Brand Matters: Filing a Report
Report cards. Just hearing those two words can generate angst even if you are no longer in school. They can raise the hairs on the back of your neck even if you were once a hard-driving honor student with such stellar grades that your parents proudly put bumper stickers on their cars.
Report cards in the business world have the capacity to generate that same fear. We all want to measure up and never down. But what if I told you that with a few tweaks to the process, report cards can actually become a brand-enhancing tool you shouldn't live without?
Report Cards: They're More Than Grades
It's true. Yes, traditionally, report cards with vendors and suppliers are utilized to help measure all sorts of necessary things. These metrics matter. But after taking a look across different industries and speaking with colleagues about how they use report cards, I'd like to offer a different tack on this concept that isn't about always measuring what's up or down, but about what's happening sideways.
I'd like you to think about report cards as partnership progress reports; reports that allow for even more things that matter—things like growth opportunities, honest conversations, increased customer satisfaction and more meaningful conversations.
When I asked Terri Alpert, founder and CEO of Stony Creek Brands, about her experience with vendor report cards, she didn't hesitate. "Call Mike at Brown Printing and let him tell you about our experience from his perspective," she said. "They are a very customer-centric organization."
Catalysts for Growth
As a life-long good student, I did what I was told and phoned Mike Amundson, CFO and executive vice president, catalog at Brown Printing Company.
He was glad to share his experience: "Well, in one of the first report card experiences with Terri and her team, we found out information early in the relationship that allowed us to better understand their needs. This proactive communication on Stony Creek's part enabled us to have a more thorough understanding of Terri's expectations before it was too late.
Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of creative branding and merchandising consultancy IER Partners. For 20+ years, Andrea’s joy has been inspiring clients with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She’s the author of two books about brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants and ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.