Livery Failure

Starbucks Livery Van


Taking every opportunity to promote your company is important. It ensures that even if it doesn’t immediately compel a potential customer to connect with you, it helps serve as a reenforcement of your brand.

In the image above you can see how those charged with the livery design of these Starbucks vans got it somewhat wrong… or is it a potential blessing given how popular this picture has become? We don’t even need the ‘tarb’ to know who this is – and hat doft to those who got the logo design right from the get-go.

However, there are plenty of times when the livery can bite you on the backside. Whether it’s the on your vehicles, on your staff uniforms, or even on your promotional packaging (think supermarket shopping bags hooked on trees), you can’t always control the way your brand is perceived.

Earlier this year I was driving through a nearby town. I had to stop suddenly on the main road behind a queue of traffic as we witnessed a builder’s van break and the driver and his passenger angrily jump out to then start banging on the side doors of the car immediately behind it. Regardless of what caused them to break, it was their reaction that intimidated me.

As they jumped back in their van I realised that the way they conducted themselves influenced how I viewed the company that was plastered across their doors and side panels. Businesses throughout the world pride themselves on the standards of service their staff provide so what I witnessed had an inverse effect with the same (if not more) impact.

If you have staff that are responsible for the success of your brand, they must realise the importance of the way they conduct themselves in the eye of the public. As a young student we were reminded by our Headmistress of the importance of acting properly when in uniform as we represented the school. Things haven’t changed as adults either. Here are a few ways staff can negatively impact your brand:

  1. Answer the phone mid conversation with their colleagues;
  2. Failure to make eye-contact when engaging in face-to-face dialogue;
  3. Wear clothing or uniform with company livery in public and act outside of the business’ code of conduct;
  4. Communicate offensive messaging that contradicts company policy in the public domain i.e. Twitter and Facebook accounts – especially if linked in any way to them professionally such as LinkedIn;
  5. Anti-social driving that undermines the Highway Code and other drivers on the road;
  6. Out of office conversations with their colleagues and friends in public spaces where clients and prospects are in ear shot

It is easy to read your staff the riot act should they fail to meet your standards but it is equally important to understand why they would make the choice to negate your brand. Be sure to take a constructive approach when dealing with these matters but stamp it out before it becomes a bigger problem.

Your turn!

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