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It all starts with a promise

Welcome to my blog! My goal is to engage with readers on the importance of the human touch in relation to creating success for a brand, which leads to success and growth for a company. With each communication or interaction made, there is an expectation created.

Like many of you, I read through the papers over the weekend. I glanced through a few magazines and scrolled through my social media. I probably saw over 500 promises made through the marketing messages and ads over those two days. Just imagine how many promises are being made on a global basis every day to billions of people through many forms of communication in many, many languages. With every promise comes an expectation, and with every expectation there comes the opportunity to exceed, meet or disappoint based on that expectation.

Promises are made to be kept. However, too often I read words that indicate a promise of quality service, efficient service, luxurious appointments, or of personal and tailored experience, and I wonder how many of these are being delivered upon.

How many billions of dollars across the world are being spent on making promises to potential customers? It would be a mammoth undertaking to calculate this. Based on the number of promises that have been broken during 50 international trips from my Malta base this year, both business and leisure, I believe the cost of broken promises to be substantial. 

What is tragic for businesses is how these broken promises translate directly into lost opportunities.  There is a real sense that the opportunity to create a sense of trust between company and customer is lost. Whether directly or indirectly, this loss can ultimately be attributed to the impact of the human touch.

Employees are not to blame here. In fact, many times the employee tries their best to do the right thing. What is missing is the employee’s understanding of the promise made to the customer and how they are expected to deliver on it. 

Never take for granted or make assumptions that others know exactly what you are talking about when you ask something of them. This is especially true when it relates to delivering on a promise you have made. In the service industry, this is critical. Through this blog I wish to engage with readers on the importance of creating a solid framework, aligned understanding, training, development and reinforcement of what the brand promise is, and what it “feels” like to deliver on these very important promises made to our customers (both internal and external). 

Bringing a vision to life

When developing a brand vision and establishing what you would like to become renowned for, I urge you to carefully consider how this vision will be bought to life by your people. How does the human touch impact the final reality? Consider the opportunity and what is needed to firmly establish and live the promise within your organization. If not, you risk creating a disconnect between your internal culture and the face of your brand.

When your brand promise doesn’t measure up to your audience’s expectations, you won’t just disappoint, you’ll also lose trust.  And with that, business will be lost. In the worst case, customers will tell their friends and family of their negative experience as well.

How is this avoided? One important step to ensure deliverance of brand promises is to give training and ongoing reinforcement to your team. This means ALL team members. Being aware of your brand promise is not enough. Team members must appreciate and value the importance and meaning behind it. They need to understand their role in delivering on this promise. It is important that they know what is expected of them and be equipped with the tools necessary to do just that.    The bottom line?  Translate your brand – your promise, your values and your vision – into a clear set of expected behaviors for your people.

Consider the challenges faced by international brands. These steps are just the tip of the iceberg! What rang out to me like a bell this year is that many brands with a global presence are failing to appreciate the intrinsic differences between cultures. They blunder in understanding how this impacts the way their brand promise is delivered. Again, we see brands examining the difference in cultures and how this externally impacts the way their message is delivered or perceived. But in many cases, businesses are overlooking how differences in culture internally, amongst their own people, impacts the way the way the brand promise is delivered. This is the fatal mistake.

Your corporate culture might be successful today, but that doesn’t mean it will continue to serve your company as it evolves over time. Generational differences, diversity and cross-border cultural differences all have an impact on how your brand ‘feels’ at different customer touchpoints.

How can you ensure your brand promise translates to success? Assess your internal culture along with your brand and strategy regularly and often. Be ready to adapt when it makes sense for your brand message. Continually communicate with and train your team to ensure they understand their role in bringing your brand to life. Guarantee that they have the resources to deliver to this goal each and every day.

I’d be glad to hear your experiences and examples of how the human touch element has added or detracted from your perception of brands. I’m looking forward to exploring its many aspects, perspectives and elements in future posts. It is, in my opinion, the most critical element in ensuring ongoing growth and success for companies.

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