Be Better: Branding Lessons from 3 Top Retailers
Companies don’t become mega-brands by accident. They do so by realizing that a brand isn’t just marketing but rather the sum total of peoples’ experience with them. Top brands especially value their customers, listen to their feedback, and make whatever changes are necessary to maintain loyalty, even when it’s costly.
Amazon: 25+ years ago, when no one knew its name, Amazon’s stated mission was to be the “Earth’s most customer-centric company,” and to make available virtually anything people would want to buy at the lowest possible price. By coupling exceptional service with bleeding-edge technological innovation, the company has embodied its aspirations like few others. Lessons: Commit to meeting customers where they are and delivering a consistent, personalized experience. To this end, explore ways to reduce friction and make it easier to buy from you, including upgrading outdated systems and processes.
Walgreens: Facing pressure from its archrival, CVS, the retailer sought a competitive advantage in 2017 by updating its tagline to: “Walgreens: Trusted Since 1901.” What?? It’s hard to imagine a more empty or boring position. Still, one year later, Walgreens ranked as a top-five U.S. retailer, while CVS did not. Lessons: A brand comprises far more than individual branding elements. If you’ve banked enough goodwill by giving customers what they want, they’ll ignore minor marketing missteps and remain loyal.
Walmart: For years, it was perceived as a bad boss and heartless corporate killer of local mom-and-pop shops. In response, the retailer invested billions in employee wages and training programs, and made environmental sustainability a high priority. Lessons: Be real about how your brand is perceived. Poll or survey customers and employees, and be prepared to follow through on your findings.