Branding, by definition, is a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company. This helps to identify a product and distinguish it from other products and services. Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from your competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice. Your brand is built to be a true representation of who you are as a business, and how you wish to be perceived.

There are many parts of your business that will affect your brand. They include advertising, customer service, promotional merchandise, reputation and logo. All of these elements work together to create one unique and (hopefully) attention-grabbing professional profile.

When it comes to brand building, customer service is often the last and most-ignored piece of the puzzle. This is a big mistake–and big missed opportunity. Aligning customer service and your brand is an essential but often under-utilized way to attract and retain customers, differentiate the business, and boost brand loyalty. Done right, it can create a truly sustainable competitive advantage. Here are ways we’ve seen to use customer service to reinforce brand identity.

Know Your Customer

Yes, this is business 101, but it is still one of the big ones. Having a customer-focused brand means tailoring the brand not to your needs but to those of your customers.

Know Your Team

Everyone in your organization should see themselves as involved in customer service. But are any of you clear on what amazing customer service really is? The best way to find out is to ask, to have workshops, to listen to your team’s ideas, needs and even complaints.

Embrace Social Media

You will want to meet your customers where they are. And, more often than not, that will be on social media. You will need to make sure the web design of your site is responsive to the needs of your customers. It has to be mobile-friendly, and allow for interaction via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Take advantage of the innovations in terms of messaging apps, tagging and live streaming to name a few.

Whether online, on some of the many social networking channels or face-to-face, customer service is the backbone of a successful business. Your brand identity should be rooted in how you treat your customers. To get it right, you will want to involve everyone in your team as well as your customers.

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