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Avoid these brand killers

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Written by   177
1 week ago

First impressions matter a lot in life and in the business environment. Although the first impression might not tell the entire story or tell it properly, it often times forms the basis or foundation on which relationships are built, hence it is always ideal to leave a good first impression when interacting or doing business with people as it could well define your brand.

Maintaining a good brand is important. It is what makes you or your business stand out in the midst of the competition. Thus anything that has has the chance of tainting or smearing the brand you've worked hard to build needs to be avoided. It may take years to carve out a niche for your brand but a momentary act of indiscretion or non-chalance or impropriety could ruin everything you've built and shred your brand to smithereens.

From my little experience from venturing into a mini importation business as well as my interaction with other businesses, I have identified some practices or acts which have the potential to ruin or destroy any brand or business enterprise if not promptly addressed by the business owner. The list is by no means exhaustive. Without much ado and in no particular order, they are as follows:

  • Not keeping appointments /delivering to time

This is the most common flaw amongst artisans and content creators such as tailors, automobile technicians, graphics or web designers and printing press operators. It is so serious that if you meet any one in these line of business who keeps appointments or delivers products to time, you have indeed met a rare gem which you should tightly hold on to. Their propensity to disappoint clients has gained notoriety and is now seen as normal in some climes. In my country their tendency to fail to deliver is often the subject of comedy skits or jokes.

I remember one which I just watched recently where a bride to be who was preparing to tie the knot deemed it wise to check up on the caterer who was preparing the meal to be served at the reception. The conversation below was what ensued between them:

Bride to be: Hello, caterer

Caterer ( depicted chilling and had just finished taking a gulp from a bottle of soft drink): Hello, madam

Bride to be: Have you gotten to the venue with the food?

Caterer : AH! Na today?

His response indicated that he had not done anything with regards to the meal preparation as he had forgotten that he was supposed to cater for an occasion on the said date. If this was a real world scenario the bride to be would have gone into a fit of rage or fainted due to the enormity of the though of guests for her wedding going home empty handed from her reception.

Another hilarious one, was where a customer was holding a machete while sitting close to his tailor to ensure that the tailor promptly finishes the work at hand (that is his cloth).

These scenes may seem funny but they are a depiction of what clients or customers have encountered overtime in the hands of artisans in terms of failing to deliver wares to time or keep appointments.

On a positive note, not all artisans are guilty of these habits. I have personally had an encounter with a tailor who earlier delivers to time or even earlier than the agreed time. If you were to take an item to him for sewing and based on his workload at the time, he felt he couldn't deliver at the time the finished item was needed, he would politely turn you down.

This act of politely turning down clients when one can't deliver is what most of his colleagues have either not learnt or fail to employ probably because of the fear of losing clients. Ironically this act is what has earned this tailor respect from me and so many others because it shows that for him it's not just about the number of clients but about quality service delivered to time.

  • Overpricing

There is not hard and fast rule as to how much profit businesses should make on their products or services. However, when a business owner changes the price for premium quality products for those that are clearly of low grade, then such business has clearly gone down the path of overpricing. This strategy may seem profitable for some time but could wreck any business or brand in the long run.

The moment clients or customers discover they have been paying premium price for products of lower quality, they will flee from such businesses the way like poles of a magnet repel each other. Hence a better approach with fixing prices for products and services after duly considering all expenses incurred is to be moderate.

  • Short-changing customers or clients

Closely related to overpricing is short- changing or applying deceptive tactics while delivering services to customers. The moment any business is caught engaging in this ignoble act, that is the beginning of the end for it. News about such impropriety has a way of spreading like wild fire among clients who will collectively boycott such business.

In the area where I live about two gas stations have had to shut down because they were found guilty of dispensing less product than what was due to customers. Despite attempts at rebranding by one of the said stations, they returned to the impropriety after a period of sobriety and customers eventually caught on to their deceptiveness and fled enmasse.

Another aspect to this brand killer is deliberately selling faulty products to clients and feigning ignorance of such deficiency. Any vendor or business that engages in this may think they are being smart by ripping off unsuspecting customers or clients what they fail to relaise is that what goes around , comes around.

When they are eventually exposed they would have succeeded in digging the grave for their brand, placing it in its coffin, nailing it, placing same coffin the the grave and eventually covering it with sand by their misdeeds. Aside the prosecution that could follow, it would mean an effective end for such brand as no one in their right minds would likely ever patronise such brand even if it attempts to rebrand.

