Brand is part of the buying experience

A friend recently went to buy a new car. Having been loyal to the same manufacturer for the last number of cars, he simply wanted to buy the same again. Emotionally he was bought into the brand for life. He had committed mentally to his purchase before he even arrived at the showroom. This would be an easy sell for the franchise.

The forecourt and showroom matched his expectations for this notable German car brand and the scene was set for him to place the order for his new car. Unfortunately for the franchise, the car salesman delivered a masterclass in how to lose a lifelong customer.

Instead of listening to what my friend wanted to buy, the salesman did everything he could to sell him something different. He simply would not listen and persisted to the point that he was doing himself damage with every word he spoke. Even after my friend left the showroom, having clearly stated what he wanted to buy, the salesman persisted with calls and emails attempting to sell him something else. Needless to say, he took his business elsewhere.

All too often people see a brand as an aesthetic concept, like a logo. But a successful brand is about so much more than appearance.

With its sleek showroom and instantly recognisable identity, some people might argue that this car franchise had its brand all in order. But no matter how glossy the veneer, the integrity of the brand was ultimately shattered by the sales person’s failure to deliver the ‘brand experience’ my friend had come to expect from this well-known manufacturer. This experience is as much a part of the brand as the logo, the beautiful showroom, even the luxury car itself.

Have you invested enough time to ensure your team knows your brand inside out, and why the values are so critical?

Try doing a test with them: ask each team member to write down one sentence describing your business.