Do you ever think of selling your company one day?
Even if you don't believe you would ever sell your business, brand consistency, promise, experience and image are vital to the success of your company. I've heard it many times from small business owners that they can't make a significant investment in branding because of lack of funds. I've also heard entrepreneurs say that they don't see the point; It's not like they're a global company like Nike. Still, others believe that by creating a distinct brand strategy, promise and experience, it may limit opportunities to make money from a broader audience.
If you're an entrepreneur that thinks that way, I ask you to reconsider. The branding of your company, even if you've been in operation for a week, is vital to your success.
Early Days of McDonald's
Have you ever seen McDonald's with a purple logo or anything other the golden arches? When you walk into a McDonald's anywhere in the world, you know what you're getting, and if you patronize those restaurants, that is precisely the reason why you do it.
Ray Kroc, who was a 54-year-old salesman and still looking for an opportunity that would inspire him came to learn about the restaurant of Dick and Mac McDonald who had developed a process for the food that delivered it to the customer within 30 seconds . This was a huge deal and the beginning of the fast food industry. However, when they just started working together, they were missing a broader vision and brand strategy.
Early McDonald's Mistake
It was Kroc who envisioned the opportunity to create a food company that was wholly American. In partnership with the McDonald brothers, he started operating out of the Midwest and the brothers in California. At first, Kroc created a franchise model to expand the company and grow it to scale quickly across the US, but he made a mistake – it lacked the high-quality and overall consistency regarding the entire operation and systems that the McDonald brothers had developed in California.
Once Kroc and the McDonald brothers were able to bring control and consistency on the whole of the operation, from the brand promise, experience, image, to the services, activities, and services, it was only then that the McDonald restaurants started to develop. What Kroc ultimately brought to the McDonald's picture is that consistent strategy across all of the franchises. That is why you have never seen a McDonald brand image be anything other than the golden arches. With McDonald's, what you see is what you get.
When the entire operation of McDonald's was consistent across the board, and a customer in California received the same service and experience as another customer in the Midwest, it was only then that the McDonald's brand started to get traction.
Benefits of Brand Consistency
When your business is consistent with the brand promise, experience and image of your company, in its wholeety, your target audience and customers understand:
- They are going to benefit from your business because they know – clearly – the value that your company offers them through your products and services.
- Your customers will know what to expect from a brand that is consistent; It's not a guessing game, which will mean they will put their money down because they understand the offering.
- Customers, especially in the digital age with social media sharing and comments, will be able to communicate your brand (it's promise, experience, and image) because you are consistent in presenting yourself.
- When customers understand your brand promise, image and experience, they are willing to pay for the value of what your products or services offer them.
I will say that contrary to not spending the money and investing your resources in communicating a consistent brand strategy, image and experience; it is crucial for you to do it. By not having a comprehensive brand strategy, you will adversely impact the bottom line of your business, which is one of the reasons many start-ups fail. Customers simply do not understand the value of the products or services and don't purchase them from businesses that make no sense or are inconsistent. Don't make that mistake.