July 19, 2009

Living your brand

Posted in Branding at 8:39 pm by SD

As usual, I left my annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale shopping trip with a smile on my face. And, it wasn’t just because of the fabulous shoes I bought. It was the fact that my experience this weekend was just like the one last week (can you see I have a shopping addiction?), the one last month and every other time I have been there. Going to Nordstrom is almost like going home. You can always count on it to be consistent. While other major department stores are always changing their look and feel, Nordstrom has essentially remained the same. As fashions change, they remain focused on the thing that is the essence of their brand: superior customer service.

The biggest lesson that we can all learn from Nordstrom is that you must LIVE your brand.

Shouting your brand position from the rooftop doesn’t work, if you don’t make it a reality. Rather, finding multiple ways to live your brand and allowing your customers to touch and feel it without hearing it is more effective. Show me, don’t tell me. When a sales person calls me by name or takes back my jeans that I lost the receipt for, I understand that Nordstrom cares about their customers even if their logo doesn’t say “Nordstrom: providing the best customer service.” I know Nordstrom’s brand based on my experiences there, I don’t need to have someone tell me it.

You can pat yourself on the back once you decide what your company’s brand position is, but that is only the first step and probably the easiest one. The next and most important step is to figure out how you are going to operationalize it. From who you hire and how you train new employees to your sales process and collateral materials, everything must communicate the essence of your brand.

Kudos to Nordstrom for not only knowing its brand but living it rather than telling it. This is a tough thing to do.

~S

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