What is a brand?
Your brand is your reputation; it is the way a customer feels in response to their experience of you. It can be a powerful catalyst for growth, or the cause of poor results.
Your brand not only influences whether someone becomes a repeat customer, it also determines what they say about you to their friends. It is because of this that your brand is your single most important business asset.
‘Brand’ simply comes down to the product experience. Did you deliver what you promised? Did it exceed expectations? Did it go above and beyond them? Was something off, and the customer had a negative experience.
You cannot please everyone. Your brand will never be for everyone. You must choose the values, personality and vision for your business, and demonstrate them in every interaction a customer has.
The most important factor to consider is that you can only ever influence your brand, not control it. This is where brand story comes into play: intentionally choosing the identity and message you are telling customers, and the steps taken to ensure excellent customer service.
Your brand = customer experience
It is easy to say your brand equals the customer experience, but how do you measure what that experience is? The customer experience essentially comes down to 4 areas:
Customer experience = resonance with identity + clarity of the message + delivery of promises + human connection
Do the values and culture resonate?
Were you easy to understand?
Did you deliver what you promised?
How were they treated?
Failure to deliver a positive experience in any of these areas will result in a customer having a bad experience. Ultimately a lost customer is not your biggest problem; what is damaging is that customer telling others about their experience, and potential customers creating an impression of your brand before you have been able to influence anything.