There’s a common misconception out there when it comes to a company’s identity – also known as its “brand.” And it’s this: companies often believe that they determine how their company is branded.
They write a mission statement, come up with a slogan and – boom – there’s the beginning of their brand. They flesh it out with some pithy core values, a logo, and maybe a few brand colors for consistency. They slap the logo on a website and maybe on some button-down shirts and call it “branded.”
But the truth of the matter is that companies don’t create their own brand. Their customers do. Because a “brand” is not the image a company projects to the world, but what their customers (or those who aren’t their customers) believe about it. When it comes to a company’s brand, perception is everything.
Smart leaders, seasoned leaders, are aware of this and – instead of leaving branding to the Marketing department – deal with it in the Customer Service department. At the Network Support Company, we believe that there’s a direct connection between our employees, our customers and our results … and it goes like this:
According to concepts Steve Yastrow outlines in his book “We: The Ideal Customer Relationship,” what an employee believes about our company will affect his/her actions… which are enacted in every interaction between that employee and a customer … which then affects the customer’s belief … and leads to his/her actions regarding whether we retain their business.
So therefore every employee on our team must have certain beliefs, too; the first being “I make a difference.” When an employee believes that he or she adds value to a team and has the capability to contribute to its overall mission, it shows in their actions when they’re working with a customer. And then that affects customers, in that they believe what we say about us too!
In any interaction with a customer, there can be only one of three outcomes – the relationship gets worse, the relationship stays the same, or the relationship gets better.
Our goal, every time, is for the relationship between employee and customer to get better.
When that happens, the internal branding (who we say we are) and the external branding (who our customers say we are) comes into alignment. It’s true: brand identity is created in the customer service department, not the marketing department.