OK, we want to be consistent in our small business marketing message. How?
First, we must seek out the dissonance in our advertising message. Nails screeching across a chalkboard in a quiet classroom or the squeal of brakes in the middle of a residential neighborhood are obvious and startling types of dissonance.
It’s easy to see obvious violations of your company’s brand. Many big corporations rightly focus on the company logo as the ultimate visual representation of the brand. Any errors or distortions of the company logo are quickly spotted and corrected. So critical is the logo to many large corporations that they have legal counsel quickly and firmly contact any parties that are misusing the logo in any way.
For a small business, the signage displayed on the storefront and within the store is typically the equivalent of a corporate logo. Very few small businesses have really recognizable logos that are their own. They commonly have a piece of clip art placed next to a distinctive font that bears the company name, and that is about as close to a corporate logo that any of them get.
And you know what? It is usually enough.
Because for most small business, it is not the logo or the signage that is the brand. At its best, a logo merely calls to mind the brand. It is not the brand itself. A logo, like any other symbol, is completely neutral in meaning without being placed in the proper context.
So, if the signage in your store in straight and properly fixed and doesn’t need painted and there are no bulbs burned out in any of your flashing signs, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and look for instances where you are really whispering to your customer something that is in direct conflict with what your brand stands for.
Here we aren’t looking for that nails-on-chalkboard obvious violation, but the small, discreet nail in the tire of your car that. You know that nail; when you pull out of the driveway you don’t even notice it and then, ten miles down the road, you are sitting there stranded with a flat.
When hunting for the dissonance in your brand, it’s best to start small. Begin with the little things your customers–and staff–see every day. Let’s start with your receipt.
Most business gives out some type of receipt. Does yours thank the customer? Does it have your phone number or store location? How about your logo? Your website address? Is it something you are proud of, utilitarian as it is? Pack as much useful information on your receipt as is prudent, because it is a little whisper to the customer that you care enough about them to make your relevant info available and at their fingertips should they need it.
For most customers, that receipt turns into a scrap of paper very quickly; but for those few that need the information, even if it’s just your phone number, that receipt can be a life saver.
Start with the little, mundane items like receipts, and just look for anyplace where you aren’t reinforcing the brand message you want your customer to hear.
Remember: Brand (who you are) + Package (your Face to the Customer) + People (customers and employees) = Marketing Success.
© 2006 Marketing Hawks