How do you feel when you see the name McDonald’s?
In my mind, I see the Golden Arches. And I think “cheap, fattening food I can’t stomach.” Others love Mickey D’s because they know the Big Mac tastes the same, whether they’re eating it in Peoria or Paris. And that’s reassuring.
- My customer service manager’s name and telephone number everywhere. “If you need help, call Christine Buffaloe at 619-955-5772. Or me at 262-284-7451.”
- My personal replies to emails, even if people need help and I don’t know them. (They get a free tip, and often a link to a product I sell where they can find more.)
- Little surprises sometimes tucked inside product packages, from gourmet dog treats to Publicity Hound notepads.
- Humorous dog videos, jokes and quotes I share in my ezine and on the social media sites, just to keep things fun.
- A free special report or CD of the customer’s choosing when we screw up and ship the wrong order.
- My own vocabulary tied to The Publicity Hound theme. I call my followers my “Hounds” with a capital H. People who don’t know the correct publicity techniques are “media mutts.” And when I do something dumb, I’m “sent to the dog house without my dinner.” That’s called sub-branding, and I learned it from marketing strategist Tom Winninger. How do you know when it’s working? When your customers start using the same words and phrases, and suggest others.
Let a Survey Help You
Early last year, I registered for a Stompernet teleseminar hosted by faculty member Don Crowther. His guest was survey expert Jeanne Hurlbert, PhD, who discussed the value of customer profile surveys and how you can use them to create a roadmap for your business.
- Choose a theme, something obvious that can be associated with your signature product or business. If your theme plays off the name of your cat, and your business has nothing to do with cats, go back and start over.
- If you’re having a difficult time thinking of a creative name for your business, don’t force it. Instead, go for a walk, or take a swim or shower. Water and exercise invite creative ideas. “The Publicity Hound” came to me during a six-mile walk.
- When you hit on a successful brand and get great feedback from your market, spend the money to trademark your company name and logo.
- Be consistent. Use the same photo, tagline, logo, colors, style and design in everything you do, from your website to printed materials.
- If you’re not sure what your customers think of your brand, ask. Consider a customer profile survey.
- Listen to what your customers say about your brand. If they aren’t saying anything, it’s probably not a brand.
- Remember that reputation absolutely supersedes everything.
In keeping with the dog theme, my German Short-Haired Pointer, Bogie, is joining me in my new business profile photo which will appear at my website. But I’m not sure which of two photos I should choose for the homepage.