Marketing Maestro – Make your brand work
Brian H Meredith reminds us that a brand relationship is driven by the sum total of every behaviour, however large or small, that your organisation engages in. So, the logo is great; the visual identity programme that brings the logo to life is in place. That’s it. Brand done. Really? But you do know […]
Brian H Meredith reminds us that a brand relationship is driven by the sum total of every behaviour, however large or small, that your organisation engages in.
So, the logo is great; the visual identity programme that brings the logo to life is in place. That’s it. Brand done.
But you do know (don’t you?), that your brand is so much more than its visual identity.
But then, perhaps, many businesses still don’t know that. Based on what we see and experience as customers of those businesses.
If the logo and visual identity is in place, can you now articulate the identity, character and personality of your brand? Does the majority of the people in your organisation know, understand and support that articulation? Is it reflected, in a planned manner, in everything that they say and do?
No? Then there is work to be done.
Once your business or organisation has established its brand character and personality, it needs to work with the entire staff (and all other stakeholder groups) to develop and implement plans for that character and personality to come alive and be apparent in everything the organisation says and does.
For example, if your brand promotes itself as a sophisticated, intelligent, skilled and experienced set of professionals in some field (maybe law, accounting etc) but your premises are shabby, your receptionist speaks poor English and your partners keep clients waiting then, clearly, your brand is a sham.
In fact, it’s not a sham because a Brand is defined not by you but by what your marketplace thinks and says about it. They will share their experience or perception with others.
So let’s step back a bit. Before you develop an articulation of your brand, make sure you speak to each of your stakeholder groups and get them to define it. Then identify those elements that fall short of, or are different to, what they tell you and fix or redevelop them.
Only then can you truly develop and implement your brand strategy.
The SAS example
“In the early 1980s, the time when Jan Carlzon took over the helm of SAS, the airline was facing large financial difficulties, losing $17 million per annum and had an international reputation for always being late. A 1981 survey showed that SAS was ranked number 14 of 17 airlines in Europe when it came to punctuality. Furthermore, the company had a reputation for being a very centralised organisation, where decisions were hard to come by to the detriment of the customers, the shareholders and staff. He revolutionised the airline industry through an unrelenting focus on customer service quality.”
Working with the entire team throughout the world, Carlzon and his team identified that the airline had 50,000 “moments of truth” every 24 hours. These moments of truth were every contact that passengers (and others) had with the airline – reservations, check-in, boarding, food and beverage service, and so on.
Their problem was that the outcomes of these moments of truth were left to chance so the experience and perception of the SAS brand was chaotic.
The result? SAS developed and implemented a strategy where, working with their stakeholder groups, they identified what the outcomes of each moment of truth should be and put plans in place to ensure that this occurred. Big moments. Little moments. Nothing left to chance.
The result? The customer experience with SAS was revolutionised resulting in a powerful and motivating airline brand that turned itself around on every level in a very short time.
The story can be read in Jan Carlzon’s book Moments of Truth.
Delivering on the promise
The concept of a brand together with CEM (Customer Experience Management) must come together in a way that, simply, offers a promise and then delivers it. Time after time.
Too many businesses have marketing teams that create sophisticated marketing communications campaigns where a view of the brand is reflected in those campaigns. But the rest of the organisation, all too often, does not reflect it at all. This results in, at best, sub-optimisation of performance, and worst, business failure.
If your brand has characteristics that include “responsible, reliable, safe” etc. (for example, an engineering firm) and one of your liveried vehicles drives like a maniac on a cold, wet, busy Friday afternoon, the Brand is simply not credible.
If your Big Mac looks great in the picture but the reality is rubbish, your Brand is damaged.
If your marketing communications material includes largely hidden Terms & Conditions which will irritate the customer once they find out about them, then your brand is damaged.
A brand relationship is driven by the sum total of every behaviour, however large or small, that your organisation engages in. So, work with your stakeholders to decide what you would like it to be and then follow Jan Carlzon’s wisdom and implement it – moment of truth by moment of truth.
Yes, it’s hard work, but it will transform your brand and your business’s performance.