This is the first installment of a blog designed to provide practical branding tips for business professionals who might not have much experience in that area. So what better way to start than proclaiming that a company doesn’t even own its brand?
Think about what that means: Your customers own your brand. I realize how this might seem more disillusioning than liberating, but it isn’t meant to be.
Even in complex Business-to-Business (B2B) environments, it’s good to remember that customers are real live people who make purchasing decisions based on their perceptions of a brand. And those perceptions matter, because a brand is essentially whatever your customers perceive it to be. They might love it, they might hate it, or they might feel relatively ambivalent about it.
Put it this way…your child might think you’re a superhero even though all you really do is sit behind a desk and attend meetings all day long. Is your child wrong? No, if you’re a superhero in his mind, that’s all that counts.
Your customers are similar in how they perceive your brand. That’s why it’s critical to create positive brand experiences for them. If you’re not listening carefully and responding to your customers’ needs, you’re missing a great opportunity to strengthen your brand in the eyes of the people who have the most control over its future.
Unfortunately, in the B2B world, not all of us are close enough to our customers to witness their brand experiences firsthand. But even if you don’t interact directly with customers, you can still take steps to help them enjoy a positive brand experience:
Imagine the brand experience from your customers’ perspective
Think about how your role or activities might improve that experience
Try to replicate the positive brand experiences you’ve had in your own life
Control what you can control—and don’t waste time and resources on what you can’t control
In the next installment, we’ll focus on some practical ways to create positive brand experiences for your customers—and, perhaps more importantly, your potential customers.