Brand Matters: Where Are Your Brand Manners?
Your mother was right. Manners really are important. Please and thank you, common courtesy and civility—where have they gone?
I bring this up as a consumer being treated less than what I would call “pleasantly” by many companies. I think you can relate. Like you, I am over-e-mailed, underappreciated, hassled and bombarded by irrelevant messages. My time is not of marketers’ concern. My past, present and future purchasing power are ignored. My money is taken without gratitude, often by people talking on the phone to a noncustomer. My stress level is increased by too many choices because companies are too lazy to edit their product lines. I am annoyed companies don’t seem to get that I have a life and don’t want to spend extra time doing complicated business transactions with them, let alone doing for them what they should be doing for me. Like Rodney Dangerfield used to say, “I don’t get no respect.”
I bring this up as a brand strategist because companies should know better. This is not news. Even Henry Ford back in the Industrial Age knew that “the only foundation of real business is service.”
Yes, there are companies that do indeed know how not only to mind their manners, but also treat their customers like royalty. You know the companies that do it right because they create a memorable experience:
• A birthday card and thank-you coupon from the president of Talbots.
• J. Crew’s promotion of real people, not machines, answering its phones.
• Citi’s focus on the ease and simplicity of banking with it.
• Zappos.com’s positioning as a service company that happens to sell shoes.
• L.L. Bean’s prompt knowledge of my name and my transactions when it picks up my call.
• Gap’s call button inside its dressing rooms for additional help.
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.