As the beaming parent of a boxer puppy whose playfulness is matched only by her boundless energy, I am in a constant state of training.  Folding laundry is not a game.  Towels are not tug-o-war toys.  Sticks and twigs are not food.  My bed is not her bed.  And, the list goes on.

Unfortunately, my designation of things is irrelevant. What matters is what she believes things are. Therefore, it’s critical that I train her to perceive things as I want her to.

The same can be said of your brand.  It doesn’t matter what you think it is. Your brand is how your product or service is perceived by your customers.  So how are you training them to think of your brand?  Is your brand puppy proof?

Step One: Messaging

When training a puppy, use few, yet firm commands such as “No,” “Sit,” and “Stay.”  Use the same commands repeatedly over and over again until they are ingrained.  Using “No,” “Stop,” “Quit,” or worse – yelling her name as a means to make her stop will only confuse her and not accomplish the desired outcome.  Also, by focusing on a few commands rather than 15, I am likely to achieve the desired outcome.

When it comes to your brand messaging, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Make sure your messaging addresses what’s important to them and create concise benefit statements and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Step Two: Consistency

If I refuse to allow my puppy on the bed one day and my husband encourages her to snuggle in the sheets the next, we are nurturing one perplexed puppy.

The same can be said of you, your team and your customers.  Are you marketing your brand as a responsive resource for businesses, but your team doesn’t return calls or emails for days? Do you want to be thought of as a provider of value, but your team focuses on your deeply discounted pricing rather than the quality of your service?  Is your goal to promote your product experience, yet your salespeople focus on product specs?

Step Three: Conditioning

We’re familiar with Pavlovian conditioning which taught us that dogs began to salivate at the site or scent of food, but also to non-food objects or events such as the approaching lab assistant who fed them or the bell that signified it was feeding time.  By providing a consistently rewarding experience, you can condition your customers to think positively about your brand when they see your logo, hear your jingle, see your ad, or visit your website – making it more likely they will take the desired action – visit your website, visit your location, make a purchase, or refer a friend.

Step Four: Reward

When my puppy follows a command, she is rewarded with a treat.   If your customers take the action you require, reward them by repeatedly providing them with an experience they will want to share and do again.  A positive experience, the perceived value of a product or service, being a trusted and needed resource are all the equivalent of a tasty treat that can get a customer to “sit” and “stay.”

For a brand strategy that will make you and your customers as happy as a dog with two tails, contact the branding experts at Electrum Branding.