Want a grand brand? Then deliver the goods.

A logo by Picasso can't cover over service that stinks.

By ROY HARRYMAN

Branding is often equated with logos and taglines. 

And of course, those are important parts of any brand, whether it’s a business or non-profit.

As Clifton Alexander of Reactor Design has shared, the visuals (outside) need to reflect the excellence of the overall organization.

However, in my years in marketing I have seen an unhealthy obsession with logos, taglines and vision statements. Hours can be spent agonizing over colors, commas and typography when the real battle for the brand is being lost daily.

Merriam-Webster defines a brand as “a characteristic or distinctive kind.” That’s what every organization hopes for: to be set apart. They want to be the Apple of their industry or community.

But when it comes to winning brands, customer experience trumps graphic design every time. I don’t care how many times the logo of my ISP or cable company has been redesigned. The service is horrible. The experience is almost universally awful.

That brings me to an incredible “brand” experience I’ve had. And that is with my allergist, Dr. Michael Loren, in Lee’s Summit.

I don’t know if Dr. Loren has a logo. And I don’t care. From my very first visit a few years ago, he’s gone out of his way to try and combat my peculiar brand of allergy. He’s taken it seriously, almost as a challenge.

However, I’m no lab rat. Dr. Loren genuinely cares. He listens, contemplates, makes
observations and asks insightful questions. And although he’s prompt, he never appears rushed. Once I got a follow-up call from him on a Friday night from his cell phone. I was stunned.

The “brand” extends to the entire office. Every single staff member has been outgoing, gracious and compassionate. I recently switched family doctors and, when updating my records, couldn’t remember the new guy’s name. The office administrator played “20 Questions” with me until we isolated the building and office where he might be located. Then we nailed it by process of elimination.

But wait: There’s more!

I don’t know if this is an annual event, but Dr. Loren has taken the entire staff on a vacation. The “brand” doesn’t just extend to patients, but to his employees as well.

So, if you need a new logo, by all means get one. But if you’re business is mired in dysfunction and customers are fleeing, fix what’s under the hood before worrying about a new paint job.

And if you’ve got allergies, you know where to go.