Hot, fresh, and ready? Nope! More like cold food that sat under the warmer for two hours and a backed up drive-thru producing a long wait time. Lowest prices, best selection, and high quality product? No way! Instead the shelves are sparsely filled with over priced questionable looking produce.
As we discussed last week, creating a personal brand is integral to the definition of one’s self and how they wish to be seen by others. Unlike fast food chains and grocery stores, people don’t have the luxury to have a margin of error when it comes to upholding their brand promise. It requires maintenance and attention. Consider it a personal brand “tune up”. A soggy burger and cold fries, or $6.99/lb chicken that smells a little funky straight out of the package can be forgiven and written off as simply one bad experience. However when a personal brand falters, the individual’s reputation and honorability is shattered.
I ventured off to my local wholesale retailer to purchase the main ingredient for the much anticipated chicken piccata I intended to make that night. It was a Saturday, I knew that it was going to be crowded with others trying to gather their weekend goodies. However, I was willing to deal with the frustration as I wanted THAT chicken. It’s pricier than my normal grocery store but the higher quality of meat seemed worth it for the special dish I was preparing. This store prides themselves on prime standards of everything from produce to the meat counter, and I had yet to be disappointed.
I made it through the bustling maze of the aisles. The check out was a breeze. I was headed home to begin working on my culinary masterpiece.
The chicken was bad. I didn’t think to smell it in the store. It wasn’t until I tore through the plastic packaging that the odor of rancid meat assaulted my senses. I was mad, disappointed, and now without a dinner plan. I didn’t take it back. I didn’t make a call. I simply didn’t use their chicken at all. I made grilled cheese instead.
I have been able to forgive and forget and eventually buy their chicken again. The branding has proven to be the high quality they claim to distribute and has won back my chicken business, even if it took a full year.
I am happy that even though their product branding failed me, the store’s personal branding that is expected to be adopted by its employees has not. Had I stopped receiving incredible customer service or encountered rude employees my business would be gone forever. I would miss the chicken, and the bulk paper towel, but failing to uphold the basic values would be my deal breaker.
Once you have created your personal brand how can you maintain it? Even the most well designed machines require upkeep.
Keep your machines oiled, your chicken fresh and the fries hot, but do it with a smile (or whatever defines your personal brand).
I still don’t have a theme song but the logo is coming along just fine.