Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Compliance Branding

For a lot of companies who ship cross-border, handle dangerous commodities, or have a manufacturing facility to name a few must adhere to certain compliance regulations. These compliance issues assures your customer that they are not exposed when they do business with you. As we all know, your brand is essentially your reputation, a considerable amount of damage can be incurred if your company is found to be deficient in any circumstances that require compliance to proceed.

In discussions with Peter Berry, a Risk Mangement Expert, Peter tells me that you'd be surprized how many companies flirt with compliance. Many would simply like to wish it away. It takes a great deal of due-diligence to be sure that your company is compliant. A great benefit of compliance, is the brand story. As much as it takes a concerted effort and financial commitment to be certified compliant, you can use this good business practice to your benefit.

Orchestrate some decisive public relations and inform your customers and trade media of your company's pro-active approach to doing business. One company with whom I have been assisting with brand issues for a number of years - Joycor, actually went one step further and anticipated a future compliance issue and became the first in their industry to become C-TPAT certified. This has to do with exporting to the U.S.A. - making sure that the plant of origin is secure from manufacture to the loading of the truck. Joycor took this message public and secured some media attention for their efforts. This , as you can imagine boosted their brand even further as a leader not a follower.

If you are not used to bragging about your company and how it cares about how it does business, (even if it must through regulation), there is something to be said about how effective it can be to increasing business for you. A footnote on Joycor, was because of C-TPAT they secured new business, solely on the fact that they were compliant with this up and coming regulation and a few companies liked the fact they they too could now brag that they were security minded in "everything" that they do. Everybody's brand image takes a boost due to your efforts.

Every where that there is positive stories there are brand boosting opportunities. Find them and exploit them to your benefit.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

How email can cost you business!

At the risk of sounding like a Ludite, I believe that technology can be a hinderance to effective business practices. I believe being in your customer's face is more important than responsive email. The web while a massive benefit to customer relations is also a service spoiler. If a customer calls with a concern or a new piece of business, we immediately respond in email. Many sales people even take the order or resolve the problem with email. I suggested that you re-think your conventional wisdom and consider "personal service"

There is nothing better in my opinion than getting face time with a customer or potential customer to help build a strong relationship with that person. When I get a call, my first question is: "I think we should get together and discuss this further, when are you available?" When I have something to present, I could sent PDF's, but I'd prefer to show it initially in person. Face to face feedback is so much more productive and effective in selling the idea.

One thing a technology contact does is make you nothing more than a name to the person you're selling to. If they have no personal relationship with you, then you are essentially a number. You are vulnerable BIG TIME. With no personal relationship you are very easy to replace. Someone else who puts their bum in front of your customer will win. A face to a name connected to a personality benefitting from a relationship is such a huge advantage for increasing sales. Just consider how it is benefiting your personal brand!

I can't tell you how many times a customer has told me it isn't necessary to visit only to enjoy the meeting and send me away with more work. Email has no emotions. Never try sarcasm in email, but face to face it has it's place. The next time you are tempted to say, "I'll email you a quote by tomorrow morning - stop yourself - and set up a meeting instead. You won't regret it. Your customer will reward you also. We all like to be treated well. They recognize that time is valuable, so your willingness to give them some of it will come back at you in positive ways.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Pain Points Determine Your Need for Help.

I came across a great list of branding pain points that may assist you indetermining when to call in a branding professional. This excellent list was assembled by Derrick Daye from "Branding Strategy Insider". Derrick is a fine associate of mine who has terrific insights on branding, especially place branding.

If any of Derricks points are something that keeps you awake at night, it could be the reason you need to call in assistance.
More blogs about http://brandcorral/