Photo of handshake and quote: Helping organizations better define who they are, what they do, how they do it, and why anyone should care!

Branding Bytes Archives

Issue 35:
Thoughts On Using Social Media

Issue 34:
Reigning in Public-Private Partnerships

Issue 33:
Seven Ways to Avoid Toxicity In the Workplace

Issue 32:
A Few Bad Apples Bruise the Brand

Issue 31:
Branding Beyond the Logo

Issue 30:
The Yin and Yang of Celebrity Leadership

Issue 29:
Want to Raise More Funds? SPEAK UP!

Issue 28:
Government Funding Cuts: Act!

Issue 27:
"We Are Sorry":
Your Brand is Your Behavior

Issue 26:
Tell Your Story

Issue 25:
Good Leaders

Issue 24:
Think "People,"
Not "Organization"

Issue 23:
What's in a Name?
Just about Everything!

Issue 22:
Is Your Mission
Getting Creepy?

Issue 21:
Welcome to the Age
of the New Normal

Issue 20:
"Receptionist" vs Director of First Brand Impressions

Issue 19:
It's Not About How Your Message is Delivered

Issue 18:
When it Comes to Your Brand, Details Matter

Issue 17:
A Good Brand Requires TLC: Just Ask My Wife!

Issue 16:
Toxic-Work-Environment Syndrome Can Tarnish Your Brand

Issue 15:
Adjusting to the
New Face of Need

Issue 14:
Tired of all the Doom and Gloom? This is Your Time!

Issue 13:
A New Year's Resolution: Don't Cut Off Your Nose

Issue 12:
What You Do Is
About All of Us

Issue 11:
Ethical Standards
and Your Organization

Issue 10:
Leadership: Whose Journey is it, Anyway?

Issue 9:
Giving Circles
and Branding

Issue 8:
The World's Richest Men
— and Philanthropy

Issue 7:
What is an External
Brand Audit?

Issue 6:
Keeping Everyone
on Brand Message

Issue 5:
What is an Internal
Brand Audit?

Issue 4:
Turn Board Members into Better Brand Ambassadors

Issue 3:
Leadership, Vision
— and Branding

Issue 2:
What's 1st—Organization or Brand? / Govt. Cuts?—Branding Helps

Issue 1:
Branding Myths

Issue 18, Spring 2010

When it Comes to Your Brand, Details Matter

I was just about to make a positive remark about the attractive design on the cover of the document, when a colleague of the person whose department was responsible for putting the piece together blurted out, "Hey, Jim, the county's name is spelled wrong on the cover of your report."

You could have heard a pin drop as Jim (not his real name) flinched with embarrassment.

This scene unfolded during one of my branding workshops to a group of 20 county government leaders. It was at the point in my presentation when I gathered everyone around a large conference table to peer-review each other's printed materials. The purpose: To determine how well the materials reflected their respective department's brands.

Was the error that was pointed out on the document a mere typo? Hardly. The document in question happened to be a financial report that was scheduled to be released to the public.

I saw a teachable moment.

Reassuring Jim that I was not trying to embarrass anyone, but rather attempting to make a point, I asked the group "If the county's name is misspelled on the cover of this document, how can we be guaranteed that the page after page of dollar figures inside are correct?"

In effect, the typo represented a breach in the trust Jim's department was trying so hard to restore under new leadership.

The episode reaffirmed what I had been telling the group from the outset; that there is nothing an organization can say or do that isn't a reflection on its brand, everything from how courteously its phones are answered, to whether or not staff is dressed appropriately and, yes, even typos — especially if you're responsible for financial figures.

What the public perceives

The fact is the public picks up on all kinds of cues that provide them with insights — be they right or wrong — about who you are, what you do, how you do it and why they should care, which I believe are the key questions any good brand must address.

Here's an example that demonstrates the other side of this coin.

Many of the local affiliates of a former national client of mine operate thrift shops, which represent a significant portion of their annual local revenue streams. I had the good fortune to be asked to tour several of these facilities located in different parts of the country and to give my impression of what I saw.

In short, I was truly astounded on how neat, orderly and well organized all of the thrifts were kept.

Things weren't piled on the floor, and shoppers were not forced to rummage through boxes to find what they were looking for, as one might expect in a thrift shop.

Rather, floor space was divided into attractive departments, some using iconic art work to let customers know which department they were in; the clothes were all neatly folded or hung on racks, some attractively placed on mannequins; the furniture had all been restored and laid out as it might be in a high-end department store; the jewelry was all sorted and neatly displayed.

The message these shops implicitly conveyed to me was "If this organization is such a good steward of donated used clothing and furniture it just must be paying the same kind of attention to detail with respect to the funds these thrifts bring in and the services it provides to its clients. This may be an organization I'd like to support."

Rightly or wrongly, perception is reality. And the perception this organization was tacitly but convincingly conveying was "Trust us. We know what we're doing." A powerful — and desirable — brand message any organization would be happy to own.

The lesson: Pay attention to details. They matter when it comes to how people perceive your brand — namely who you are, what you do, how you do it, and why they should care!

As always, I look forward to receiving your feedback, questions, success stories and branding challenges. Also, if you are in need of a motivational speaker, trainer, branding consultant/coach, or management consultant who can help you answer the questions: Who are we? What do we do? How do we do it? And should anyone care? I invite you to for more information.

In the meantime, good luck with your branding! — Larry

About Branding Bytes

Branding Bytes is a FREE quarterly e-newsletter courtesy of Larry Checco of Checco Communications. Please feel free to forward Branding Bytes on to others. However, Branding Bytes is copyrighted and may not be reprinted or reproduced without attributing Larry Checco of Checco Communications as its source and providing the following website address: Thank you.


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