December 21, 2022

Top 5 Most Frequent Brand Experience Mistakes In 2022

Are you confident that your people deliver a positive brand experience with prospects and customers in everything they do? If they don’t, your company is at risk because negative brand interactions diminish trust, loyalty and advocacy, which are vital for driving sales, customer retention and referrals.

At Point Road Group, we help companies deliver a consistent, positive brand experience through their people. Over the past year, we've seen many companies miss their sales goals because of negative brand interactions. We’re sharing the top five most frequent mistakes we encountered so you prioritize and correct them in 2023.

1. Sales Team Is Not In Sync

If your sales team took turns giving their typical spiel right now, would they sound like they’re part of the same company? This is a common problem among growing companies and those with multiple people involved in the sales cycle. Building trust, which is critical in cultivating new relationships, is much harder without a consistent brand message.

In the past year, we have seen this affect an accounting firm, an acquisition-ready fintech company and a national shipping company, among others. While different in industry and sales team size, they all faced a similar problem: the sales team's talking points were all over the place and so they weren't telling the right company story.

How do we help? First, we look for the root causes of inconsistency, like problems with sales team onboarding, training, sales process and internal communications. The insights we gather help us develop a customized program that gets everyone on the same page and includes processes to ensure people stay current when there are any future changes to messaging (about new services, targets or specialties).

2. Leadership Team LinkedIn Profiles Are Weak

More than 90% of the clients we worked with in 2022 had leadership teams with weak LinkedIn profiles.

This sets the stage for a poor brand interaction with prospects, business contacts, customers, potential talent, investors, board directors and acquirers -- and anyone else who looks at leadership team profiles (particularly before meetings). When what they see is outdated, incomplete or has typos, or is generally uninformative, it negatively influences their views of the person and their company.

Weak leader profiles also set a poor example for employees, signaling that LinkedIn isn't important to them, when it should be. In fact, Point Road Group is conducting research on this to show how weak employee profiles impact a company brand – stay tuned for results in early 2023!

The good news here is that we have tools to correct this mistake quickly and effectively – as we did with most of our clients this past year. Whether writing new profile content for leadership teams or presenting workshops on how to optimize LinkedIn presence through strong profiles and active engagement, we helped companies achieve a positive, consistent brand experience on LinkedIn – not just through their company page, but through the leadership team’s profiles.

3. Slow Response To Email

We’ve all experienced the frustration of someone taking far too long to respond to an email. When slow email response is a chronic problem within a department or entire company, it doesn’t just leave people feeling ignored or annoyed, it breaks their trust and loyalty -- and that hurts business.

The tricky thing about slow response time is that it's often written off as a bad habit, when it’s more likely a sign that teams lack standards for managing and prioritizing communication. Frequently, company leaders are unaware this is a problem in need of a solution until after they’ve lost business.

The Point Road Group approach to fixing this negative brand experience is to identify and remedy the causes of slow response to build better habits and manage email more effectively. We create processes for prioritizing and managing volume, as well as accountability standards. Since team buy-in is critical for a shift, we also help teams understand why slow response time is problematic and how it impacts opportunities and relationships... and therefore business.

Here are a few examples of how slow email response impacts business:

  • A financial services firm with sales staff who had great technical training lost conversion opportunities to competitors because of slow communication with prospects once their inquiry volume increased.
  • A growing healthcare SaaS company had low referral rates because the account services team consistently took way too long to respond to customer emails with questions and requests.
  • An insurance company struggled to expand relationships with existing customers because the senior executives involved in upselling services would regularly take several days to respond to emails.

4. Obvious Multitasking During Video Meetings

What’s a negative brand interaction that really made business owners and leaders cringe this year? When they learned that their employees (and even executive peers) are often distracted and multitasking during video meetings. This behavior leaves those on the other side of the screen feeling like their time isn’t that important or valued by the multitasker. Talk about a quick way to diminish trust and lose opportunities, like when:

  • The CEO didn’t realize that the prospective investor could hear him typing an email during the conversation;
  • The HR manager, when meeting with a highly sought-after potential employee, was not so subtle when looking away at another screen throughout the interview;
  • The wealth manager kept checking his phone and texted during a meeting with a high-net-worth client;
  • The VP of Sales kept checking email (breaking eye contact with the camera) while meeting with a prospective customer.

When our clients become aware of this problem, we help them fix it. Our workshops and coaching address how small changes to physical positioning, interaction and even meeting structure can make a big difference in video meeting engagement, helping their teams to overcome bad habits and ensure more positive brand interactions.

5. Couch-Ready Dress Codes

Throughout the past year, business leaders have lamented to us how frustrated they are at the breakdown of dress codes, leading many employees in the office, at meetings and on video to take casual too far. What someone opts to wear in a business setting influences brand experience from the start of the interaction. When casual is too casual, it conveys a lack of seriousness, care and preparedness. Visual cues have power. When employees don’t put their best foot forward, their brand doesn't either.

Dress codes reflect company culture, so we look at what’s changed at a company (for example, how and where employees meet with people, who they meet with etc.) and style examples set by leadership teams. Then, we help update company standards to promote positive brand interactions and advise on how to communicate policy changes with sensitivity and respect.

Looking Ahead: Avoid These Brand Experience Mistakes In 2023

When prospects and customers have weak interactions with your team, how it makes them feel can break their confidence and trust in your company. This impacts sales.

As you look to the coming year, think about the mistakes we saw companies make this past year and think about your own team. Are they 100% prepared to deliver a positive brand experience in 2023?

If you have any doubts or concerns, Point Road Group can help identify your most vulnerable areas and correct the course. Schedule a discovery call today.

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