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The Sharpest Tool™

Creating a Positive Brand Experience to Land More Customers

Cheryl McRae
Josh Smith
Peter Harabedian is the Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Scorpion. Daily, he works with a team to market the agency, execute initiatives, and support the acquisition of new business, with a focus on delivering an outstanding brand experience.

Josh Smith (00:03):

Hello, and welcome to the sharpest tool where we take the sting out of marketing. My name is Joshua Smith. I'll be your host today, and I'm really excited cause we're cooking up some really good information to share with you all today. And I have Peter Hermida here in the booth, uh, our vice president of corporate marketing. Uh, why don't you give our listeners a little inside scoop as to what a vice president of corporate marketing does Dana Dow what's your day look like? Yeah.

Peter Harabedian (00:25):

Yeah. So we have to distinguish, because we're all at a marketing agency here at scorpion. So the corporate marketing is basically the department that does the marketing for the agency. Yeah. So my role is basically from an operational sense to execute on a lot of the initiatives that we're doing as a company and making sure they get done.

Josh Smith (00:44):

Um, awesome. And you support, I assume the acquisition of a lot of new business to scorpion is that how that works

Peter Harabedian (00:50):

Exactly the acquisition of new business, making sure our current clients are, are happy and getting value out of what we're doing.

Josh Smith (00:57):

So today we're talking about a really interesting topic. I think it's very, uh, apropos for today's marketplace and that is the brand experience. You know, we've talked a little bit about branding on this show, but never really about the positive experience that you can get with a brand or that, that you can create more importantly, how to create it. I think a lot of our business owners listening, they're like, yeah, I hear all this talk about brand and branding and experiences and things. I don't really know how to go about it. I'm just, I know I'm plumber. I like being in the field and that sort of thing. But how do I think with this stuff? So let's kind of step back, just broad, broad perspective here. What's branding in a nutshell,

Peter Harabedian (01:32):

In a nutshell, branding is what people are saying about you or your business when you leave the room. Okay. It's that thing that lasts or even shows up before you do on scene somewhere from a business perspective, also in a personal perspective, you have your own brand and it's a function of how that lives in people's minds. That's, that's the key

Josh Smith (01:53):

Interesting. And how much of that is controlled or dictated by you as the business owner versus the consumer setting, that tone you have

Peter Harabedian (02:02):

As a business owner, but then it's also how you carry those things out. And everyone, obviously all your customers are going to be different in how they respond or how they react to your service that you're providing, but it's then how you respond even in those situations that leaves that legacy of your brand.

Josh Smith (02:17):

Sure. Yeah. Is there a psychology behind this at all? It sounds very kind of a theorial stuff that you can't necessarily always quantify, but yeah,

Peter Harabedian (02:24):

I think a lot of times people see brand is your logo or the colors that you're using and that's definitely an aspect of it, but it's also, you know, what happens when someone calls in their time of need and their, their air conditioning's out or what's that experience like on the phone for them? Does the technician show up on time? Do they make the person feel like they can trust the mother there? Do they leave the house a mess when they, after they leave or, you know, those are all aspects of someone's Brandon's and everyone is equally as important. Okay.

Josh Smith (02:55):

Okay. Is there a, there's a, is there a psychology factor behind when it comes to marketing the psychology of the consumer, putting yourself in the consumers brainwave, so to speak, why is that so important

Peter Harabedian (03:06):

To a certain degree? As I see it, as you know, there's, everyone's obviously heard of ways to persuade people, but I see it as a form of Pre-Suasion. So your brand, you want to try and get in people's minds ahead of time. So for example, you have to look at different stereotypes of what might be in your industry. For example, if you're a plumber, what, what stereotypes are out there that a consumer might be feeling as they're looking at, who to call in that time of need. And so maybe your brand, if the stereotype is that the plumbing industry has different elements that are dirty or things that people don't want to deal with, or just that they don't want to be a part of. Then your brand can almost be a thing of sitting their minds at ease and making things clean. And maybe from a visuals perspective, your, your website is as a very clean, minimal look. So it's to kind of counteract what someone might be thinking that they're going to get, sure,

Josh Smith (03:54):

I want to tie this. I just had an interesting thought of the food market, just this I, this idea of brand and the psychology behind it. Organic, is it a thing or isn't it, or is that just a branding perception that food companies have put out there to sell more, make it look and appeal to a broader audience? That's trying to get healthier food options.

