When You Are the Brand, Make Sure You Represent!


Although the customer service representatives are always the face of the brand, people are willing to have some leeway knowing that, in a larger company, the rep they’re dealing with today may not be representative of the overall brand. After all, you’re bound to get a lemon once in a while.

If the company is you, however, then your actions and behavior are the brand. A bad day can damage your brand with one prospect or 100 customers. A bad attitude on a regular basis can build give your brand a bad name no matter how friendly and inviting you think it is.

When I worked in the hotel industry, part of my training including a video produced by the Walt Disney Corp. on customer service. One of the main things I learned all those years ago, that stuck with me no matter what type of job I’ve had since then, is that, when you’re working with the public, you’re on stage. You need to act in a manner that your “audience” (customers) expect. Whatever is going on in your personal life needs to remain backstage and if you can’t take on the persona of someone who is helpful, nice and charming, then you don’t belong in a position where you are interacting with customers and prospects.

Your behavior, your reaction to situations that are thrown at you, and your general approach to dealing with people will make or break your brand, which, in turn, will make or break your business.

When Is Social Media Expertise Not Very Social?


I attended an event featuring a LinkedIn expert who spoke on how to leverage LinkedIn to grow a business. I must admit that I was impressed by what he had to say – his strategies made sense to me and didn’t seem to make promises of social media bringing marketing instant gratification.

I wanted to set up a meeting with him to discuss how we might be able to work together, since social media coordination and content creation is something we do, but on a limited level; and he doesn’t do offline marketing.

I e-mailed him and he preferred doing a phone conversation, so we set it up. I was not thrilled with that solution, but it seemed to be a take-it-or-leave-it thing.

As I was setting up the phone meeting on his online scheduler, I remembered my “interaction” with him at that event I attended. I was engaged in conversation with someone when he walked up to us and started talking to the guy I was talking to. He didn’t bother introducing himself to me, didn’t apologize for interrupting, didn’t include me in his conversation, and never even really acknowledged the fact that I was there. He certainly didn’t make a good impression on me.

Needless to say, I was ready to dismiss everything he was there to teach us about LinkedIn based on that interaction with him. Even with that, I was impressed with what he had to say and I was ready to learn more about him and maybe even work with him myself.

Comes the day of the phone meeting and, guess what? No phone call from him (the confirmation e-mail I received from him said he would be the one placing the call and showed the phone number he was to call). OK, maybe he tried 5 minutes early and my phone line was tied up with a fax. I’ll never know – three days later, I haven’t heard from him via phone, e-mail, LinkedIn, or smoke signal.

Not anyone I’ll be doing business with and he won’t be getting a referral from me. Not very social, don’t you think?