At Armitage, Inc, we’re helping many clients establish their brand identity or enhance what they already have in play. As you’ve seen me comment (heavily) before, your Brand Identity is a much larger picture than just a logo or a business card. Ultimately, a brand is your customer’s expectations and perceptions. Your brand is defined by every individual you touch … not about companies or markets … but one person after another after another.
It’s important, then, that in the Brand Identity Process we do with our clients, we all become very clear on …
- Your target customers
- Your value proposition
- The humanization of your brand
- Relevant positioning for your brand
- Your absolute consistency in brand delivery and packaging.
Absolute Brand Consistency is key, not only in your day-to-day operations and in every e-mail and phone communication, but in your far-reaching efforts that include e-mails, mail outs, and online store fulfillment.
Your goal is to achieve immediate respect, admiration and warmth. Just because you might be mailing something to an anonymous buyer does NOT mean you can be sloppy about it. You have ONE opportunity to make a lasting impression. After all the work you’ve put into marketing for this buyer, you can NOT afford to leave this person with a poor opinion of you.
Two Perfect Examples in Brand Consistency
1. The PiperLime.com example
Yesterday, the quintessential example in brand consistency showed up at my door by way of a new pair of heels from the online retail outlet, PiperLime.com
When I opened the box, I smiled. Even though the shoebox was simply wrapped in brown tissue, it was WRAPPED with a PiperLime sticker binding the tissue together. My everyday order had suddenly transformed itself into a GIFT!
Atop the box was PiperLime’s standard lime green envelope. Tucked inside the envelope were three items – the packing slip, a ready-made label in case I needed to make a return in the same box, and a lovely welcome note.
How much added effort does it take to sling tissue around a box and tuck three items into an envelope?
About 30 seconds.
Was that 30 seconds worth winning my adoration for at least one more purchase with PiperLime?
Absolutely, no question.
What else could they have done to further enhance the experience? They could have included a 10% offer on my next order, either in the box, or in a follow-up email while ensuring I had received my delivery. What they’ve done, though, is get my attention, and that’s where it all begins.
2. The Starfish Asian Restaurant, Laguna Beach
As many of my readers here know, I write and print the travel guide of all the best food, drink and events in Laguna Beach as a sort of “hobby.”
Starfish Asian Coastal Cuisine was a newcomer to the busy Laguna restaurant scene in 2010. Last year, the General Manager Gretchen Andrews brought on partners Archie McConnell (management) and Marco Romero (chef) from PF Chang’s. I can’t say enough about how the three have brought Starfish restaurant’s branding to a new level in all of the bullets I mentioned above.
Recently, I ordered a “To Go of one of my favorite soups there, the Filet Mignon Pho Soup. Once again, opening their “To Go” bag on my kitchen counter felt like Christmas morning. This restaurant is extremely smart. Rather than dump all the soup with all its fixins’ into one big Styrofoam container, Starfish packages the ingredients separately to ensure crisp freshness where needed, and steamy heat elsewhere.
In one container, I discovered big chunks of filet mignon still basking in its au jus, accompanied with basted scallions and rice noodles … In another container, at least 4 heaping cups of the spicy, aromatic soup broth steaming away … In a third container, fresh Jalapeno slices, spotless mint leaves and crunchy sprouts greeted me. Lastly, in two smaller containers, their homemade plum sauce and Sriracha hot sauce.
Aside from keeping all the ingredients fresh, the Starfish owners are actively promoting their own brand in a sort of behind-the-scenes way with two very smart imbeds:
First, with the soup packaged as it is, it allows their INDIVIDUAL customer to put his or her soup together the way he/she likes it. It’s sort of like being your own wanna-be chef, which is not only fun for the customer, but thoughtful of the Starfish kitchen.
Secondly, it shows the customer ALL the ingredients that go into a single dish they create. This speaks to their innovation and meticulous attention to every menu item – it’s a genius promotion, frankly, without saying a word.
What else could they have done to further enhance the experience? Well, if it were me consulting with them, I would recommend they enclose a slick, printed piece that offers a small discount for an in-restaurant experience. Obviously, the restaurant is going to profit more by bringing its customers in-house. With a proven customer already there, unpacking the “To Go” bag on their own kitchen counter, it’s a perfect opportunity to invite them into the larger experience. It doesn’t matter if this is a first-time customer or a 100th-time “To Go” customer – any effort to further embed that customer into your brand experience costs you nothing in comparison to the rich result.
To increase that opportunity exponentially? The slick insert can offer a small discount to the receiver AND the same discount to a friend he or she brings along to the restaurant. While this might look like “Geometric Growth” (one person brings one person), this is not geometric at all. An offer to bring in a friend provides exponential growth to your entity, as that friend will receive similar offers to bring in his or her own circle. This is only and always the growth factor you want to build all of your offers toward.
Improve Your Own Brand Consistency This Week
So, there, you have it. Two entirely different retailers with like-minded understanding of the relevance of their consistent brand identity.
Where in your business can you easily add in new Branding Consistencies to create that bonding, “like Christmas morning” experience with your prospect and client?