Earlier this month we discussed a Zappos.com blog post from 2010 titled “Your Culture Is Your Brand.” (You can find our blog post about it here.) In addition to pointing out how strengthening your company culture can seriously strengthen your brand, the Zappos.com blog post made some interesting points about how building a company brand today is vastly different from ever before.
According to the article, marketing is very different today from how it was in decades past because now, you cannot possibly anticipate every single contact point that a customer might have with your company.
With the rise of social media, for example, a disgruntled customer can easily blog about a bad experience with a company, and then that article can go viral all across the web. Or, a customer might meet an employee at your company in a bar, and the experience that that customer has with the employee ends up shaping the customer’s perception of your company as a whole. In a world that is so strongly connected and so vastly networked, you cannot possibly have complete control over how people perceive your brand.
How do you as the company, then, strengthen your brand, even on those occasions when you are not in direct control of the customer-company contact point? From the Zappos.com blog post, we’ve pinpointed two ways: 1) quality customer service, and 2) a strong set of company values.
Quality customer service
Customer service is essential for any company because it is what your customers say about you to their peers. It’s what they’ll say about you when you’re not around, and it is often also what they’ll broadcast right there on your social media pages. Sure, you’re not in direct control of what your customers say about you after you have done business with them, but you are in control of the experience they have when they are doing business with you. And ultimately it is this experience that will determine what they say about you in the long run. So if you want your customers to have a lasting good impression of you—and to become self-proclaimed promoters of your brand—extend high quality customer service to leave them with a positive, memorable experience.
Strong company values
If you read our other blog post about the phrase “your culture is your brand,” then you may be able to infer how strong company values factor into the picture. Strong company values unite employees and motivate them to do their best work. Strong company values also lend a company a stronger identity. Apple, for example, strongly values cutting edge innovation and high quality. Everything the company does, including who it hires, is centered around these values. This gives Apple an overall identity that shouts “innovation” and “quality.” So when people think of Apple as a company, they think of these words. Having strong company values that customers can link to a company’s identity is especially important because even when a customer has a bad experience doing business with a company, they still might support the company if they know that the company’s underlying values coincide with their own.