Build brand through service

Brand is “a promise kept,” according to John Greening, an associate professor of integrated marketing communications at Northwestern, and a former ad exec at DDB in Chicago.

In a session at the National Retail Federation in January, Greening said that marketers must figure out how to better influence customers and to how to take a fresh approach to handling customer perceptions of a brand.

Branding done well should make the buying experience effortless, he said. The customer will form habits where “they don’t have to think about what they are buying.” According to Greening, 75% of purchases are made out of habit.

For most, brands are only perceptions, he said, and when it comes to the customer, “the biggest media exposure is the employees.” At every point of contact — the call center, the Website, the store — you have the opportunity and ability to communicate your message.

Think about what you are doing for the customer, not to the customer. And remember that highly satisfied customers (as well as highly dissatisfied customers) talk to other customers.