Fast Company

Cost Cutting Choices are Cutting Brands Short

You do that without knowing it. You have a favorite restaurant, club, or gym based upon intangibles. You really like it there because it gives you that something extra you have come to expect of that place.

What would you do if that something were to disappear? As businesses face hard times, they may be forced into making tough decisions. A restaurant may stop carrying that red wine you so liked. The local gym has now installed machines to dispense towels.

Relationships, however, are not among the many things that can beautomated. Some of the easy, cost-cutting choices businesses make today will impact their bottom line tomorrow. How do you know which initiatives will save you and which ones will cost you in the long run?

The key is knowing what kind of business you want to be in. If you are in the "offering a place to escape the frantic daily grind" business, your brand delivery must follow your brand communication. Take for example luxury hotels. Why would you charge a premium to give your guests an Internet connection when they are already paying one to stay at your place?

Last year I stayed at an upscale hotel and discovered that not only I had to pay a small fortune each day on the wireless connection, I also needed to pay high fees if I wanted to use the gym. Furthermore, I
would get a discount only if I committed to go three days in a row ormore. You know that if you are attending a conference your schedule maybe at odds with the organizers'. That nixed the proposition for me.

A few years ago we were talking about delighting customers. Today we are lucky if we receive the level of service we paid for. Yet we all know as consumers that the brands we will buy again are those that
deliver on what they promise. Why the disconnect?

Yes, it might be a series of intangibles that keep you there - the reason why you love that place, product or service. When you walk away though, they suddenly become tangible losses for the business that
loses you.

Now think about your business and what sets it apart for your customers. Whatever that is, learn to appreciate it and cultivate it. When you choose what kid of brand your business wants to be and behave
that way, you create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In case you're wondering why this might be innovative, ask yourself how many businesses do it. It's not old if it hasn't been done!

Valeria Maltoni . Conversation Agent

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