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POW + WHAM = WOW - Your Brand at Work!
You do not have to be a Super Action Hero from the Classic Comics to appreciate the impact of these words: POW, WHAM and WOW. They are usually displayed as some nefarious dark character is dismissed, paving the way for goodness and light. This is a bit like we would wish to accomplish with our Brand, reflecting energy and passion, as we deliver on the promise.
The crux of being a successful brand in the Experience Economy revolves around orchestrating 'Branded Moments of Truth', not only into an exceptional exercise in service but also a seamless Brand story built by the geometric progression of staged, authentic moments. We are in the 'feeling business'. If that sounds manipulative, it is, because Consumers have been lied to so often. The truth is that if you present yourself as you really are in all things, deliver on the functional, emotional and aspirational promises you make, and engage your customers in a personal, ongoing relationship, Brand loyalty will be your reward. It is difficult for business people who are often driven by numbers and processes to switch gears, but that is what separates also-rans from the winners, particularly in the Hotel realm.
How authentic and compelling is your Story, the passion around which you framed your Brand? Have you created stimuli for the five senses which will engage your Guest? And, most importantly, have you crafted the Experience within your Business, where literally each and every aspect of your operation positively 'touches' your Guest throughout their time with you.
The challenge is to stay ‘ahead of the curve', as we match our products and services to that perceived Consumer need or dream. The landscape is ever changing with our competition more creative and aggressive. It is always in the "Eye of the Beholder", and the better we understand our existing and potential customer, our business, and the story we wish to share, the easier we can manage the Experience.
Your Strategy commences with the POW, how you construct and frame your Brand message. This exercise does not take place in a vacuum; rather, the ingredients include listening, challenge, taking a few whacks, chancing innovation, all wrapped around a force field of energy and passion. Some may be fortunate to have a masked crusader to encourage the process. Mine was Uncle Bill, whose stature rose mythically through his POW interventions. No matter the situation - business, marriage, philosophical angst, he was ready to lighten the load, so to speak, with humor, riposte, creative avenues, hard questions, swashbuckling initiatives. There was neither whining nor retreat. At the end of these sessions you were refreshed, invigorated and ready to proceed with clarity. I miss him mightily! His approach was masterful, and the transforming process to define and enunciate your Brand message, its integrity and value, requires the hard work, and, just as the Super Heroes blast off the comic pages, so must your Brand - the POW!
So, now we are what we say we are and our Brand is to be verified by our customer, based upon how we delivered on their expectation(s), impacted by what they feel, how all their senses interacted, and how their perceptions turned into reality - the validation process - the WHAM, our Delivery. This Cosmic challenge is dictated by two factors: the reliability of your Brand Promise while your Guest/Customer is with you and the successful interaction of you staff, who create the relationship, which makes the Experience Remarkable and Memorable.
Many businesses waste the chance to indelibly Brand by sending messages that are mixed, too weak, or simply wrong. Guests will always have a Branded Experience, whether the business tries to influence or not. Therefore, make your stand, and transmit your crafted messages at every step of the Guest's visit with you. Tour your property, from the parking lot, to your entry, throughout your rooms, evaluate the dining, the guest room, the Public Areas, asking at each juncture, "Does this meet the Brand Promise I have established?" Your Brand is those sensibilities - color, texture, sight and smell. Frequently, your Web Site is the First Impression, which sets the parameters for the expectations. Be clear, concise, candid and compelling.
Next, we need to consider those folks who have the Guest/Visitor/Customer contact and represent our esteemed values. Have we shared and imbued our Brand Story with the Ambassadors who will deliver it (enculturation)? Have we hired for talent, compensated competitively, trained and developed our corps, rewarded excellence? Have we created alignment, providing a Brand dynamic, focused upon skills, attitude, culture and support to enhance the Guest Experience? Service is the differentiator. Management creates either the compelling dynamic or the lost opportunity. A solid Customer Service orientation and superb Communication skills, specifically interpersonal, dramatically reinforce, or not, effective interaction and relationship building. We need to understand Relationship Management, why we act like we do and how to optimize any exchange. Our individual style, our strengths and weaknesses, impact our effectiveness as Brand Ambassadors. POW, then WHAM, "HOLY BRAND AWARENESS, CAPTAIN!"
The Experience business is driven by that memorable relationship and achieving customer delight - the WOW. Take nothing for granted and continually evaluate your performance, bringing your Guest into the equation.
We are what we state, and that must be translated and delivered throughout the entire time our Guest is with us - the whole time, not just the welcome. Everything we do is integrated into how we represent ourselves, and we must demonstrate this every minute, through our staff, through our business environs, and certainly through our Brand marketing. Judiciously define yourself, craft your words carefully, perform with distinction, and prosper. Become a Super Hero! Embrace the POW, deliver the WHAM, enjoy the WOW.
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