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Getting a Reputation: Smart branding makes you easy

“I just don’t want you to think Earth girls are easy,” said Val (Geena Davis) in the film, Earth Girls are Easy. Val was concerned about getting the wrong reputation—a valid concern for someone about to lock lips with a (formerly) blue, hairy alien. In the 1950s and early 1960s, having a “reputation” meant one thing—you weren’t saving it for marriage. And gossip, being the precursor to viral marketing, meant you probably weren’t sitting home alone on Saturday night, either. Your reputation spoke for itself.

While most people weren’t held in high esteem for reputedly being “easy,” it was clear messaging and facilitated achieving the expected resulted.

In a more positive vein, building a reputation is what branding is all about. You determine the reputation you build through the customer experience you create, the results you deliver consistently, and the quality of your products and services. Building a reputation is all about setting expectations.

If I go to Walmart, I expect cheap prices, crowded aisles and a none-too-exciting shopping experience. (No bonus points for the greeter.) On the other hand, if I go to Target, I am primed for wider aisles, cool stuff at reasonable prices—and an experience good enough that I’ll probably stretch my definition of “reasonable” prices and pay a little more. Chances are you, the consumer, will gravitate primarily toward only one of these stores. Both have built their respective reputations. As customers, we have preconceived notions about both of them. That makes it easy to choose with whom to do business.

Whatever your business—restaurant, oilfield supply, signage, energy, law, event production—set the expectation. Build an accurate reputation through smart branding. Make it easy for customers to distinguish whether you are the right vendor or service provider for them. You will not disappoint customers who want a different experience. The client won’t waste time with you, because he or she will have a preview of what to expect. When it is time to close the deal, you have shortened the sales cycle. You’ll move right past first, second, third bases and hit a home run. It will be so easy!  

Next Issue:

Naval Gazing: Whom is your message targeting?

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