Archive for July, 2010

Opportunity missed to reinforce brand

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Most companies work hard to create and build their brand. Countless hours are put into naming, positioning, colors, design, typefaces, scripts, education, promotions and more.

It was on a family vacation this summer when I happened to make my way to a Fuddruckers restaurant near Des Moines, IA. We stopped into Fuddruckers because we knew they made a great hamburger, had comfortable seating and was kid-friendly (in menu and seating). We didn’t have a lot of time to visit a restaurant with table service, but we also wanted more than your typical fast-food joint. Fuddruckers fit the bill perfectly. No table service, but restaurant-style seating, great atmosphere with engaging decorating and TVs, kids activity menus and of course, really great hamburgers — made-to-order.

All of our expectations were met during our visit. However, on our way out of the restaurant is where the company missed the opportunity to reinforce their brand.

As we left, it was raining heavily. I was making a final purchase of some cookies to go and was talking with the sales associate ringing up my purchase. As we both looked outside at the drenching rain, jokingly, I asked if they had valet parking service. I wasn’t too excited to get soaking wet with 2 more hours of driving to our next destination. The sales associate replied, “Oh no, we are just a glorified McDonald’s.”

As I ran out the door to get into my urban-assault-vehicle (minivan to most people) to pick up the family at the door, I felt cheated. I had just spent almost $50 for really good burgers for my family of six. With that comment, I was left with the thought I over-paid for the meal and experience that I could have gotten at a fast food restaurant.

While the comment didn’t change my perception of the restaurant–I would eat there again for the same reasons outlined above–the company failed in communicating their customer value to their employees.

To protect your brand, you need to make sure everyone is aware of the value you provide your customers. This is most important with those employees that have contact with customers. If your employees are not espousing your brand attributes, then they are detracting from all the efforts your marketing is trying to create. Get your employees on board and they will help to be your brand evangelists.

What would I have thought about Fuddruckers had that sales associate said, “No we don’t have valet service, but I could go bring your vehicle up to the door for you if you’d like.” Or, “No but we should have valet service, especially on days like today.” Now either of those replies would have made an impression on me, reinforcing their brand as the World’s Greatest Hamburgers…even if it was an offer I probably would not have accepted.

Take every opportunity to exceed your customer’s expectations and you will build upon your brand.

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