It’s a word we hear every day of our lives. BRAND. From the moment you wake up, eat your Cheerios and drink your PG Tips, you are bombarded with brand names and the all important brand messages they represent.
I have a true passion for branding, I live and breathe logos, mission statements and brand identities. I know I’m a total branding geek, but in a modern world that is over-saturated with brands, I believe it’s important to understand how and why we behave the way we do towards certain companies and products – and more importantly if their brand messages are ones I agree with and want to spend my hard earned money on.
I was lucky enough to attend a seminar with John Roberts of AO.com yesterday, where he took part in a “Fireside Chat” with the lovely Theo Paphitis. Now, I’ve bought a lot of appliances in my life. I’ve moved home more times than a hermit crab. Some of them have been from AO.com, but some have been from Curry’s and other highstreet stores – basically, wherever had a sale on.
So what I’m here to tell you about is why I will never buy an appliance from anywhere but AO.com in the future – and that reason is their brand values.
Listening to John was a fantastic experience. A lad from Bolton, done good. Done really good. He was humble, smart and refreshingly honest. To watch someone so “normal” as the co-founder of such a successful company is fantastic – so often small businesses can feel lost amongst the big fish, but people like John stand for everything us small businesses do.
One of the most profound things that stood out to me about John and the company ethos was the three rules that AO.com call centre staff are given.
1) Treat every customer like they were your Gran
2) If you told your mum what decisions you’d made at work, make sure she’d be proud of you
3) Call handlers are given total control over putting a problem right. If a customer calls with an issue, they don’t have to speak to management to put it right – they can use their common sense to offer compensation and assistance – with NO financial constraints from management.
In a nutshell, AO.com represents a man that truly cares about his customers. A man that still reads every letter in regards to the problems a customer experienced. A man that gives up a Friday to come and talk about his life to a group of entrepreneurs like me (unpaid). A company that treats their employees with respect, and nurtures a team and a positive company culture. In turn, we as customers receive their passion, care and attention and a great customer journey from start to finish. To me, that’s the core of a great company – and I’m now an AO.com’er for life.
Like John, I have a true love for my brand. Casa Lola is my baby, a part of my soul, and every aspect of the brand matters to me. I strive to provide you with an amazing customer journey – when you buy from Casa Lola it’s so much more than a product. It’s a community and an experience. I’ve created so much more than a brand, it’s become a family of people who love to smile. My customers are amazing – they come back again and again because they love the products, but more importantly, they love the feel good emotions that come with Casa Lola.
I never switch off from Casa Lola, and that isn’t because I’m a workaholic, it’s because I AM Casa Lola. It’s not a job, it’s who I am.
There’s so much positivity across the brand, because I’ve been that person that has battled depression. I’ve been that person that has felt like they can’t go through another day. Life’s tough – we have a lot to contend with, and sometimes it’s hard to see the positives on a dark day. The bright, vibrant style of Casa Lola is born from colourways that are designed to pick you up subconsciously. The positive phrases that feature on products are designed to act as affirmations that will have a positive impact on your mindset everyday without you even realising. It’s all about the subliminal messaging, which in fact, is ultimately what a brand is.
What your brand SAYS is more important than any product. The values that you stand for as a company founder are more important than what the colour of your logo says.
From the moment you decide to start a business, make sure you’re set on what your brand means to you, and more importantly, make sure you never forget it.