Kalimex’s Chartered Marketer, Dee Blick, explains why a brand is more than just a logo, and how factors themselves can transform a business into a strong brand.
I was chatting to Mike Schlup, MD of Kalimex (the UK distributors of K-Seal Permanent Coolant Leak Repair) recently, and we were reminiscing about the K-Seal brand and how we have taken this ‘miracle in the little blue bottle’ – as it’s affectionately nicknamed by mechanics – from selling a few thousand bottles a year in the UK, to 6,000,000 worldwide.
Kalimex, a family business, has grown too. Having moved from a compact converted cow shed in Plumpton to, well, the bigger converted cow shed next door! It’s clear that Mike and the Kalimex team have been pretty successful at building the Kalimex and K-Seal brands into something special; it was this conversation that inspired this marketing article for PMF; namely how factors can build businesses into a powerful brand.
“My brand is sorted!” A mechanic told me this recently.
He was referring to his logo, which had been created by a designer. It was early doors for his business. It had the potential to grow into a brand but, at that moment in time, he had the promise of good things to come and a professional look – not a ready-made brand.
You see, a brand is more than just an attractive logo. By way of illustration here’s a great definition of branding.
“A brand is a promise to your customers, the totality of perceptions about a product, service or business, the relationship customers have with it based on past experiences, present associations and future expectations. Brand reality is always defined by the customer’s view.”
Of course, if you want to build a brand you must deliver great products and services, but on the whole they must be gift wrapped in a fantastic customer experience.
Four tried and tested ways to build a brand
1. Be clear about what you offer – Successful brands are built on sales. Sales are built on customers knowing exactly what you offer, the benefits of buying from you, and why you’re different to competitors. Spend a little time revisiting your benefit offering.
Price and products aside, what else do you offer? Free delivery, same day or next day delivery, credit terms, great regular offers, no quibble returns, a loyalty-reward programme, ordering online, trusted advice and expertise?
Develop a series of simple but powerful statements that answer the key customer question: ‘Why should I do business with you and continue to do business with you?’ Your team should know the answers off by heart. Your sales literature and website should capture this too.
2. Be consistent with your delivery – Effective brands deliver a consistently high standard of service through every communication channel including phone, email, van delivery and social media. Revisit all your customer touch points. When you’re busy, do standards drop? When you’re quiet, do you focus on selling to the detriment of service? Pull yourself up!Every time a person contacts you it is the moment of truth; an opportunity to exceed their expectations.
3. Logo and presentation – Of course your logo and how you present your business is important. This encompasses the uniform you wear, the emails you send, the flyers you include with deliveries, your website and more. If you’re projecting a worn and faded look, you’re sowing doubt in a customer’s mind, especially a trade customer who’s likely to buy from you for many years if you get it right. Is it time for a designer to freshen up your look or completely revamp it?
4. Cultivate a winning mentality – If you want to steal a march on competitors and satisfy customers, you have to impress them with the small stuff…
• One extra act of thoughtfulness
• One extra minute of your time
• One extra check to ensure everything’s okay
The best little extras meet the following criteria:
• They’re instantly noticed and valued by customers
• They’re quick and easy to implement
• They cost little or nothing
• They’re implemented consistently
• They put a smile on your customer’s face
The secret is to look at your business through the eyes of the customer – it is one of the most important things you can do to build a brand they will know, like and trust.