Looking back at a previous post, I noticed that I kind-of-sort-of-almost talked about creating an experience around a promotional product as part of the branding process. What I didn’t do, however, was stress how important a customer's/prospect's experience is to building a brand.
The fact is that the one thing that can build up (or tear down) a brand faster than anything else is the experience your customers have with it. If your customers aren’t rating their satisfaction level as good or excellent, then they will be defining your brand on their terms of dissatisfaction.
It won’t matter how pretty your logo is, how much advertising you do, or what you’ve decided your brand image is; the customer’s experience at every level of interaction with your company is the defining factor in the ultimate perception of your brand.
You may think you know what your brand perception is; but, if you're not seeing it from your customers' viewpoint, than you probably have no clue. Your marketing team will never have the final say on your brand perception. That is completely in the hands of your clientele and how they view each and every interaction with your brand because their satisfaction with the level of service they receive can be more important than any other factor.
Ever have a bad experience at a store, restaurant or other place you've patronized? Did they listen to your complaint? Did they find a way to fix the issue in a reasonable manner? Were you impressed that they listened and acted on your comments? That will be remembered far longer than the original problem.
So, here it is folks – my ultimate piece of marketing advice: If your customer service doesn’t measure up in the opinion of your customer (your opinion doesn’t count here), then please don’t spend one penny of your money on marketing. Put that penny, and any others you manage to earn, in your pocket and save them for the day when your company declares bankruptcy.