Brand Matters: Brand Bookends
Think about some other ways people and companies create anticipation for their products, services or events: Beautifully worded menus set the tone for delicious dining experiences. Cleverly designed hotel key cards can give travelers a glimpse of the room and atmosphere that awaits them. All these purposeful beginnings require proactive attention and intentional consideration. By pre-opening the brand door in ways like these, brand leaders have the ability to predispose their customers to a distinguished experience.
How does your brand say "I'm glad you are here!" to your customers? Is it a purposeful and memorable hello or is it a tired and less-than-enthusiastic greeting? Why not have your brand leaders pay attention to what kind of welcome mats your company and others in and out of your industry lay at the feet of your customers, and then brandstorm ways to create a more impressionable brand beginning.
Because most companies spend so much of their time in the day-to-day "middle chapters" of their brand stories (creating unique products and services, executing shipments, delivering on agreements, etc.), their brand conclusions are often overlooked. Hopefully they remember the very minimal closing thank you (note, card or comment) to their customers, but endings have as much opportunity for remarkableness as do beginnings.
Luxury-home builders Gary and Susan Lauria have this quote as part of their Lauria Builders mission: "Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence." I like to think about brand endings as the time you get to put the final autograph on your work. Are you taking full advantage of this opportunity?
The Moorings is a world leader in providing yacht charters. When my husband and I were sailing crew with friends on a Moorings charter in Australia, this company impressed us from start to finish. When we decided to do a bareboat charter for the first time many years ago in the Caribbean, we called The Moorings. While there is much to say about the entire customer experience and adventure, I will always remember one small ending detail. In our mailbox (pre-Internet days) when we returned home was a breathtaking postcard of another island destination, thanking us for choosing to charter with The Moorings and an invitation and discounted offer to book that next memorable sailing vacation; The Moorings knew to connect with their customers while they were still on their "sailing highs." This postcard campaign was both a wonderful ending to one brand experience, and possibly an enticing beginning to the next. Two bookends in one double-duty brand communication tool.
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.