This is a great article on branding. MAIA Consultant Adam Parman breaks down the wide array of things that are involved in branding and why branding is more than a new logo or shiny brochure.
by Adam Parman
I’m often amazed at how some companies have the ability to make every new product a huge success simply based on their reputation, while other companies struggle to introduce new products to market. Never is this more evident than the newest release of an Apple product. People line up for days to be the first to get the newest version of the iPhone.
What makes a company like Apple so successful can be summed up in one word: branding. So what is branding and how does it apply to the martial arts industry?
Let’s start by defining the difference between a “brand” and “branding”.
A brand is your customers’ experience with your service. It’s certainly what gets posted, tweeted, instagrammed and shared. It’s how customers feel about interacting with your brand that determines how successful you will ultimately be.
On the other hand, branding is the action that a company facilitates to affect the experiences a perceptions of the customers.
In short, a brand is what and how customers feel, and braning is how a company gets that feeling across to its consumers.
So what and how are your customers experiencing the brand you’ve created? To understand, start by putting yourself in their point of view. Walking through your front door might give you quite a surprise. The amazing service you think you’re providing may not be enough to overcome other aspects of your brand experience.
How would you feel if you were a customer in your martial arts school? Ask yourself if you are delivering the kind of experience you think you are.
Never did this exercise become so relative than a few months ago when my partners and I bought a competitor’s school les than a half-mile away from our existing location. During the process of acquiring the location, we visited the school on multiple occasions to see if this was to be an endeavor worth our time and money.
While visiting, I had the unique opportunity to view a martial arts school as a customer. I began noticing small details I had not noticed in my own school for years. Out dated student pictures, ceiling tiles that needed replaced, grammar errors in printed materials and more.
Suddenly, I realized why this owner wanted to sell and the level of scrutiny each one of my schools was under each time a potential new member walked through the doors. When was the last time you evaluated your business from your customer’s point of view, and what is your brand saying about business?
Another key to building a brand is developing systems to build instant rapport and connection with the customer.
Recently, my wife and I began planning a trip to Disney World for our family. After reserving our hotel and purchasing our park tickets, we received a small box in the mail. Inside the box were customized “magic” bands with each one of my family member’s names on them. The bands are linked with our hotel reservations and allow any purchase on their property to be charged to your room.
For companies like Disney, this allows them to monitor each guest while creating a unique and customized experience. Implementing similar customized experiences for new and existing students in your martial arts school can build resounding relationships!
Finally don’t confuse your identity with your brand. A new logo or shiny brochure is just one small aspect of your brand. Your brand has a voice, a message and an agenda. Remember that your brand is how you and your staff communicate to your students in and out of the school. It’s how you conduct business, reflected in the decisions you make and in the programs you implement.
An effective brand can catapult a business to new heights and create massive growth. Begin to day by taking the steps necessary to evaluate your current brand. Seek to find ways to over-deliver your instruction and service, creating loyal customers and lifelong students!
Adam Parman can be reached at email@example.com.