You've had a dreadful start. You drank too much Merlot last night working late in the kitchen. You woke up dehydrated. Your daughter threw a wobbly about going to her new swimming class. Your day needed to recover and become a lot better.
Now you know how I felt when I went into the Leisure Centre on the north side of Cork City. You can imagine how easy it was to upset me - I was not in good form.
So what? It only takes one good experience to wipe out all the rubbish & change the day. We're like that - humans can recover from bad mood.
The Leisure Centre has a fine pool, the swimming instructors are friendly & good, the man who cleans up is a decent human being who does his best to help people. The foundations of a good brand are in place.
You can guess what happened next.
It was bloody awful. And to make things worse - it was bloody awful again. Every single time I go to that Leisure Centre I get cross, even furious.
Because they can't organise the changing cubicle experience. It's not only a mess, it drives people mad. No one likes it. People leave their kid's clothes in cubicles - unattended. So there are loads of cubicles empty of people while kids shiver outside. While I swear to myself feeling helpless.
Every single Saturday morning is the same. Oh, there are signs that advise people "staff may remove any unattended bags". But that never happens. That Leisure World experience is consistently awful for me - and probably everyone else.
Is this the brand?
It sure is. Your brand is everything about you. You can have all the fancy colours, pretty pictures, strap lines, mission statements, value statements etc - but if you consistently deliver a rotten experience in any part of your operations - you have a crap brand.
You are as strong as your weakest link - the cliché goes.
As a customer, I like the swimming pool & the staff
- but I hate the management. That abstraction - the management - is the problem. I can't be bothered telling anyone about what it was like this morning except how dreadful the leader of that business is. How I'd prefer go to the dentist than take my daughter swimming there. And, if there was another option close by, I'd go there - even if the roof was leaking.
Thank goodness for Bakestone.
The Bakestone breakfast of eggee bread, streaky bacon & maple syrup is great. I'm recovering while I love the food. Soon I'll be in much better humour. I'll be better company. No crappy leisure centre can destroy my day.
Some people find "branding" difficult to understand.
Some people won't even use the word. But we all know a lousy experience when we're given it. We all know what we want. We want a promise of good service to be delivered. We want that delivery more than fancy logos & empty meaningless words.
More meaningful marketing - proper branding - is simple. Sort the mess out today.