Is Service Branding Really That Different?
When you are developing a marketing plan for a service company, you might think that you could follow the very same steps that companies that are selling products do. But many service companies have done this at their peril. It generally doesn’t work, and for several reasons.
The primary reason why service branding is different than product branding is because your service is not a product. Your service is a relationship between you and your customer. Therefore, the most important branding that could ever be done is one that promotes trust, reliability, and other factors you would want in any relationship.
When you are looking for a relationship in business, you don’t want fun, youthful, energetic, or exciting. You want something that will be there when you need it, will always come through for you, and on whom you can depend on. Therefore, service branding should be focused on finding your particular market and figuring out exactly what will send them that message.
Service branding generally requires a lot of market research, in part because you need to determine who your market is. If you are a dentist (who provides a service), your market is not necessarily the entire town. You will find that most dentists focus on one aspect of the market – kids, older people, certain types of dentistry, or “sedation” dentistry. Simply putting a shingle up on the wall that says “Dentist” won’t cut it anymore.
Therefore, you need to determine who your market is, as precisely as possible, and then develop a sound message for them that will tell them what they want to hear. For the dentist, his or her message would be that he is gentle, affordable, caring, and experienced. This type of branding is the kind that people will remember and want to build a relationship with.