Banish the skeletons in your brand closet

brush up your brandBranders often overlook or ignore things that can have a big impact on the impressions they make on their customers. Case in point: the coat closet.

Some organizations inadvertantly leave others with a bad taste in their mouths over their closets—or lack thereof. Here's why:

they treat the coat closet as a broom closet
While coat closets and broom closets should have very different functions and locations, some people seem to think it’s OK to store anything into the closets where guests hang their coats. Here are some examples I’ve noticed recently.

  • The members-only club that uses its coat closets to house extra tables and chairs, dusty out-of-season holiday decorations and a podium. In plain sight.
  • The event center that uses its coat closet to house a vending machine, open buckets of ice melt, brooms and extra rugs. (This closet has a bad odor as well.)

You might accept this at a truck stop or flea market. Venues where people are buying a deluxe experience should be different.

Another local venue—that also hosts paying guests—has no coat closet at all. They merely line up a few metal racks in the atrium for patrons to smush their coats together.

I’m never entirely comfortable leaving my coat there. I wonder if it will end up on the floor—or if someone will accidentally walk out the door with my lookalike trench.Coat Closet Bad BrandingA catch-all coat closet sends the wrong message about your brand. Are you listening?

the brand experience problem
In all these cases, the organizations have overlooked or ignored something that may seem inconsequential. They haven’t realized that this is an experience issue to their customers. Those customers don’t want to hang their nice coats in these places that have become ratty and untended. Left with no alternative, they do it. And they're put off.

All three of these organizations are charging a premium for their product or service. All three are working hard to attract more customers in a very competitive marketplace. So why aren’t they making sure that every customer interaction with their brand is aligned with the quality image they want to convey?

Brand dissonance is flourishing.

the skeletons in your brand closet may be frightening others
Take some time out to walk around your locations and observe how things look, smell and feel. Notice what’s in the corners, around the door frames and the ceiling.

Taking photos is a good way to see things you might overlook.

Yes, look in the closets. But don’t stop there. Check out:

  • restrooms
  • front door
  • waiting/reception area
  • parking lot

out of sight is out of mind—but only to you
Do you need to offer coat check? Do it.

Do you need air freshener and a good vacuuming in your closet? Do it.

Do you need to dust out some cobwebs and rent a storage unit? Do it.

Everything speaks. Make sure that what you mean to say is coming through at every touchpoint.

If you need help with a customer experience assessment, schedule a call with Martha here.

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