Peter Harabedian (04:18):

Yeah. Oh, it's definitely, I'm a marketing ploy or things like gluten-free and things like that. When you start seeing gluten-free on things that never had gluten to begin with, but it's a marketing place, anything with organic, and it's funny come to find out organic means by law, something different in every single state. So organic in California is very different from organic in Texas. You can't really come to expect something unless you know, where that's been certified organic, which is kind of a funny thing.

Josh Smith (04:44):

Well, what are the, some of the marketing psychological traits I've heard reciprocity thrown out before people building that trust the different things that humans interact with on a database day-to-day basis? What are some of those that you deal with in the marketing space that are really important and relevant?

Peter Harabedian (05:01):

It's definitely something you want to do. You can only create a first impression once, right? And so making sure that first impression is something that is going to give the customer a look into what they're going to be experiencing with you on a regular basis, and it can work in your favor and it also work to your detriment in terms of how that comes across. If it comes across as a positive experience, then that will cover a certain amount of mistakes that come out later on. And if it's negative in the beginning, it takes a lot more to try and cover that up later on, even if it was a mistake. So some of the things that we incidents, we always try and come up with a, what we call a uniquely striking impression or a USI for different things. And that's to create that first impression. And so it's a marketing tactic that we use to really cut through the noise of different marketing messages that might be out there. And it can be anything as long as it's unique and it strikes through to the person that you're sending it to. And it works very well. And it does, it gives, it sets the tone for that first impression. And it makes that phone call a little bit easier. And afterwards, who do

Josh Smith (05:57):

You usually send those out? Are these people who have been exposed to the business before brand new products?

Peter Harabedian (06:02):

These are brand new prospects generally, or, but it can also be people that have received something in the past. It's it's, again, it's something that's just unique and striking. And so what we do is we will do a highly targeted based on the person that we're sending to and something that they would really enjoy. But also if it's something that, where we made a mistake on something, and we really want to show that we don't take that lightly, we will send a uniquely striking impression or what we call a USI to kind of get back their trust on different things. How would you say

Josh Smith (06:30):

Psychology affects the impression that your brand makes on

Peter Harabedian (06:34):

Up consumer? I mean, it's everything. Branding is psychology. It's, it's, what's, that's reserved spot in someone's mind for that area. And it's hard to share with other brands at the same industry. It's like I have. And when I think of my sports team, that sports teams logo comes up in my mind, and that is my football association. That's the brand that I go to, same thing for my plumber, my electrician, I have a certain part of my brain dedicated to that brand. And it's hard to shake, but once you do shake it, then you're able to kind of replace it with something else. So that's the, that's the, the goal is to have your brand for whatever business you do to control that spot in someone else's brain. So that it's harder for your competition to take that out of their minds as well. Got it. Okay.

Josh Smith (07:20):

And storytelling, how does that fall into this? Why storytelling important?

Peter Harabedian (07:24):

So storytelling is something that is crucial. It's become even more popular lately. It's become almost like an organic type thing as we were at, like we were talking about. Yeah. But true storytelling. It really taps into people's emotions and where it really comes from is throughout human history stories have been the largest form of communication there has been. Yeah. And it's an effective way of teaching as well. And so with stories, your brain on average spends about 30% of its day. Daydreaming thinks you're testing, which is really interesting, but what's even more interesting is that you don't do any daydreaming when you're watching a movie because your mind is engaged in that story. And it's the same thing. It's why we spend millions upon millions of dollars and for the entertainment industry, because we like people telling the stories. And so to do that as a business helps you to engage with your customers or your prospects in a much greater sense, because now you've, you're creating an emotional tie with them, as well as an educational, Ty

Josh Smith (08:26):

Certain stories that resonate with people more so than other stories.

