So, it's Tuesday night and I've just ordered a takeaway.
I know, it's tuesday! Have I gone crazy?
Well, I'd been waiting to try this new Indian takeaway for a while (really nice branding, and no double spaces or awful kerning in the menu) and I'd had a busy day so thought I'd treat myself.
There's a lot to say about great branding but if the product doesn't live up to the expectation then it's not worth anything, and in this case it didn't. I'm not a curry connoisseur, but this one was very dissapointing!! Plus they forgot my sauces for the poppadoms!
So what now? Well I'll never order from them again and they'll never know why. How many other potential customers have they lost this way?
It got me thinking of how important feedback is. No one really likes to hear when things aren't good, but we should love it! Because then we have a chance to change it. I didn't really want a 20 question feedback form in with my curry but they knew I was a new customer to them (as I pointed out the 'Free Starter' offer for new customers.. greedy!) so why not send me a text saying 'How was your takeaway? Let us know and receive free delivery on your next order' I would have quite happily told them if they'd asked.
However when you're really, really not happy with a product/service that's when it seems to get tricky. It always surprises me how difficult some companies make it when you want to tell them things have gone wrong. The old adage 'one happy customer tells 3 friends, one unhappy customer tells 10' is very true. However now, in the digital age, one unhappy customer can reach 1000's of people, sometimes causing real damage to a businesses reputation and even coming higher in search engine listings than the business!
I think feedback is something every business should look forward to receiving.
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
Even if a company like ours is rostered to brand manage a company, including all of the all of the graphic design work, the literature, the website, in fact all outwardly visible elements, then it is still hugely valuable to have brand guidelines in place. Even the creators of a brand can be tempted to run away with it sometimes!
Company Brand Guidelines help to 'keep a leash' on designers who, by their very nature, have creative and excited brains, often pushing ideas forward but missing some of the key rules that a brand must adhere to. Sure, you wouldn't want to stem the flow of great ideas but, at the same time, the perception of a brand is very important so shouldn't be misrepresented.
Creating brand guidelines might be a costly exercise initially but they last the life of a brand, maybe 5-10 years, or even generations, and by having guidelines you are setting a very solid starting block for the company. If brand identity guidelines are followed correctly then you can be sure that your company identity or product brand will appear stronger and more consistent over time. It is this consistency that really helps in building brand loyalty.