It's common sense that we like to do business with people we trust and feel comfortable around. One of the keys to building trust and rapport with people we communicate with is congruence. Congruence means that stuff matches up.
Imagine a man, fists balled up, red in the face. He turns to you, leans close and at the top of his lungs yells, "I am NOT angry!" Do you believe him? Probably not, because his words and behavior are incongruent - they don't match up. In fact you may have witnessed scenes like this in comedic movies. Comedy writers use incongruency and irony to generate laughs.
Let's look at how this applies to your marketing. Imagine that you go out to eat at a fine restaurant. the lighting is dim; the linen tablecloths are starched and pressed; the wait staff wears tuxedos. You go to the restroom and it's a filthy sight that rivals the neighborhood gas station. How do you feel about your meal now? Probably at least a little uncomfortable.
Congruency in your marketing and branding means that the insides match the outsides. If you brand your business as warm and friendly, you had better pay attention to how your employees answer the phone. If you sell BMWs, you had better not show up to work driving a Ford. You must intentionally communicate your brand, or you will make people uncomfortable and they will stop doing business with you.
Here's a Marketing Comet Principle: Everything you do, or do not do, is communication. You can never stop communicating. If you stop answering your phone, lock the doors, and shut the lights off - you are sending your customers a message. You had better be sure it's the message you intend.
We know this at least unconsciously. We tend to pick the clothes we wear not just because they fit and are comfortable, but because we want to present a certain look. We want to look good, or look casual, or look professional. Why? Because we know our appearance communicates for us. People judge us, unfairly or not, based on our appearance.
Intentional marketing communication starts with developing a clear brand. It's a little too complicated to go into it in this post. Branding help is available from a short, blue-eyed, and very handsome marketing coach with whom you might be familiar. Seriously, branding is extremely important for every business.
After you have a clear brand you need to look at you internal and external marketing. Internal marketing is everything that's going on inside your business from how you answer your phone, to what you and your employees wear. External marketing is all of your marketing communications - email, advertising, web site, brochures. The better the internals line up with the externals - the more congruency you communicate. The more congruency you communicate, the more comfortable people are doing business with you.
J D Moore - Marketing Comet