Brand Matters: Mind Your Branners
As a customer, why do I feel that more and more companies just don't care about my business? I am incredulous about the hauteur of companies these days. They act as if they don't need customers. With hardly a thank you at checkout times, with policies that place barriers to doing business with them in my way and with the lack of information and helpfulness in the purchasing channel I am physically in, I wonder what happened to brand manners. "Branners" for short.
Perhaps this lack of attentiveness and appreciation is simply a reflection of our times. Brands are not immune. I have experienced too much "total disregard for the present customer experience moment," and I'm certain you have, too. Chatting with friends over holiday get-togethers this year brought out story after story of customer experiences that were time-consuming, rude, illogical and ungracious. Customers are tired of being treated as if their business doesn't matter.
Maybe it's time for marketers to pay a bit more attention to their branners and examine all their brand touchpoints with a lens towards more than just completing civil transactions. Brands that want to win their customers' hearts should strive for winsomeness. Maybe we need a new acronym to give this practice more cache, perhaps BWEs—Branner Winsomeness Evaluations—and maybe they should occur often.
Serve Your Customers
Customers should receive attention from the very top. Max DePree, former CEO of furniture maker Herman Miller, Inc., said "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is the servant." Ann McGee-Cooper and Duane Trammell, authors of "Focus on Leadership," agree and write that servant leadership "is not about a personal quest for power, prestige, or material rewards. Instead, from this perspective, leadership begins with a true motivation to serve others."
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.