How is your centre’s brand doing?
Our branding team say that a brand is very much like a person. Look at it like an additional staff member, responsible for communicating everything about your business to the outside world. When was the last time you gave this ‘staff’ member a workplace review… Is it being lazy? Not working properly? Just along for the staff drinks on a Friday? Do you need to give it the sack and find a more professional replacement? Or perhaps it needs a raise?
When you look at a brand like this, the invisible aspects of branding become easier to assess. Once you have assessed where your brand is positioning itself, and how, you can then formulate a plan of attack to position yourself better and improve virtually every aspect of your business.
Here are 7 signs your childcare brand needs some attention…
Customers refer to your business by its location, not its name.
Are you “the childcare centre down Fairy Lane Rd” or “it’s the centre next to Aldi”? This kind of language indicates that your brand is not being referred to by name. Oh dear. All that work deciding your name and nobody knows or cares to remember it. It’s a sure sign your name is not being associated with your service and that is a branding boo-boo!
You wonder if you have a cone of silence around communications!
Do you find you have to send multiple notifications about the same thing, find that nobody responds to your emails, nobody visits your website, basic rules and regulations are not understood, communication channels are multiple and varied. You have more signage than a shopping centre and still… People. Don’t. Get. It! If you are wondering about the intelligence of your customers, or if you speak a foreign language… stop! Your brand’s communication is not working.
You feel like your image is stuck in the 80s.
Does your signage look tired, and no amount of painting touch ups will help it. Does it look like an 80 year old doing fancy dress on bingo day. Drab? Gaudy? Too busy? Take a good hard look at your brand’s personality (the kind of look you get in a swimsuit changeroom – you know, the ones with the mirrors and lights you hate!) and try imagine what kind of a stereotype it would match. Who is it? What does it look like? Are you an edgy twenty year old? Or a teen? Corporate goddess? Domestic frump? It helps to characterise brands to get a handle on where you are and where you need to be.
You have no word of mouth referrals.
Generally, a business with a thriving brand experiences strong word of mouth referrals. It should be your strongest marketing arm and a really good indication of how well your brand is doing in your industry.
Your price point doesn’t reflect your service quality.
You work your fingers to the bone, you care and are passionate about your business, you are great at what you do and yet, you feel like nobody fully appreciates you and you aren’t charging what you’re worth. This is a branding issue. Good branding can raise the impression of value for a business and facilitate appropriate charging. Louis Vuitton handbags are in themselves no more functional than Guess bags, they carry goodies, they come in different colours and fabrics… it is the Louis Vuitton brand that sets it apart as a sophisticated luxury item. This allows them to charge many times the cost of a company like Guess.
Staff don’t seem proud to walk in the door. Their uniforms look shabby. They have a careless attitude about grooming. Their workspace looks unkept.
Alarm bells should be ringing! Your staff are brand ambassadors. They are the human face of your business. If they are not upholding your brand values, you need to take some immediate action.
You’re not sure what your point of difference is.
Uh-oh. This is the ‘little engine that could’ where it comes to your marketing. It’s the “why” in the choosing process. Have a good think about what you do that’s different to the centre down the road, then work on communicating that. Everywhere.