Peter Harabedian (08:31):

Well, it, it, it's gonna be different for everyone. It's going to be, if that person's story that I'm listening to or hearing about as similar to my own, that's the one that it's going to resonate with me. So it's understanding how you're doing storytelling with your brand really depends on who your audience is, who your target audience is and what pains they might experience in or roadblocks they might encounter in, in coming to you in the first place. And then knocking those down with the stories that you tell are those testimonials. And that's really what the testimonial is, right? It's a story that someone else tells on your behalf. And it's, um, as I'm sure most listeners will agree, those are the people that have come to their business through hearing about it through someone else is a lot more powerful than any marketing message that we could send.

Josh Smith (09:13):

Um, people that identify with themselves, people do business with like people, right? First of a feather flock together. I think that's so true. And the, the branding aspect, how would you say that it actually like impacts the customer experience positively or negatively? If you have a positive brand association versus a negative brand association, what impacts do those have in the experience that a new customer might have?

Peter Harabedian (09:36):

What's something to keep in mind is no matter what, whether you think you have a brand or not, you have a brand, and whether you are being intentional about it or not, it's creating a positive experience for people where it's creating a negative experience. So you need to be purposeful about it, first of all, and be purposely trying to go with that positive brand experience. And what that will do is that sticks in that person's mind. It reinforces the trust that they have going with your service or your company, and then it makes them more likely to come back in the future and how that relates to experience. It's, it's kind of interesting as well. Customer experience has been terrible for a lot of companies, and it seems like the companies that start doing it right, are the ones that truly succeed and their brands succeed as well and stand out in people's minds as a result of it.

Peter Harabedian (10:22):

So people not really caring, you know, you think of some of these big companies and, you know, you have some sort of issue and you call them, you just, it creates even more frustration and anger a lot of times. And so creating a solid experience really reinforces that brand image in that person's mind. Yeah. There was something that happened, a case study that happened. I think it was a Hilton hotel. Did these, these case studies and what they did is they had people come to their hotel and they gave people one to three experiences. They gave them top notch experience. You know, they upgraded them to a suite. They, you know, did all these extra things for them. Then there's people, they didn't do anything for. And then they also did gave people an experience where they had issues, but then resolve those issues for them.

Peter Harabedian (11:09):

And they found that customer loyalty was the highest among the people, not the people that they gave an incredible experience to, but the ones that they gave a terrible experience to, but then fixed for them. And that's so crucial because people want to know that you are going to do what you say. You're going to do that they can trust you, and that you're going to fix it. Because at the end of the day, they're looking for peace of mind on whatever they're trying to get done. If their sink explodes on them, if their air conditioning unit goes out, they, they're not skilled to do that. The fixed, something like that, they just know that they're hot or there's water everywhere, and they just want it fixed. And whoever can do that for them and give them a good experience in the process. We'll win.

Josh Smith (11:49):

I wanna go back to the uniquely striking impression that you mentioned. I think that's a little foreign, probably to a lot of our listeners who may never heard of that before. They've never thought with that before. How does a home service business develop a uniquely striking impression when marketing to a customer? What are some potential avenues they could go down?

Peter Harabedian (12:09):

That's a tricky question because it really is based on what everyone's doing in the industry already, because the main point of it besides creating that first impression is also cut through noise. Cause Garrett, be rest assured that you are not the only one marketing to your potential clients for your services. You've got competitors out there doing the same exact thing. So biggest thing is how to differentiate yourselves and make yourself stand out from the other ones. It could be something small you have, like for the plumber you have like the Mike diamond that focuses on these smell. Good plumbers. Yeah. That's an aspect, but people remember it because it's a differentiator. Now have people ever really complained about, oh, my plumber smells bad, but they've created a brand around that and it's caused them to stand out for something that might not be a big deal for people, but it's still, it's a differentiator. The big part of that is knowing who your customer is. And at the end, even at its most a specific subgroup or subset of your customer base, you know, find those, those 10 ideal customers and then expand from there. Don't just say, oh, I want to hit every residential household and never, I mean, there's so many different avenues there, but it's, it's knowing who your customer is and knowing how to get to them.

