So what goes into building your brand? Here's a look:
Graphics In order for people to find you, is the way you want your business to look. Either you want to look plain, or we can make you look top notch.
Consistency in advertising. Decide what you can do for your customers that your competitors can't and hammer away at those points in every ad. Create a "sell line" that defines your company in a nutshell and use it.
Customer service. Only employ people who can get on board with your brand, and make sure that each person understands his or her part in building it. Once a customer is ignored at the counter or treated poorly on the phone or on the sales floor, you've lost not only that person but everyone else that hears about the unfortunate experience. Remember that word-of-mouth can help, but it can also hurt. Get rid of employees who won't cooperate--even if they're related to you!
Public relations. Keep promises you make. See that your customers aren't disappointed with what they find once your advertising gets them through the door. Make it easy for them to make purchases and returns. They should leave smiling. If you tell your local Little League team that you'll provide team T-shirts, follow through. If you commit to a joint venture with another business, school or a group of any kind, keep up your end of the deal. Pay your invoices on time. Be a good citizen. Get involved with community projects where your business can do something positive (and maybe get some free press).
Your willingness to use the internet. A company with no web presence is archaic. Even if you're only interested in local sales right now, your customers are on the web, and they'll want to see you there, too. Get it done now.
Be vigilant. Every contact with the public will either serve to build your brand or dismantle it, and administering damage control can seem like managing a convoluted maze of tumbling dominos when something happens to threaten the public's perception of your business. If you want a second opinion, ask Firestone.