There’s an old saying in the advertising industry that your true brand image is “what your clients say about you when you’re not in the room.” The way that your prospects and clients perceive you shapes what they say about you, influences their behavior towards you and is; consequently, the ultimate reality of your business’ brand image. Your brand is a person’s visceral perception about your company. It’s an emotional sense of what your company is, rather than an intellectual, rational memory of your tagline or logo. Components influencing the perception of your brand include your marketing strategy, public relations activity, and every client interaction (whether one-on-one or via the web, print, or broadcast media). It’s how your staff answers the phone, how easy your web site is to use, what message your visuals send, how quickly your staff responds to client needs, the tone of your writing…and more.
The stronger your positive brand image, the greater your client loyalty. The world’s strongest brands have not just clients or fans, but evangelists. Brand evangelists champion their favorite brands, not just by buying that brand’s products, but by enthusiastically recommending them to other potential clients. I’m certain you can think of at least one brand right off the top of your head whose clients may be perceived as evangelists.
Do your branding and marketing efforts ever seem to fall on “deaf ears?” This could mean that, like many IT solution and Managed Services Providers, your brand isn’t what you think it is. Until you get real feedback from real clients (surveys are a great way to do this, especially when the client can remain anonymous), your messaging is likely to be mismatched to your clients’ real perception of you. No wonder you didn’t get the response you hoped for from that marketing campaign!
When was the last time you asked your key clients why they choose your services? Chances are; if you’re like so many of our partners, it’s been quite a while – if ever. You may never have taken the time to get this kind of feedback. I’ll encourage you to do so—send out a client survey and find out. Your clients’ answers will almost certainly surprise you. They’ll give you reasons for their choosing you that you wouldn’t have expected, and couldn’t ever have guessed.
So, what do your clients say about you when you’re not in the room? Who are your brand’s evangelists? Just how enthusiastically are they championing and recommending your services to others? And if you can’t find any, what can you do to create some brand evangelists?
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