The Power of Words in Your Brand Messages
By John Hendrie
Whatever we say or write goes through an audience "colander" at a speed and depth really quite astounding. Whether the language is mangled by the "nattering nabobs of negativity" (thanks to S. Agnew) - the liberal press or the alternative, the "fair and balanced" slant, what we say is sliced, diced, crunched and crumbled in front of our eyes in nanoseconds. Bring in another culling layer of social media, and we might have as well stayed in bed. Words are powerful and precious.
We, in hospitality, still must market our respective Brands. We have learned not to be effusive with our descriptions of the Guest Experience to come. Our Consumers know fully well when they are being had. They seek honesty, authenticity and straight talk. This can be challenging, as we weave our story to make a compelling case to our prospects. We need to be particularly careful with our descriptives and qualifiers. There is nothing worse than an expectation not met, yet promised.
So, you start with your story line, just as you would be relating this to a friend or family member. Get it all down - the humor and the flaws, the memories and the reactions. What you do well and what needs work. This exercise will tell you what you actually are, not what you think you are. Invite collaboration - include your staff, vendors and most importantly, your Guests. Everyone will have a slant, a bias, an opinion, which really describes the life, value and energy of your business - your essence. Now, you have the broad-brush, which needs to be distilled into a comprehensive Brand marketing message.
Just like in Brainstorming, work towards identifying five to seven items which best relate to your Brand. Further define these, what they really mean, naked, no fluff. This is the heart-beat of the business. And, this is where you begin to build the Brand message. You can be clever, zany, deep or intense, but the goal is to shape the story you have created, focus upon the key elements of the business and outlook, and be ever sensitive to the words you use to describe the end results - the Experience.
Easily laid out as a process, but often very difficult to move along. The first and very real impediment is usually the owner or family of the business, who have a very definite opinion of who and what they are - no matter what the market says. It hurts to let go. Often, you might have a louder voice at the table with an agenda in mind. The process cannot be bullied, for the results becomes jaded. You want genuine, communal ownership of the Brand message, for everyone is a salesman. They are believers, because they were part of the process, no vacuum allowed.
Once defined, everyone must have a role in delivery, that salesmanship. What does this mean to Human Resources, Sales, Customer Contact personnel, back of the house staff? This is how your Brand Message gets "legs", survives and prospers. Internally, everyone is involved and delivering. Externally, utilize different means of validation, from Mystery Shops to extensive Survey work. And, the Brand message will also evolve over time. So, take care with your words, like deluxe, the best, Mom's favorite, sublime, sensual, sexy and sunny. These may be compelling words, but not accurate.
Source: A Guy Walks In...
About LRA Worldwide, Inc:
LRA Worldwide is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability.
The author believes that Remarkable Service is the portal to the Memorable Customer Experience. Seek solutions at:
John R. Hendrie
40 East Main Street
USA - Merrimac, MA 01860