Stand by Your Brand
By Janet Winters
Challenging economic times require running a tight ship. Now is the time to really take a hard look at your brand and the tenants that led to its development. Ask yourself... Is our brand message being delivered consistently throughout every communications vehicle and touch point? Advertising, PR, on-line? Collateral materials, brochures, website, incentive items? Perhaps it’s time for a communications audit?
How is your brand being communicated throughout your facility? Your personnel? Is the experience that you are delivering living up to your brand’s promise? If not, it is the fastest way to loose a customer.
Case in point; I just returned from visiting my cousin. She recently took a vacation trip with her husband to Hawaii for their 10th anniversary. They stayed in two different hotels, both owned by the same lodging group.
Now, my cousin’s husband is in international business and travels extensively. He always stays with this group because of the great locations, beautiful environment, and excellent service. He also belongs to the “rewards club” and likes collecting points that he can use for leisure travel.
Needless to say, the 10th anniversary was a biggie. They looked forward to a romantic get-a-way and expected no less from their favorite hotel brand. The hotel on island number one was a great success. Beautiful room, great view, attentive service, fabulous restaurant…everything they had come to expect. The hotel on island number two was a different story. Dank room with view of air conditioning units, bad food and employees that looked like thugs loitering in the common spaces, apparently on perpetual break.
They were of course shocked and disappointed. They learned that this property was recently purchased by their favorite group, but unfortunately no upgrades were made before it flew under the group brand’s banner.
Although this experience detracted form the trip, my cousin was willing to give the company an opportunity to redeem themselves. She e-mailed customer service, informed them about their disappointing experience, and requested compensation in the form of reinstating their points. Reasonable? I think so. The company said that they would respond within three business days. As of our discussion, that deadline had passed, and she still hadn’t heard back.
Wow! What an inexcusable way to loose a loyal and frequent customer. Your brand is more than a logo and a positioning statement…it is a promise. A promise to be delivered on from everyone from the CEO to the janitor. You, as marketing executives, need to be the keepers of the brand. It will be what sustains you in good times and bad.