The #1 Way To Ruin Your Brand

*This post originally appeared on Talent Zoo’s Beneah The Brand blog.


It’s a fact; branding is always changing. With the consistent innovation of technology and new ways to reach a target audience, the rules are constantly evolving. Your brand is about more than fancy logos and slogans. It’s about the personality of your company. When it comes to using branding to close a new client, however, some things, like what NOT to do, remain steadfast.

The fundamentals of making a name for yourself and standing apart from the competition are simple and, one would assume, basic common sense. So it comes as no surprise that one of the biggest, all-time, don’t-even-go-there no-nos of business branding is…being unresponsive. While this may seem like common sense, the stats on how many professionals and businesses fail on the communication front aren’t pretty. With mobile-phone technology and social media, there’s no excuse for unresponsiveness.

Going to be late to a meeting? Send a text message to the other attendees. Missed an appointment? Apologize profusely in an email. Received a question from a prospect that you can’t answer right away? Shoot them a message saying you’re working on it and will be with them shortly. At the end of the day, people just want to know that they’re being heard, and with Twitter, Facebook, email, and text messages literally at your fingertips, there’s no reason they can’t get that reassurance.

An article from Entrepreneur on the “25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs” listed being accessible and building a solid reputation right next to each other. You can’t build a solid reputation if you’re not accessible. As the article says, “We’re living in a time when we all expect our fast-food lunch at the drive-thru window to be ready in mere minutes, our dry cleaning to be ready for pick-up on the same day, our money to be available at the cash machine, and our pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free. You see the pattern developing — you must make it as easy as you can for people to do business with you, regardless of the business you operate.”

Unresponsiveness reflects badly on a brand. Time is money, and when potential clients feel that theirs is not being respected that negative image can stick in their minds forever. Just like in customer service, branding is all about making the client know you understand where they’re coming from.

As businessman extraordinaire Richard Branson has said, “Business opportunities are like buses; there’s always another one coming.” If a brand is unresponsive and leaves potential clients waiting around for a reply, they may just use that time to find someone who will answer them.