Avoiding brand plastic surgery

I just visited the web site of a decades-old marketing agency. I was excited to learn about their offerings and who their staff were. They were located in the Northwest so I thought it would be worthwhile to tuck away their contact information for future reference. But then I saw it. It made me twitch. It made me realize that I’d most likely never want to ask this company to assist a client.

What threw me for a loop was, right there in the first sentence of site copy, their claim to “create brands.”

I told you about my perspectives on brands a while ago. To think someone could go out and hire an agency to create a company’s brand is just not realistic. And to offer to do this is simply fraudulent. But apparently, there’s a market for such brand plastic surgery.

If you feel the need to dress up your image in your marketplace, consider starting from the inside and working outward. You could ultimately end up revising your marketing messaging, outward appearance, and even your logo. But simply changing your outward appearance and marketing message without first addressing the customer experience is doomed to failure or, at the least, a big expense with negative return.

Meet with your best customers and find out what they like and don’t like about working with you. Ask your staff for their recommendations. Bring in secret shoppers to gain first-hand experiences. Look at your accounting, billing and invoicing procedures and policies. Do they reflect how your customers want/need to be treated? Are your sales staff enthused and properly equipped to deliver consistant and honest messaging to your best prospects? Are your suppliers providing the best selection and availability? Are you bundling your products in the best ways to fill your customers needs? Notice how none of these have anything to do with graphics, logos, color schemes and marketing messaging? But they have everything to do with meeting and exceding market expectations, thus increasing word-of-mouth referral business and loyal repeat customers.

Put your self in your prospects’ shoes. How would you feel if you agreed to a date with a very attractive person (according to the picture you saw), who you were told shared your interests only to discover a talkative egotistical bore on the first, and last, date.

Now consider your company. Before you spend money on brand plastic surgery, take time for some personality development first. It may eliminate the need for surgery altogether.