Seiche Sanders' portraitIn his 2002 book, A New Brand World, Scott Bedbury — the architect of the celebrated Starbucks and Nike brands — defined “brand identity”:

“A brand is the sum of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the off strategy. It is defined by your best product as well as your worst product...It is defined by the accomplishments of your best employee — the shining star in the company who can do no wrong — as well as by the mishaps of the worst hire that you ever made.”

In essence, a company’s “brand” is based less on the company’s products and services than it is on the customer’s “experience” — the cumulative result of each and every interaction they have with your company and your employees.

This month’s cover story, “Your Corporate Identity,” explores the importance of a calculated brand strategy for janitorial supply distributors. Writer Becky Mollenkamp points out that branding is just as critical for small businesses as it is for large corporations — maybe even more so. She then details five methods for improving your brand image so that it creates maximum impact with your customers.

“A company’s brand is the equivalent of a fingerprint — everyone has one,” says Nick Spallone, general manager of Tahoe Supply Co., in the article. The “fingerprint” Spallone referenced serves as inspiration for this month’s cover design. The image clearly reflects the story’s theme: that your brand is unique to you. Just make sure you’re making the right impression.

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This month, we also feature our annual guide to ISSA/INTERCLEAN® — the seminars, speakers and show events you don’t want to miss. This year, it’s back to the Midwest — Chicago, specifically — just a stone’s throw away from our own sweet home, Milwaukee. If you’re attending the show, please stop by our booth, #524, to talk with SM’s editors. Each year, we look forward to the opportunity to chat with you face-to-face about the industry.