Ah! The holiday season. It’s a time when we all do a little more for those we love. And all with the best of intention. But sometimes those intentions fall short, not because the giver misses the mark, but because the company the giver trusted, completely blows it. That happened today when we received a gift in the mail. It was one of the best examples of false advertising I’ve ever experienced, and sadly, I’m sure in this industry it happens far too often because it is just not cool to say anything.This holiday, my sister was kind enough to send my husband and I a Christmas Cactus. The delivery man called ahead and said he would be arriving. “Great!” we thought, “We’re getting flowers!” When we arrived home we were floored by what we saw. I won’t belabor the point with words when pictures say it all. This is what we should have received based on the Promise as shown on the florist’s website. The next picture is what the local florist partner delivered.
Because it is the holiday’s we’ll give the national flower network and the local delivering florist the gift of not mentioning their names.
After about an hour of calling customer service at the national flower network and the local florist who delivered the plant, I got them to agree to send out something that is worth the $40, plus tax my sister paid for a cactus that we could have bought from Home Depot for about a buck-ninety-eight. She’ll be visiting in just a few days and the whole thing would be embarrassing for everyone. Who needs more stress around the holidays?
When you think of a brand, please, keep it simple and use our definition. Just two simple words: The Promise and the Experience. When you think in terms of this, the Promises you put out there and the Experiences you deliver should be equal. In other words, what you promise, you simply should deliver. As I have said many times in this blog, the Experiences we have with a brand do far more to make or break it than any Promise we put out there. Paying attention to the experience your customers have with your brand is the most critical aspect of brand and business building.
This is the point that too many people miss. An Experience with your brand is more than just an opportunity to deliver what you promised, and it is more than just an opportunity to wow. It is a “moment” with your brand. That “moment” can be stellar, or it can be horrible–which this one was. Did I really need to spend an hour of my time dealing with a bum flower delivery? Of course not. Will I ever buy from either of these companies? You’ve got to be kidding!
This is the kind of brand experience that gets you blazed on Yelp!, flamed on Twitter, and blasted on Facebook. And it sure demonstrates the importance of enlightening everyone in your company to the higher purpose, the true heart of your brand. I’m sure the CEO of the flower network and the flower shop owner would both be shocked by all this. In all our businesses, it only takes one person who doesn’t care, doesn’t get it and who doesn’t understand the true business you’re in to mess things up. Before you start firing people, it’s not their fault in most cases. It’s the leader’s fault for not enlightening and inspiring them. Do your employees know what business you are really in? Do you?
As we approach the New Year, make a resolution to not just think of branding as a logo or an ad or the hook that you put out there to snag customers. Think instead of the experience you deliver. When you deliver on your promises you’ll be shocked at how many customers you will attract and how quickly your brand and your business will blossom…just like a Christmas Cactus.
What is branding? Heart & Mind® Branding.