Friday, August 22, 2008
Protecting Your Brand
Have you ever driven down the street and seen litter on the ground along the road? How about knee-high weeds or grass around a home or business? Shopping carts out of place across parking lots in retail centers? People walking around holding up homemade signs promoting a business?
What about a terrible graphic or logo, pixelated images, or sub-par printing materials used to promote a church, business, or event?
How do these things make you feel? Are you more likely or less likely to frequent these places or events when you encounter any of the items mentioned above? Almost certainly, these things produce a negative impression.
There is a business here that is a local franchise of very successful regional restaurant chain. Recently, the restaurant hired a couple young guys to walk up and down the sidewalk along a busy highway with a sign held over their heads. The sign includes the restaurant logo and an arrow pointing in the direction of the restaurant. This is a restaurant that has been here for several years on a relatively busy highway. The people driving by can clearly see the restaurant - it's only about 50 yards off the road, and it stands alone.
Further, the guys holding the signs often look poorly groomed, and many times are sitting in a tailgating chair with a cap down over their eyes, with the sign resting on their lap.
So, the question is: WHY would a restaurant that is clearly visible from the road - AND has big-time brand name recognition - hire people to walk the streets with signs?
The short answer is that they don't realize what this is doing to the way people view their brand - and more specifically, their local franchise.
When I see this, I see a restaurant that appears desperate. I also see one that is trying to cut corners by simply having a warm body hold up a sign, rather than sinking their marketing dollars into community events, in-store promotions, and sponsorships that reach outside the walls of their establishment.
There are other businesses and organizations that do other things that repel customers. Things that may not be obvious, and things that may not be intentional. But, rest assured, people do notice when you compromise your brand by being lazy or selfish.
In a nutshell, great organizations genuinely care more about the people they are serving than themselves, and it's evident. So, with that in mind, take a closer look at your situation - whether it's your work, your church, your neighborhood, or even your own home. What impression would someone have if they walked in? Would they return for a second visit, or would once be enough?
Care enough about yourself and your organization to do the extra leg-work to ensure that others have a favorable - and lasting - first impression.