Because Brands Matter

Studied art and fashion design at Manchester then Westminster University. In the past 15 years Colin has been part of the buying team at Burberry, an Angel Investor, corporate film and TV producer, and for the last 6 years has run his own digital agency. An online social adoptee from 2005. He’s an exhibited artist.

What makes your brand stand out from the crowd? Do you have a compelling point of difference that would make someone choose your company and its products rather than someone else’s? Do you need help to change perception by unlocking a brand’s unique point of difference?

We know that compelling creativity makes a huge difference but it is dawning more and more on our industry that it’s not the whole story and there is an opportunity for agencies to grasp and develop a new revenue stream. I’m referring to company culture.

We know that advertising can only get a brand to a certain point. If you ask most people what the ‘brand’ of the airline industry as a whole is (not any specific airline, but the entire industry), they will usually say something about bad customer service or bad customer experience. If you ask people what their perception of the car industry is today, chances are the responses you get won’t be in line with the car manufacturers project in their advertising.

So should your agency jump on this opportunity? And if its of interest how do you turn it into a new revenue stream? How do you as an agency help develop a brand culture outside of creative?

With the Internet connecting everyone together, companies are becoming more and more transparent whether they like it or not. An unhappy customer or a disgruntled employee can blog about a bad experience with a company, and the story can spread like wildfire by email or with tools like Twitter.

The good news is that the reverse is true as well. A great experience with a company can be read by millions of people almost instantaneously as well.

The fundamental problem is that you can’t possibly anticipate every possible touch point that could influence the perception of your company’s brand. For example, if you happen to meet an employee of Jack Wills at a bar, even if the employee isn’t working, how you perceive your interaction with that employee will affect how you perceive Jack Wills, and therefore the Jack Will’s brand. It can be a positive influence, or a negative influence. Every employee can affect your company’s brand, not just the front-line employees that are paid to talk to your customers.

To hammer home the brand in the right way you need to be able to influence the people throughout the business not just at the coal face – that means developing the ideal profile of the people delivering the message. Then you have to sustain that by creating a training schedule that continues to develop great customer care.

Credits : Title borrowed from my mate David Reid, the marketing expert, Jack Will’s, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, Tony Hsieh, Huffington Post article.

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