Newspaper brandsCOMPANIES SPEND AN INCREDIBLE amount on their marketing image.  But how often do you really see a brand message that well represents what that business actually delivers?

We’re really much more interested in how they behave than how they advertise.

I had a wonderful discussion this week with a group of Christian businesspeople, and we had a chance to explore this topic.

It becomes most apparent when there’s a clear gap between words and actions.  One great example brought up was with airlines.  They all advertise as extremely focused on having a wonderful customer experience, yet … when was the last time you actually enjoyed flying?

For me, it’s been a decade.

It seems as if “customer satisfaction” is such a broad buzzword that it hardly has meaning anymore.  Everyone uses it, but few businesses seem to actually ensure they deliver it.

Another area, sadly, is ethics.

My saddest example is with a cable provider that’s well known in the US.  Despite incredible publicity around their integrity, the fact is that there’s many stories which demonstrate their shortcomings in this area.  I have my own.

In this age of incredible transparency and instant communication, you can’t fool people for long.  Customers, employees, partners … they’ll find you out.  Your credibility will be shot, likely never to be rebuilt.

Our current culture is also sensitive to whether entities which claim to be Christian really follow through on their message.  It’s not an easy path, because you’re being compared with people’s perception of Christianity, rather than your own belief.

But if you think about it, the same is true of customer service, ethics, and anything else.  You’re always being compared against others’ perceptions of those standards rather than what you declare.

I help businesses market with honesty and transparency.  If you’re looking to revitalize your approach, let’s talk!