How a simple business letter can damage your brand

Thank you for your business-myMarketing Cafe copyLinkedIn’s most connected woman, Stacy Donovan Zapar, recently wrote an article about the recruiting black hole.  I consider Stacy one of my most important LinkedIn contacts, and not because of her enormous network of 40,500 contacts, but because of her authenticity and integrity with networking.

I was reading Stacy’s article and it resonated with me significantly. A few years back, I was stuck in that very recruiting black hole she references in the article, and it felt horrible.  But, I shouldn’t be too forlorn because it’s why I ended up starting my own business.

The experience had such a great impact on me that one of the first e-books I published focused on the opportunity many businesses miss from HR communications.  (Read the related blog post here.)

When running a small business, whether you have one employee or 10, there are many opportunities to share the company brand, strengthen your presence in the community, and build prosperous business relationships. All business communications can affect the business brand, and each provides an opportunity to connect with your audience. But, you have to step away from conventional thinking to effectively manage your brand.

Put on your investigator hat and research your business to find areas where you can improve communications and stop missing out on growth opportunities. Here are a few questions to consider when launching the investigation.

1.  Have you looked at all areas of your business and how you communicate to ensure communication is the same across the board?

Accounting, HR, customer service? What about your volunteers or interns? One of my clients created excellent marketing pieces but their automated message for the main phone line was completely contradictory. While on one end they had a direct mail piece asking prospects to call, the recording callers heard when they did call was curt and didn’t at all reflect the brand. One of the easiest ways to identify these discrepancies is to walk along the journey yourself. Follow your own communications paths and see how your company treats you!

2. Does everyone in your business treat customers the same along their buying journey?

When considering this question, think beyond customers and consider all stakeholders.  How does your team treat those who aren’t buying from the company, such as simple inquiries, or applicants, solicitors, or vendors? Take a look at this article featuring the “toxic employee” and how they will ruin your business.

3.  Do all of your business communications adequately represent your brand and the image you want the public to envision when they think of your company?

Sometimes, we focus too much on efficiency with our communications by using form letters and stale auto-replies, and we actually end up damaging our brand.

Delve further into how your business is communicating by reading our FREE e-book  HR and Marketing Converge. Don’t worry, you don’t have to sign your life away to get a copy.  It’s a complimentary download, and while the strategies in this book focus on HR communications, the book serves as an excellent blueprint for creating other company communications.

Want to reduce your marketing and advertising expenses? Make ‘service’ the foundation of all of your business communications. As the business owner, you are the brand manager of your business. The buck stops with you.  The tools I outline in the book will help position your company exactly as you want the public to perceive it.

Now it’s your turn.  Have you ever been treated rudely when calling customer service, or making a payment, or applying for a job? Did you tell anyone about the experience? Let’s connect in the comments below.