I recently bought a new pair of running shoes. Since I’m also training for a half marathon race, the next run in my training schedule was for 13 miles.

So the first run in my new shoes was for 13 miles. Bad idea. Note to self: never, ever go on a long run when breaking in a pair of new shoes. Needless to say, I developed one heck of a blister on the outside of my left foot (yes, lots of blood was involved).

In regards to size, the blister is not all that large. Yet it is still extremely painful. It’s hard to believe that something so small (a blister) can cause such pain.

It’s the same way with brands, however. Some small things can actually cause quite a lot of damage to your brand. Do you have any brand blisters? Here are a few examples of small “blisters” that create a great deal of damage to your brand:

  • How your bathrooms smell—How your restrooms smell and how clean they are communicates something about your brand. When conducting marketing audits for clients, we routinely do the “bathroom smell test.” One of the best ways to improve your brand is to improve your bathrooms.
  • How your employees answer the phone—People can hear your smile through the phone. Your employees should answer the phone with an engaged voice. They should also answer the phone the same way (you’d be surprised at the lack of consistency we hear with phone greetings). One of the best ways to improve your brand is to improve your phone greetings.
  • How your employees dress—The first impression of your brand is often not a marketing piece but rather an employee. So how are they dressing and how do they look? Sloppy attire and poor personal grooming send the message that your bank or credit union doesn’t really care how its employees appear. One of the best ways to improve your brand is to improve your dress code.

When it comes to branding, details matter. Especially the small details. If you don’t pay significant attention to these details, then you will develop blisters. So make sure you don’t attempt a significant branding project without addressing some potential blisters.