business and industry and think in terms of your next big idea, even if you’re working on something right now that you believe will disrupt your industry or change the game. It’s a fact that you are only as good as your last idea, so think several steps ahead.
- Start courting top-tier people to be a part of your team and vision. It’s tough finding great people who will share your passion and determination to succeed. Network, have your people network, and be visible at trades shows and industry events. Focus on building awareness and build your company to be a natural habitat for top performers.
- Formalize and perfect your exit interview process. When done correctly, it is the best way to get candid feedback on the health of your culture. The healthier it is, the greater the chances of your success.
That’s enough for now. If you do these eight things, elevating your brand into greatness is guaranteed.
Of course, if you’d like some help getting started, let’s talk. Building great brands is what we do!