Archive for August 25th, 2010

This Just In!

Please check out my latest articles for Scrapbook Business Magazine.

They can be found in the Press section of this site, under Published Articles, or by clicking this link:
Press Articles – II

Thanks for checking them out – I’d love to hear your feedback!


As always, I welcome your comments, questions, calls and email.

I can be reached via email at
shackney (at) brandingmasters (dot) com
and by phone at 760.504.8563

Wreaking Havoc On Your Own Brand

Wreaking Havoc On Your Own Brand

It’s 8:30 a.m. and I’m in rush-hour traffic heading into downtown.

As the traffic slows ahead, I notice a magnetic sign on the tailgate of a truck that’s right in front of me. I can barely make out the image: it’s a drawing of a woman in shorts and a sexy top and whose knees are adorned with knee pads.

Getting an image?

As the truck slows and I get a better look, I realize it’s a sign advertising a business called Grout Girl Designs.

OK, change of perception. Cool, I think to myself. Perhaps it’s a woman-owned business? I like supporting other females in their entrepreneurial ventures. I need to learn more.

I get a bit closer and discover that they specialize in small tile projects, repairs and glass tile. Again, cool.

Then, just as I snapped a photo of the sign (yes, I am prone to doing that as long as it can be done safely and not at high speed!), I realize there is a smaller sign in the rear windshield (actually, it’s a bumper sticker).

It says, “Did you eat a bowl of stupid for breakfast?” OK, initial perception likely correct.

Or, at the very least, this is someone I no longer care to do business with.
How do your employees and other aspects of your business operations represent your brand?

It’s worth considering…

As always, I welcome your comments, questions, calls and email.

I can be reached via email at
shackney (at) brandingmasters (dot) com
and by phone at 760.504.8563

Social Ineptitude in Real Life?

Social Ineptitude in Real Life?

With all the hype around social marketing, one would think success is all but guaranteed once a business creates a Facebook fan page, launches a Twitter account and/or posts amazing videos on YouTube, right?

But, what if you are “socially inept” in real life? And what do I mean by socially inept? I mean that when customers engage with you in real-life, they find you inept.

How many companies out there do the whole social marketing thing really well, but then fail miserably with the real-world customer experience?

Let me offer an example:

I recently signed up for the mailing list of a well-known retail chain. By signing up I was enabling them to market to me. My reward for providing my contact information was that I would receive coupons which could be used on merchandise in their stores. Since I have always liked their stores, I felt this was a fair trade – my information in exchange for discounts.

Now, it’s important to note that a retailer’s hope is that I will spend enough to cover not only the cost of the discount they offer by providing me with a coupon, but that they’ll easily encourage me to spend more and on items I might otherwise try. Smart, right?

Well, a few days ago I visited one of their locations, coupon in hand. I was all set to buy something I had had my eye on for some time, but could not justify buying at full price. And, I intended to look for accompanying accessories even though the discount would not be applied to those. So far their strategy was working.

Now, imagine my disappointment when I found the item I coveted was not where I had seen it last, and no one in the store seemed to know where it had been moved. Even worse was the made-up response I received from an employee who was too busy chatting with several other employees to ask someone in the know about this mysterious disappearance.

She confidently announced, “Those items were sent back. We no longer carry them.”

Really? A brand new and very popular item was sent back? Sent to where?

Now, since I know a thing or two about this chain, and how their merchandise comes and goes, I knew she made up her response!
So what do you think happened?

That’s right, I left…empty-handed.

And, it’s not likely that I’ll return anytime soon just because I have a coupon, something I might have been likely to do in the past.

The moral of our branding tale?

In the end, it does not matter how amazingly well you manage your social marketing strategy if the basics of customer service at the store level are completely lacking.

Yes, social marketing can be an important part of an overall branding strategy.

But, it cannot replace great customer service.

Your brand depends on customers feeling valued. My example did not leave me feeling valued. And, it certainly did nothing for my impression of this well-known brand.


As always, I welcome your comments, questions, calls and email.

I can be reached via email at
shackney (at) brandingmasters (dot) com
and by phone at 760.504.8563

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