Sunday, August 27, 2006

Small Business Marketing Solution - A Brand Check Up

Nearly every small business needs a Brand Check Up. Certainly most of your competitors do, but most won’t invest the time and effort. Here’s your chance to pull way ahead of them. Remember, successful small business marketing can be understood as a triangle containing three essential elements: Brand, Package, and People.
Brand is your company’s identity. But as a small business owner your view of your company is just too intimate to be objective. You need to pull together the view of others both outside and inside your company.
Below are 15 words. Please circle the top 3 that describe your business:
Quality, Caring, Value, Speed, Cheap, Fair, Good, Fast, Dependable, Expensive, Friendly, Loyal, On-Time, Convenient, Honest.
Okay, after you list your top three, then it’s time to get this list in front of your customers in the form of a survey. A half-sheet of paper with big, legible type works wonders. Wording can be optional, but a suggestion is: “Please help rate us. Circle the top three of the following words that describe our company.”
Oh, and don’t forget to supply a pencil.
But before you send it out to the customers, do something your competitors never would dream of--discover the “view from the inside”. Distribute this Brand Check Up to five or ten of your employees. Please make sure they don’t compare notes with each other. Also, it’s wise to select as random a sample of your employees as possible. Don’t just limit it to management and supervisors. And, your Brand Check Up won’t be accurate if you only hand it out to sales and customer service. Put this survey in the hands of some of your staff who don’t typically have front-line customer contact. These people are ultimately responsible for client satisfaction; they create the end-product for your customers.
Get the Brand Check-Up in the hands of the man that sweeps your floors and the woman that cleans your bathroom. Give it to the person that handles the bookkeeping and the person who locks up every night. If you outsource some of these functions then ask the company you contract the work with to fill out your Brand Check Up.
Remember--no comparing notes. Some of you small business owners may need to tell your employees that nobody’s being tested.
Gather these completed surveys and then tally up your scores. There’s no right or wrong here; no master answer key locked inside the teacher’s desk. Just see what your employees and maybe even some of your vendors think about your company.
Next, get this survey in front of twenty or thirty or forty of your customers. Again, the goal is to collect a random sampling, but the main thing is to just make sure you get the surveys completed.
Then, compare the answers. Where do the customers agree with each other? Where do they agree with your employees? Where do the two groups disagree? Remember, this is only a start; a place you can build from. Like any good check up, the Brand Check Up will be part of an on-going process in keeping your small business healthy.
Remember, that Brand Banner you want everybody to carry for you? This quick survey exercise will provide you a snapshot of what it looks like, right now.
A Brand Check-Up doesn’t need to be involved or expensive. Look for 80/20 results, gather business intelligence about your small company, and then use this new awareness of your company’s Brand as you move forward with your marketing. Knowledge is power; power you can use to out-market your competitors.
© 2006 Marketing Hawks
Craig Lutz-Priefert is President of Marketing Hawks, a firm providing essential marketing vision for small business. Marketing Hawks also sponsors the ongoing small business adventures of entrepreneur Crystal Trino at the JourneyToday website.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Craig_Lutz-Priefert

Michael Epstein
MSE Marketing Systems
Your Small Business Partners
michael@msemarketingsystems.com

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