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Don't forget Cathy, Alan and Curtis

Often, when I am approached to direct brand marketing strategy for a company, the focus veers to websites, networking, public relations or social media. While those are important tactics and integral pieces to a well-rounded marketing program, your customer experience goes beyond traditional marketing tools. Are you considering all of the touch points of your marketing and branding?

For instance:

Don't forget about Cathy. "Cathy" has been your front desk receptionist for 12 years. She greets your clients, offers them a beverage and a soft place to sit while they wait, and extends the warm, welcoming feel of your company to visitors.

What about Alan? "Alan" answers your customer service line. He is the first point of contact when I call your company because the thingamajiggie I bought from you broke or isn't working as expected. Alan responds with solutions and ideas. He is a problem solver who regains my faith in your company after a bad experience.

Don't forget about Curtis. "Curtis" delivers your product to my office. He arrives cleanly dressed, smiling and helpful when I have questions about how
to set up your product. Curtis reminds me of the reasons I buy from you - because the experience with your company is positive.

Your frontline employees - the ones that meet, greet and problem-solve with your customers - are tremendous assets to your brand and are often the key to a positive customer experience. When your frontline employees extend and sell your value proposition, reinforce your positioning and create positive experiences for current and potential customers, they are also your sales force.

What happens when they do not live up to the brand promise and positioning you set forth in your marketing materials?

What do your customers feel when they:

1. Call your company? Are they greeted by a friendly voice offering help and direction? Or, are they placed on hold or thrust into a maze of "press 3 for ." solutions? If your value as a company is being a resource, your phone system should reflect this.

2. Meet one of your staff at a networking event? Each of your employees carries the potential for bringing your company's values forward, as a brand
ambassador. When I meet your employees at an event do they reflect positively on your company? Are they building brand equity for your company
in the marketplace?

3. Search for you online? Can they find your website, blog, social networking tools easily? Is your online presence well integrated and intra-supportive of your brand values?

4. Land on your website? Do they feel your passion for your work? Are they greeted by the friendly faces of your staff? Can they easily find the information they seek or is your information encrypted like a puzzle?

From the voice that answers your phone, to the person who delivers your product, or the interaction customers have with you online, each touch point
is a valuable extension of your offer and your brand to the marketplace.

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Lida Citroën

Lida Citroën is the author of Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition and Principal of LIDA360, a consulting firm that helps create effective market positioning through the use of brand strategies. She regularly presents at conferences, events and programs, teaching transitioning veterans how to understand their unique value and market them to future employers.

Citroën is an active member of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and works closely with General Peter Pace’s program in Philadelphia, Wall Street Warfighters Foundation (WSWF). For more information, please visit, www.yournextmissionbook.com  and connect with her on twitter, @LIDA360.

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