Brand Matters: Are You the Real Deal?
• Ace Hardware calls itself “The Helpful Place.” The next time you are tackling a home project, check out the interactive project videos on its Web site and see if you agree that it takes its brand promise seriously.
• Boston Proper, an upscale, subtly sexy clothing company for women, prides itself on doing business “the proper way.” It backs up its promises with this guarantee:
We want you to love everything you buy from us. If you don’t, if it ever falls one iota short of fabulous, you can exchange it or return it for a full refund. No questions, no hassles. That’s our promise. That’s the PROPER way to do business.
• Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby founders answer to a power higher than Wall Street. As Christians, they feel strongly about giving their employees an opportunity to take a Sabbath rest. Despite walking away from millions of dollars of potential revenue, both companies take a bold position and close on Sundays. This action separates them from their competitors.
• Chipotle Mexican Grill purposely keeps its menu simple with four main dishes—burritos, tacos, burrito bowls and salads—that are freshly prepared in front of customers in open kitchens. It takes pride in providing “service that is honest, open and personalized.”
• Books & Books, a book lover’s paradise in South Florida, is one of the strongest independent bookstores in the country and goes toe-to-toe with the big chains. Founded more than 25 years ago by Mitchell Kaplan, a passionate and savvy bookseller, Books & Books’ customers consider it a “lovemark” in its literary community. While celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary, Kaplan was recently quoted as saying, “The way we do business is unique and expressive. It certainly expresses our own sensibility.” That sensibility includes hosting numerous author events, carrying a diverse selection of books (including those not on the best-sellers lists) and fostering community through book clubs, etc.
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.