OK, building on the theme of trust and authenticity, one of my favorite companies is BGR–The burger joint. Why? Well, apart from the obvious (they have the best burgers EVAH!) they have built a strong brand. How do you build a strong brand? Here are some key elements that BGR does very well that you can apply to your business and personal brand:
1) Consistency: The company does a good job of delivering a consistent, reliable customer experience. I have been to several of their DC area locations and the service, food and atmosphere are always consistently good. This is important because it goes back to the point I made about managing customers expectations and delivering on your brand promise. A reliable, consistent experience helps to build trust. Trust is the key to building a strong brand.
2) Authenticity: BGR is great because they are genuine. In other words, they are able to tell their “brand story” in a way that reflects their company values and honestly speaks to their worldview. They don’t try to come off as something that they are not. The staff is genuine & friendly (more on that in a bit) and Mark (the owner) is accessible (via twitter & facebook of course!). Mark uses social media to connect to his customers. Yes, its Mark who tweets. Mark is a busy man but he knows that there is nothing more important than being present for your customers–truly and genuinely.
3)Great customer service: And building on the previous point, BGR has wicked good customer service. The staff is friendly and always makes sure that I have a FANTASTIC customer experience. (True, they do recognize me by now at the Clarendon location but that is neither here not there.) Whether its my first time at a new location or my (blushing) one hundredth time, customer service has always been great.
4)Generosity: This is tied to the last point too. BGR is generous with their products true. It is not uncommon for owner Mark to give customers a milkshake just because (yes, he gave me one:) They are generous with themselves and their time. I strongly believe that you cannot provide outstanding customer service if you are not a generous person (company) why? Because you have to think of your customer first. THINK: what will make my customers happy? Not: how can I make more money. Some people might think that it is not cost effective for Mark to give away a milkshake. But, Mark knows he can’t afford not to. He understands that he doesn’t sell burgers and milkshakes. He is selling an experience you can’t get anywhere else–he is building a strong brand built on trust.
5)Great product: Ok, I saved the best for last (salivating). BGR makes a great product. Period. Their burgers are made from quality meat. They are cooked the way you like them. And they are delicious. The fries and milkshakes and everything else is great too. This ties back to the first point. Their food is good and continues to be good. Every time I have been there (and yes I have been there a lot). Having high quality materials creates a good product. What makes a GREAT product is consistently delivering on your brand promise. Because like I said in my last post, you never know when you will make the first impression.
The culture at BGR reminds me a lot of the book Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. If you have not read, you should.
There you have it! Now go build a great brand–BUT before you do, you’ll need a lot of energy–Go to BGR first–I hear their burgers, fries and milkshakes are delicious 😉