I had a sandwich the other day. It was delicious… mostly. The sauce, toppings and spices all worked together and made me crave the next bite — I won’t be buying it again. Why you ask? Well, despite the great flavor, it came on a plain ol’ hamburger bun that left me wanting more. Ciabatta, Kaiser, Panini, submarine, heck even a couple slices of rye—any of them and the restaurant could have climbed to the top of my lunch choice list, but instead they’ve dropped to the bottom.

Now I’m no food critic, so where am I going with all this? Well, there are lots of companies out there getting 90% of the marketing right, but overlooking the last 10% and leaving a bad taste in their audience’s mouth as a result.

We’ve all had these experiences. Looking up a website on our phones but abandoning it without making an order because we were sick of pinching and stretching to try and find information. Walking into a business and wondering if we’re in the right place because of the messy, stale, or vacant greeting space. Reading a piece of homespun sales collateral full of typos and wondering how this business expects you to take their bid seriously. In each case, the business had already done the heavy lifting — you’re on their website, inside their doors, evaluating their bid ­— but failed to convert by overlooking the fundamentals.

How do you know if you’ve got a bad bun chasing customers away? It all boils down to brand alignment. That is, going beyond just your promotional pieces to ensure that your people, workplace, processes, promotional material and price all reflect the brand you want to project.

So before you go and revamp your product mix, hire a new salesperson, or launch your next ad campaign, turn the lens inward and make sure that the people who are already responding are being delivered the value they expect at every touchpoint. If you do, you can be sure to land a few more clients — and I might just get a new favourite lunch spot.



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