Josh Smith (13:22):

Yeah, absolutely. That's extremely vital. And so how does one make a strong first impression in person versus the marketing? See you got in front of them in front of their house. What are some ways that home service businesses can actually make a strong first impression when they meet him in person?

Peter Harabedian (13:38):

Yeah. I mean, again, going against the different stereotypes that may exist. Sure. And I think a big thing for in the service industry, especially the home service industry is creating peace of mind. The people that are calling you because they've got an issue and an issue that's probably uncomfortable in some, in some, your brother, they, the lights aren't on, whether the AC is not working where the, the, the toilet's backed up, whatever they're having an issue and they just want to resolve and they want it resolved quickly. So showing up on the scene and giving them peace of mind that you're going to take care of it is huge. And then following through on that and making them feel like, you know what, you guys don't have to do anything, go, you know, go sit in a pool somewhere. And when you come back, it'll be fixed type of thing.

Peter Harabedian (14:17):

And also it seems like a big thing is, is trust in general. And just like you're in my house working on something, unless you want me to walk, you know, standing over your shoulder the entire time. Like, are you, are you taking something from my house? Are you scoping it out, making them feel at ease in that sense as well is a big thing. And you know, a lot of people that are going to be, you know, probably listening to this are probably the, the home service owner, the business owner. And, but it's something you have to teach to your technicians as well, because they are your biggest marketers, as scary as that may sound for some of you, you have to be intentional about teaching them how to respond to certain situations because there are your first and last impression on a customer. So that's important as well. Yeah,

Josh Smith (15:03):

Yeah. That last impression I think is crucial too. So maybe we could talk about just in closing here a little bit about the importance of the follow-up, what happens after the job's done? How important is that in creating a long lasting impression or is it all upfront? Is it all that first impression that matters?

Peter Harabedian (15:20):

No. I mean, anything you can do to show that you care that you genuinely care about their situation goes a long way. Even if, you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what you did fix their problem, and it's no longer an issue, give them a call a week later. Hey, wanted to check in with you and see how that was, was doing. Also want to see how my technician did for you. Did he do a good job? Did he leave your area clean? I want to make sure that, you know, we're giving you guys the best experience that something like that goes a long, long way, and it's big, especially coming from the business owner themselves. Oh yeah. You know, I know this, this owners are always strapped for time, but it's huge. Um, I was just reading an article recently about sir Richard Branson, Virgin first-class people.

Peter Harabedian (16:00):

When they're flying into Heathrow, they're actually given a limo to go to their destination in London. Oh wow. As part of just flying on the plane and what he'll do is at random, he'll call that limo and ask the driver to be hand to hand the phone back to the person in there. And so imagine you just got him on an airplane in the London. All of a sudden you've got to call it. Yeah. It's a Richard Branson on the phone for you. Of course it is. Yeah. And he'll just, he'll ask them what their experience was like. Yeah. And he uses it not in a way to, just so he can find out all the negative things they experienced, but also he uses it as a way to praise and encourage the flight attendants that may have done something really well or the pilots, things that he may have never have heard of if that hadn't happened.

Peter Harabedian (16:40):

So it's a, it's a way to always get that feedback and use. We see it all the time. Now these surveys, these satisfaction surveys that go around and no one ever really fills those things out, but now you've called them. You're checking in on the status of the job and making sure they're happy and that the service provided was well received. And now on top of that, you're also getting a little bit of a survey and Hey, how did it go for you? I want to make sure there's something we can improve on for you.

Josh Smith (17:05):

Well, Peter, this has been awesome. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk about this.

Peter Harabedian (17:10):

Absolutely. I'm glad to do it. Well, thank you so much,

Josh Smith (17:12):

Peter. We'll definitely have you back in here next time. Awesome. Awesome. For all of you, uh, listening, and if you're enjoying the content here, hit that subscribe button wherever you're at. So you can get more of this awesome content. And from all of us here at the sharpest tool, we will catch you next time. Thanks.

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