  • Failing to upskill

We live in a fast changing world where things are always evolving in virtually all fields of endeavour. The way things were done ten years ago is most likely way different from what presently obtains in any field or area one can think of. Hence it is necessary to acquire emerging skills or update the ones previously acquired in order to remain relevant in the scheme of things.

Thus any business that chooses to remain stagnant sticking to the mantra of :

'this is the way we have been doing it' will realise sooner than later that it cannot compete with others that took deliberate action to upskill to the current market demands or taste. A restaurant which chooses to continue operating out of a poorly built structure with no deliberate concern for aesthetics and the cleanliness of the environment will surely be met by the rude shock of low patronage as times have changed.

People no longer just only care about tastiness of the food, they now give due consideration to the environment in which it was prepared and how it is served as awareness of food safety spreads. Restaurant business is now a complete package of the food as well as the environment thus any owner that fails to give these two items adequate attention will definitely lose out to the competition that do so.

Similarly a graphics designer who stubbornly decides to continue doing 'crowded' designs will surely be doing himself no good as he will be limiting his potential clientele. The world of graphics design is currently tending towards a more minimalistic approach. Failing to adjust in line with with this trend due to rigidity is a sure way of not upgrading one's skill set and thus tending towards redundancy which isn't good for any brand.

  • Poor customer service

The greatest undoing for any retail or service based business is to have a poor or ranchour filled relationship with its customers or clients. This could be due to the business owner or the staff being ill mannered. Sometimes disregarding customers arises from such service provider or product dealer being the only one available hence the customers do not have any option than to bear with having to interact with ill-mannered staff or vendors. In this scenario the popular saying "the customer is always right" is reversed to the "vendor or sales staff is always right" hence you have to play by their rules or be denied service.

This reminds me of a scenario I witnessed at a PMS service station not so long ago .The usual practice when vehicles drive in is for premium motor spirit (PMS) is for the service attendant to pop the covering of the fuel tank while asking the driver for the driver for the amount of product desired. After dispensing the product, the attendant locks the tank after having collecte the fee for the product dispensed.

However on some occasions especially when the service stations are experiencing traffic, the driver usually has to pop open the fuel tank to fast track the dispensing of the product. On the said date, a motorist drove in and as there wasn't so much traffic expected the attendant to do the honours of popping the fuel tank to dispense product but rather than do this, the attendant on that fateful day ignored the driver while dispensing product to other buyers who came with Jerrycans.

After waiting for sometime the driver was irritated by not being attended to and inquired angrily from the attendant as to the reason for this. Rather than maintain her cool, she rudely retorted that the driver that if he wanted to be attended to , he should alight from the vehicle and pop the fuel tank open himself. This infuriated the driver who zoomed off to get PMS else where. Her example was a text book scenario of how not to treat clients or customers.

What business which enjoy the benefit of being a monopoly fail to realise is that the moment alternatives or other options become available, they can kiss their monopoly goodbye and aslo lose clients or customers who have been badly treated.

In conclusion, it is expected that every vendor or business that intends to 'go far' should have some sort of mechanism or process to elicit feed back from customers or clients. This is necessary so as to access its products or services in order to make necessary adjustments or amends in terms of service or product quality. Such mechanism will aid in no small measure in building a formidable brand which is sensitive to its clientele as well as operating environment.

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Written by   177
1 week ago
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Hey this was very informative. Especially that with gas stations, because I have seen that already. I absolutely hate when a product I purchase requires even more purchases to keep it going. I would love to give you an up-vote, but I am new here, I can't do it yet, because I don't have any BCH yet.

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2 days ago

hi @m3i some real gems in this article. Completely agree with a lot of what you have said. On upskilling, this is something that even as a professional accountant, I am required to engage in continuing professional development every year to retain my Professional accreditation/membership to my Professional Body. Your point about declining a contract when you are not able to deliver properly is well received. there is nothing worse than being meted out half-hearted efforts because the service provider is spread too thin and refuses to turn down work. It is completely unfair on the paying customer. I came to your post via Dreemport. Thank you for using our community to share your content.

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1 week ago

Thank you for your compliments.

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User's avatar M3i
1 week ago

Reading from Dreemport 😁

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1 week ago

Yes you say right these brand are killing the people with their update everyday

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1 week ago

Goods and services these days is just simply over priced and I wonder why they can't just take it's good to have you back, cos I haven't seen your articles in awhile now.

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1 week ago

I have been on and off like 'NEPA'. Hopefully I will be writing more often now.

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User's avatar M3i
1 week ago