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Distributor's Link Magazine Winter Issue 2014 / VOL 37 / NO.1


60 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK John R. Graham John R. Graham is president of Graham Communications, a marketing services and sales consulting firm. He writes for a variety of business publications and speaks on business, marketing and sales issues. Contact him at 40 Oval Road, Quincy, MA 02170; 617-328-0069; The company’s web site is TWENTY-THREE TOOLS TO BUILD YOUR BRAND Trashing branding has reached star status as critics dismiss it as passé in a digital environment. Who wants the “behind the times” label It’s interesting that those throwing the rocks at branding come prepared with a ready replacement they want to sell us. Because branding is how people experience a company and its products, don’t fall for the idea that it’s obsolete. Just remember that no company goes to greater pains to protect its brand’s integrity than does Apple, now the number one brand in the world, according to the 2013 Interbrand survey. "Every so often, a company changes our lives, not just with its products, but with its ethos," noted Interbrand CEO Jez Frampton in the company’s report. "This is why…Interbrand has a new No. 1 -- Apple." No task is more critical for companies, organizations and individuals than brand building. Here are 23 tools that can enhance a brand by giving it continuous care and protection. 1. Give everyone hospitality training. This is the place to start since most employees don’t know how best to interact with customers. Hospitality training is mandatory for all employees of Portland, Oregon’s Umpqua Bank and it has paid off as demonstrated by the bank’s stellar performance. 2. Align with a charity. Create a long-term relationship with a charity that shares your values and makes it possible to leverage your company’s resources - knowledge, skills, talent as well as monetary contributions. 3. Make marketing your mission. Business is all about attracting customers who want to do business with you, a mission requiring a plan that’s implemented consistently. 4. Give customers what they want. That’s what T- Mobile’s “Un-carrier” rebranding is all about, starting with dumping contracts, followed by the Jump! early upgrade program and then the signing of Shakira. The payoff has been huge with more than one million new customers, increased revenues and positive changes in public perception. 5. Respond quickly to a crisis. There’s no pause button; just ask Ford Motors. It refused to recall 421,000 2012 Escapes when stuck gas pedals caused accidents until the company was forced into doing it, causing reputation damage and falling Escape sales. Be ready because even a slight delay in responding to a crisis can be costly. 6. Research ruthlessly. Mistakes hurt and some can be fatal, so challenge your ideas, options and opportunities with research and testing to avoid falling into embarrassing and costly debacles. please turn to page 198


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