Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your branding
Everybody knows the value of great branding and how a brand is perceived can influence habits from buying and trust to active avoidance and mistrust.
There are countless examples of poorly executed branding all around us at any given moment and these tend to stand out from the great ones.
This is important as people tend to remember negative experiences more than positive ones concerning service and perception.
Great branding should almost be subliminal and certainly subtle – it should instil trust and positive equity in consumers minds without them consciously thinking of it.
Poor branding practice can be jarring as it can hit the customer or potential customer at an emotional level.
They would assume the position of “I’m not buying from them” even if they are not in the market for the goods or services at the time.
The negative perception can be more damaging and wider ranging than most people at those companies would think.
Huge brands like Coca Cola, Nike, Apple, Omega and Gucci are well versed in the optics of negative perception and the financial hit they would take should this negative emotional attachment persist.
They can employ PR firms and launch positive advertising/branding messages and communication mixes to counter the negative either changing the conversation or capitalising on reversing the position.
This solution is not always available to smaller firms even if they know they have a negative perception issue at hand.
Advertising and branding should be considered separate elements as the former is the message pushed out by the company to encourage active engagement resulting in increased sales.
Branding is the lower level message which is designed to re-enforce the consumer their choice in buying the product or service is the correct one.
It’s subtler yet is arguably much more important than the overt advertising as this branding message can permeate at a deeper level, a subconscious level which is the desired destination.
Think of brands like Nike, Omega Watches, Gucci, Coca cola and Apple what are the emotional associations with each one?
Value? Trust? Awareness? Aspirational?
Maybe you have some of their products or would consider them when you are looking for a new phones, watch, trainers, phone, fragrance or drink.
This is not by accident and they have each spent billions on acquiring the positive association even though some of them have been linked with extremely damaging stories and exposés which could have closed many other brands overnight.
They sponsor key events around the world as well as ensuring each agent and front-line operation is on point with branding guidelines.
This will apply to uniforms, vehicles, packaging, shop floor, decorations and all customer facing operations.
They will counter any deviation in these aspects quickly to avoid any unwanted negative associations at the lower levels.
They act overall from top to bottom consciously and conscientiously.
Great branding is more cost effective than poor perception
Let’s narrow the application down to SME’s which are more prone to negative branding if they don’t keep a keen eye on the issues at hand.
Discounting the issues raised from aspects outside of their control, negative associations, socio-economic impacts and abrupt changes to buying habits we should look at aspect within a company’s purview.
Most SME’s are good at pushing their message as to how they wish to be perceived however this can be undone by the lower level operations which may be seen as less important or worse they are unseen by the higher ups.
Negative branding can be as simple as failing to repair damaged vehicle graphics, not cleaning the vehicles, wearing damaged clothing, dirty branded garments, or selecting noticeably “cheap” products as part of branding giveaways.
Brand equity which is expensive to acquire can be undermined in seconds.
Get a quote on great vehicle wraps and decals
How many vehicles do you see on the daily commute which look uncared for? The decals and vehicle wraps look worn, ripped or damaged?
What does this say about the company whose vehicles are in this state?
Do they care? What goes on behind the scenes if this is the way they present themselves to the public?
We aren’t talking about nit picking here, we all know what wear and tear can look like and after bad weather all vehicles will need a good wash.
There is no way you would say to yourself that those companies are great – they may well be fantastic but the perception just from the look of their vehicle is going to be perceived in a negative way.
That’s a potential customer who will dismiss that company immediately based upon initial associations.
Luckily those negative associations will not last unless there are direct dealings with the company in question.
However, if the damaged vehicle is pulling into a customer’s site what will they think?
The slightest mis-step could quickly snowball into area’s no supplier wants to head into unawares.
From the customers perspective they want assurances that their suppliers are professional, competent and actually care about delivering a great level of service.
Maintaining vehicle’s decoration is as critical as the uniform and workwear each sales rep would wear going into meetings.
Would it be acceptable for an account manager to walk in with dirty clothes, un-ironed shirt and trainers?
If you are reading this and think that I’m over cooking things here, then this message is probably not for you.
If you are reading it and thinking yes but its expensive to keep repairing vehicle graphics and wraps. Is it? How much value is your brand and company worth?
Can you afford for your customers to start thinking you don’t care?
In reality vehicle wrapping is cost effective if done correctly first time around and assuming the vehicle is treated well the graphics can last a significant amount of time.
Branding is more than utilising social media to push the preferred message of how great your company can be.
There is a biblical message I’ll paraphrase - “I know you by your actions” we are all great talkers and every company out there will tell everyone how great they are but it’s the walk that actually counts.
How does the company present itself to its customers and potential customers?
Don’t make the classic mistake that people wont judge you by the way you look, they will!
Call BHI Workwear today to ensure your vehicle wraps, uniforms and workwear are all professionally produced and maintained.