Building a brand promise
Last week we talked about the first step in building a brand promise and that was with ‘People’ or should I say, the team you employ. As I mentioned previously, building a brand promise is critical to any business and could be described as the core – the starting point – the ethos of what every action you take rests upon.
A brand promise is the very essence of how you do business; how you treat your customers and how you treat your staff. It touches every part of how you commercialise yourself and how you are perceived in the market. It should be the very essence of your business.
The best place to start is with 4 core value points
Last week we looked at ‘People’, now lets consider Customers
So the first question I would ask is, how would you like your customers to perceive you? Are you hoping to emulate service and standards like The Savoy or The Ritz or is your product more aligned to Ibis or Premier Inn? Honestly, there is no harm in being at either end of the scale or even being dead-centre, what does a business harm is trying to be all things to all people.
A good starting point is to review your ‘tag line’ and if you don’t have one, get one. Your tagline should immediately give your customers the ‘essence’ of what they can expect when they stay. Some great examples:
The Ritz London – ‘Step into a Five Star World…’
The Taj Hotel, St James, London – ‘A slice of the past, served on a contemporary platter’
Ibis Styles – ‘Pop, Pep and Personality’
Premier Inn – ‘Wake up happy’
All of these tag lines give you instant ‘feel’ so that your customers immediately know what to expect. But where should you start? Well start by looking at your reviews and trust me, there is no better place to see what customers actually think of you than by the sentiments they leave online. Look at the words they use to describe you, are they: friendly, welcoming, luxurious, funky, fun, opulent, trendy, relaxing, peaceful??? The truth is that you certainly won’t be all of these things so be open, be honest and take a step back and evaluate what your hotel experience actually is. Then build a tag line and that will form the starting point of your brand promise.
Once you have established what your customers say you are and you have decided on what you actually want to be, how do you ensure that you deliver on this? Well this should go back to your People and that is why the two circles above always overlap. Are you building a culture in your organisation where you team feel genuinely happy to help? to go that extra mile? are they actually engaged with providing the best customer experience they can? One very simple way to judge this is to ask yourself: if a member of your team made a mistake, would they openly admit it? If someone makes a mistake that impacts your customer in any way, you need to have a culture where mistakes are dealt with to ensure the very best customer experience. Your team shouldn’t feel that they have to hide things, sweep things under the mat and of course if that happens your customer experience suffers. Build that open internal culture and not only will your team benefit but your customers will too.
Instilling this from the top, through every department will help and your goal throughout all of this is to establish, how you want your customers to ‘feel’. Time and time again I say it is less about the product you provide and more about the service you deliver. People forget ‘things’ but they remember ‘moments’, so how are you ensuring that very guest leaves feeling that they have a moment to remember. This might be as simple as the welcome your Reception Team give – a smile or being genuinely engaged. We have all experienced the receptionist who doesn’t even lift their head to acknowledge us, never mind elude a welcome and the simple things make a difference.
Next look at things such how you deal with complaints or how you respond to TripAdvisor reviews. These will all play a part in how your customers perceive you, so this brand promise needs to encompass every part of your business, your staff training and most importantly, it must represent who you actually are…
(and for all things revenue email@example.com)
Next week we will look at the second link in the chain… customers, but for now:
- look at your current management structure and be honest
- is the way you currently manage your team actually working?
- are you attracting the best talent that you can
- are you retaining staff
- ask your team (anonymously if possible) what they think of your current structure and how it could be improved
- do you offer an environment where your staff can be listened to and valued?
- do you offer training so your staff can feel invested in and developed?
- are you willing to listen to criticism and learn from it?
Reviewing how your business is perceived internally can fundamentally help you assess how you are perceived externally i.e. by your customers.
Be ready and willing to change. Be the very best employer you can be…
(and for all things revenue, firstname.lastname@example.org)