Do you understand why clients choose your staffing firm over the competition? If you don’t and you just assume that your brand has earned enough credibility in the marketplace to endure without a lot of effort, you’re asking for trouble.
Branding is more than just a logo or a slogan that you ask your employees to repeat to clients. It’s what your business represents and what keeps clients coming back again and again. But it can also be what drives them away when your brand promise fails to live up to client expectations.
Want to build a powerful brand that will drive your business forward? Check out these four tips from branding expert and national restaurateur Phil Friedman.
1. Find your essence.
You may have big aspirations for your staffing firm’s brand and that’s great. But it’s a mistake to put forth those aspirations before you are confident that you have a clear understanding of what your brand is all about.
“Take the time to understand before you develop action plans,” says Friedman. “If you don’t, and you go down the wrong road, the mistake will be trying to get the brand to be what it’s not.”
Be honest with yourself and ask the tough questions:
- Do you really know your brand, or do you just assume you do because you’ve been there from the beginning and built the business from the ground up?
- Are you and your brand promise on the same page?
- Are you communicating consistent brand messages to your clients at every touch point?
2. Talk to customers.
You’ve got to experience your brand the way your customers do. It’s not something you should ask your direct reports to do. Get out there and see it for yourself.
“You really have to be the one who is developing the most knowledge about the brand,” Friedman says.
If you were selling baseball gloves, you’d go to a sporting goods store and ask whose gloves are selling. If you had a lawn service company, you’d want to know whether customers are coming back for repeat business or if they’re asking for extra services. And for staffing companies, you want to know how satisfied clients are with the people you send them.
“Look at everything that is part of the segments or sequencing of your service in the marketplace,” Friedman says. “If we’re not growing, is it a brand problem? Or is it an organizational problem? We could have a great brand that is not doing well and it could be the delivery of the brand and not the brand itself.”
3. Engage your people.
Train your employees to be consistent with your brand image for your staffing firm. If your firm strives to provide world-class customer service, you can’t adopt a get-them-in and get-them-out philosophy of assisting your clients.
“Get people involved in the evolution of the brand,” Friedman says. “Now they are part of the culture and they understand and have the right approach to what you’re doing.”
Your employees are on the front lines and they probably have a better understanding of what your clients want than you do. So tap into that resource to make sure your brand is still resonating.
“Be consistent from the brand position to the brand execution to the human system you put in place to support it,” Friedman says.
4. Study the competition.
Change in the staffing industry is going to happen and it’s probably going to happen much sooner than you’d like. So once you’ve tuned into your brand and your clients, stay that way. You’ll be in a much better position to adapt when that change happens.
You’re not trying to copy the competition. You just want to take what they’re doing well and do it better.
“Figure out why they are becoming relevant and you may be becoming less relevant,” Friedman says. “It’s the willingness of leadership to change, evolve and stay relevant that can make the difference in brand continuity and delivery.”