Lovable Brands

by T Taylor

People are always asking us to help them create a successful brand. So what defines success? Typically, business leaders want to know how they can grow and be more profitable—along with being loved by their customers and stakeholders, of course!

Can your company’s brand be profitable AND loved? The answer is yes.

There are exceptions, however. Fortune 500 companies seem to suffer the most here. According to Business Insider’s “The 15 Most Disliked Companies in America,” business giants Comcast, United Airlines, Bank of America, Time Warner and Aetna are among the worst in the latest cycle of ratings from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. So what have these brands done to be so unlovable?

It comes down to the customer experience. Nothing grates on customers more than poor service. When people are poorly treated, news spreads like wildfire. Universally bad customer experiences include: being put on hold for long periods of time, uncaring representatives, bad billing practices, botched work and various other instances of sub-par service.

Research shows that if someone has an average or satisfactory experience they tell less than
10 people. If someone has a bad experience they tell twice as many people. If a customer receives great service— they tell even more people than would be told if a customer receives a bad experience.

There are loveable and successful brands, too. These include Zappos, Apple, Mini Cooper, Dos Equis, Harley Davidson and Trader Joe’s. What makes these brands enjoy a cult-like status? Simply stated: great customer experience. They work tirelessly to deliver an excellent and memorable customer experience. The greatest advertising and marketing in the world cannot save a business from a chronically poor reputation.

Think about this from a local or business-oriented perspective. What business do you routinely praise and recommend to others?

In Boulder, I always praise my CPA firm, Kingsbery Baris Vogel Nuttall, and really because of my relationship with Stuart Kingsbery. The guy is authentic, smart, funny and will always go above and beyond for me. I’ve told dozens of businesses over the years to work with him.

It’s also why we use so many testimonials in our client’s marketing. If you can’t hear from someone with first-hand knowledge, hearing it second-hand can also work well.

So the next time you have a truly exceptional customer experience, thank the people of that brand. If it’s your brand, figure out how to leverage it. If your customer has a bad experience with you or your business—make it right—and don’t delay.

It may be the best brand marketing you do.

“Well done is better than well said.”
- Benjamin Franklin