Build a 5-star brand

June 18, 2018 -  By

Five-star brand figure. Image copyright Jeffrey ScottSome companies rely too much on a strong business developer, pay-per-click or social media for their growth. These tactics help you grow, but long-term growth is driven by a powerful brand reputation.

Branding starts by aligning marketing and sales, but it’s much more than that. The expectations set by your sales team must be successfully fulfilled by operations. Operations must be able to meet and exceed clients’ expectations.

At its core, branding is what people say about you behind your back. In other words, how good your entire company does its job. Someone in your firm (CEO, COO) must connect the dots between marketing, sales and operations to ensure you achieve a five-star brand reputation.

What you do and how you do it

There are five critical elements of brand building based on operational excellence. You must excel in all five.

1. Quality makes up just one-fifth of your brand impression. Of course it’s important, but it’s just the price of admission to make it on the short list. You won’t win in the long run if quality is your only focus.

2. The workflow process is critical; clients care about how the work gets done. I once had a client tell me, “Your quality is fantastic, but your process stinks.” Ouch, that was hard to hear, and I never forgot it. Your process needs to be easy on your clients.

3. Customer service attitudes of all employees are critical. It requires both good systems and training on those systems. Some employees mistakenly think, “The customer is getting in the way of doing my job.” Therefore, customer service attitudes must be built into your values and systems at all levels and be continually reinforced.

4. Warranty and work mistakes inevitably happen. It’s how you make your client feel during the warranty process that makes all the difference. One of my clients once told me during a focus group, “You don’t make me feel dumb when I have a complaint; I really appreciate that about your company.” Your warranty and mistake-fixing process must convey respect and be speedy to build up a five-star reputation.

5. The details are perhaps the most important element within operations—getting the little things done right. Removing the little thorn in your client’s side quickly and painlessly is what creates repeat clients. This approach includes things like picking up a small piece of garbage stuck in a bed, handling small nuisance plantings for existing clients, cleaning up the job site every evening and documenting and handling a client’s recurring instruction.

How do you measure up? See the figure, “Do you have a five-star brand?” to measure your company’s brand performance.

But can you execute?

As my father (and most important mentor) taught me many years ago, “All companies make great promises, but few will follow through on those promises. And fewer still will do so year after year. So don’t obsess about other companies—just worry about your own performance. Over time, others will give up and fall away.”

With grit and determination, be prepared to take it the distance, and you will achieve a five-star brand.

Graphic: Jeffrey Scott 

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Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit

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