I was thinking about branding, and was reminded of a time I went out for brunch with a couple of girlfriends one weekend. We were at sweet little European-style bistro. The décor was gorgeous. It was warm and chic and comfortable, all at the same time. There were fresh flowers on every table, real cloth napkins, even the lighting was perfect! Service … top notch. Everything about this restaurant felt like quality. We just knew the food would be good. How could it not be with such ambiance! Clearly the owner pays attention to every detail. We couldn’t wait to eat.
When our coffee and tea was served, I was surprised that the milk and cream were served in those little plastic cups with the peel-off tops. This felt like a place where we would get those cute little pitchers. No big deal. (But I do always wonder how long they’ve been left sitting out and how many other people have handled them … eeew!)
We were chatting, and enjoying our hot drinks when finally, our food arrived. Gorgeous bowls of yogurt and berries. Homemade breads, and warm croissants! We asked for some butter and jam, as you do when you’re given a fresh, warm croissant. The server returned to our table with a bowl of cold plastic butter pats and those plastic peanut butter and jam packets with the foil tops.
This was certainly not enough to ruin our brunch, the food was still lovely, but it was completely off brand to serve us cheap condiments in throw-away plastic containers.
In this type of place, where we were paying $5+ for a croissant, you would expect to be given something a bit higher quality than mass produced jams in plastic rectangles. If I were the owner of such a restaurant, I would want to carry that feeling of quality and richness down to every detail… especially the detail on the plate. I would serve locally made jams in little glass jars, or in a tiny ramekin with a little spoon. That would be much more on brand.
When it came time to pay, we had to line up at the counter and wait our turn get our bills and pay. The bills weren’t given to us at our table, so we had a bit of confusion to sort out as we figured out whose was whose, while other people were growing impatient waiting behind us.
Branding isn’t just about your logo matching your website. Branding is about how a customer feels about your company at every single point of interaction.Branding isn’t just about your logo matching your website.Click To Tweet
We went into that restaurant feeling like we would be treated like queens, but our final impression was that we were being treated like cattle being rounded up and handled for efficiency, not quality.
I urge you to take a close look at your business from a branding viewpoint, and think about the impression you want your customers and clients to walk away with. Is your tone consistent across all mediums? Are you a compassionate business with one too many angry blog posts or social media updates? Be consistent! In your correspondence, your static content, and every single interaction with your clients.
That restaurant didn’t break any rules of etiquette or hospitality, but they could have taken some small steps to carry that feeling of elegance all the way through.
Do you have any similar stories to share?
Also published on Medium.
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