Quit Your Job and Make Your Old Company Your First New Client

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Brian F. Martin, host of  Brand Connections Brand Fast-Trackers.

We talked about what makes a successful brand and many of the core tenets I learned from my 22+ years in branding, particularly my time working as VP of Brand for Virgin.

A few highlights that I expand on in the podcast:

  • A clear core promise is essential
  • Your brand is the product/experience you’re offering and must deliver on its promise
  • You need to embrace and learn from failure
  • Know your brand framework and stay true to who you are

We also talked about what it takes to leave your job and make the big leap from being an employee to being an entrepreneur. You may be surprised by what I said. Most people think they need to hide their aspirations of starting their own company from their boss until they are ready to hand in their resignation. My experience at Virgin was the exact opposite. I made my intentions clear months before I left Virgin and was able to walk out the door with my boss’ blessing and Virgin as one of my first clients for my new company BrandTwist.

You can read Kat Krieger’s summary of the interview and listen to or download the podcast at the Brand Connections website HERE.

The Power of “We” in Customer Service

Here’s a little anecdote from a shopping experience I had yesterday that shows how a subtle difference in language can really effect a brand experience.

My daughter broke her backpack and I went shopping for a new one. This is not an easy task by the way – three quarters into the school year the selection is very limited. It’s like trying to find a 4th of July sparkler in November.  Anyway, I digress…

I went into several brand name shops in my local shopping area, frantically searching for the back pack, and I noticed something really important in visiting  two stores back to back.

The sales clerk at store number #1 (Burlington Coat Factory)  told me THEY don’t carry backpacks right now. The “THEY” she was referring to was the store she worked at. The employer paying her check. By using this pronoun it was clear to me that she didn’t really consider herself part of this brand. I love Burlington Coat Factory for its great selection and low prices but I was dismayed by this attitude.

[sc:optin]

The sales clerk at store #2 (DSW-Designer Shoe Warehouse) – also wasn’t able to help me find what I was looking for. But she said “I am sorry, WE don’t have backpacks in stock right now”. This subtle difference from “THEY” to “WE” told me that she realized that she was indeed part of the DSW brand. And my experience shopping there has been consistent, the sales clerks will spend a lot of time with you trying to help you find just the right pair of tall black suede boots size 9 (just for example).

Semantics? I don’t think so. I think a brand’s ability to deliver great customer service is linked to its ability to make its employees understand and feel that they are the brand. There is no “THEY” –  there is only “WE”.

Do your employees understand this distinction? Are they taking ownership of your brand?

Building a strong brand culture and delivering on your promise at every touch point – including employee interactions – may not always be as easy as it sounds. We understand the challenges in creating a strong, clear and more profitable brand. Brand School is our highly effective, premier branding program that will give you the tools you need to develop your brand and use it to make your business thrive. Receive more information about the next semester and also receive free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

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