If your brand is a promise you make, then the customer experience is the fulfillment of that promise. So says Scott Glatstein, President of Imperatives, LLC, a marketing consultancy in Minnetonka, Minnesota

Customers encounter your brand in numerous ways, including products, price, advertising and marketing, sales and customer service personnel. Glatstein argues that each of these contacts, or touch points, molds the customer’s impression of the brand. Customer service is where the brand promise is executed.

“Some of these touch points are obvious, like product performance, advertising, and sales staff. Other touch points, like billing practices, may be subtler in its brand affects. The organization must design a holistic customer experience that aligns with the brand promise,” Glatstein says.

The key to activating brand strategies is taking “what” an organization wants to do and defining “how” it is going to do it. Activating a brand, he says, ensures that every employee drives the promises made to the marketplace across every customer touch point every day.

You want your customers to have the best experience possible and walk away with a good feeling. How employees project themselves by their professionalism, attitude, and even what they wear represent the company is branding. The smile on the employees faces are just as important as the logo on the front door.

To be sure, small businesses need a great value proposition that depicts the value a consumer gets from renting from them, says Drew Stevens, PhD, author of Split Second Customer Service. That value proposition, he says, must be visible through corporate collateral and customer service techniques.

“Operators must constantly network and create techniques that attract customers to their business. Do not leave this to advertising,” Stevens says. “Referrals are wonderful for building a brand. Use the 25X30X50 rule to create referrals. Contact your 25 best clients once every 30 days and do not spend more than 50 dollars to connect and thank them.”