What’s the strongest brands you know? Brands that have been around for a long time – through generations. Brands that are reliable time after time after time. Brands that offer trust about the value you’ll receive when you go there, or buy that product.
I’m on a roll this winter helping associations find their promise. Just yesterday a great comment came up: Why can’t we chose great customer service our brand promise? And so we began to talk about it.
Think of some of the best customer service brands around: Nordstrom, Zappos, and I was introduced to a tire company in Spokane called Les Schwab. We discussed the consistent and significant investment it takes to build a culture and train employees to deliver a promise of impeccable customer service. The money it takes to get shoes from Zappos’ warehouse to your front door in (sometimes less than) 12 hours, and the level of trust and empowerment it takes a team of tire salesmen to fix a flat tire for no charge, in the hopes of a future sale. Even with an occasional snafu, Ford Motor company still delivers reliable and innovate products even after 100 years (without any bailout money).
One of the best reasons why an association should not chose customer service as their brand is that members won’t compare your service to other associations; they will compare it to Nordstrom’s.
For whatever you chose as your promise, you have to be willing to make decisions based on it, and spread it through your culture, and make it part of the way you do business.
Remember, A CHARISMATIC BRAND is any product, service, place, or person for which people believe there is no substitute.
A brand promise is (1) A commitment of added value, (2) Distinguished by some unique characteristic(s) and (3) A basis for daily decision-making and behavior.
As Dr. Glenn Forbes, CEO of Mayo Clinic says: “If you just communicate a value but you haven’t driven it into the operations, into the policy, into the decision-making, into the allocation of resources, and ultimately into the culture of the organization, then it’s just words.”
Pick what you do very well today, or aspire to become, and make it part of your daily work. You can be the Nordstrom of associations in with a unique, compelling promise.
Several associations across NAR have created a brand promise that will get members’ attention and change the perception of members’ experiences. I’d love to talk to you about them.