One of the most accurate definition of branding I can remember doesn’t come from branding legends such as David Ogilvy or Leo Burnett but from Howard Schultz, from Starbuck: “…Branding is the sum of the actions taken by a company”. You may be asking yourself: “How the heck is that going to help me increase my sales during slow season?” Well, in an article published in MarketingProfs, Kimberly Smith says: “When the slow season strikes… it’s time to put some energy into pumping up your brand.”

She lists 4 actions to help you make the most of your downtimes. As Howard suggests, branding goes above and beyond simple eye candies. Branding is much more about the company’s culture in every facet of its daily operations to create an experience, while the visual aspect of it is just its graphic embodiment. In other words, the sum of your actions eventually shape the perceived value of your product, service or company, turning ordinary into extraordinary. As Marty Neumeier says in his book “The Branding Gap”, “A brand isn’t about what you say it is, it’s about what they say it is”.

The strategies suggested by Kimberly revolve around strengthening the connection with your current customers. Since we all remember the old saying “It’s far more expensive to attract more customers than keeping an old one happy”. Not only that, but Seth Godin also suggests that “…an old customer is far more likely to bring you new people via word of mouth than someone who isn’t even a customer yet.”

Kimberly highlights the achievements of one company that boosted sales by 12 percent and decreased client shrinkage by 75 percent with a program that included:

  • Meeting one-on-one with clients with the sole purpose of discovering their needs and concerns.
  • Making the executive team’s contact information available to all clients.
  • Producing competitive audits that detailed how clients might better engage their target markets.
  • Incorporating thoughtful gestures into all client-facing activities

Branding isn’t just about eye candies. In downtimes as Kinberly says, “It’s time to catch up on all the little housekeeping, brand building tasks that have been put off due to time constraints. In addition to positioning yourself for future success, you’ll likely find that exercises like these can help to keep yourself, and your staff, both busy and optimistic.”