Your Brand is Not Your Logo

I want to clear up a misconception: your brand is not a logo. It’s not the geometric design of your name on a billboard, it’s not the signature “swoosh” at the bottom of your full-page ads. Your brand is the way people feel when they experience your product or service, and how they share that experience with others.

No one person controls your brand.

From awareness to consideration to purchase and loyalty, your customers will come into frequent contact with people in your organization. The nature of these interactions will determine what they think of you.

Last week, I wrote about how Ottawa’s Diefenbunker Museum blew me away with an online customer service experience. Before that, the Diefenbunker was a museum I had conducted research at (in my other life as a historian). Now, it’s a social savvy museum that provides rock-star customer service. That’s now their brand to me, and that’s what I share with people when I talk about the experience.

In a world where an increasing number of our interactions are taking place online and where consumers have free access to mass communications channels such as Facebook and Twitter, your customers’ experience with you is a far greater determiner of your brand than a logo.

This is why major corporations invest millions in social media listening campaigns, even though the returns on these spends are questionable at best.

Small and medium business owners don’t have that kind of budget to throw at social media, but many have a very powerful cheat that costs very little extra: competent employees.

The thought of letting your employees post on your behalf may make you nervous. After all, you may have heard about social media horror stories like the KitchenAid incident in the US:

Example of a tweet you NEVER want to send on a company account.

This tweet was quickly followed by an apology from KitchenAid


But really, that fumble turned out ok. KitchenAid was on the spot with an apology shortly after the incident, and I haven’t seen a single blog that didn’t reference the apology in the same breath as the blunder. It was a social media failure followed immediately by a social media recovery.

The main lesson from the KitchenAid incident for marketers was that it’s important to listen, and to act fast. And the best way of doing this is to have as many people listening as you can allow.

If you’re a small or medium business owner, the best weapon you can deploy in the social media world is a group of employees who know you, know your company and its products, and are likely loyal to your company’s mission.

These employees will often be more effective than those of a major corporation, because of their personal connection to you.

Here are a few quick tips on what you need to do to make sure your employees are behaving appropriately in your brand’s name on social media:

  1. Explain the strategy.
  2. Give them access to the Twitter account.
  3. Get out of their way.

Ok, so maybe it’s a bit of a simplification: You might want to answer their questions as they come up, as well.

That’s all there is to it. Because you hired competent, loyal people who want to see you succeed as much as you do. So let them shine! Let them listen and speak on your behalf and you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

If you’re looking for someone to help you define a social media strategy for your small and medium business, contact Marketing Breakthroughs. Our Web Marketing Team will get you on the road to measurable social media success right away.