Why you should bother with brands
The role of the marketing director and his/her department is to create and define what it is distinctive and appealing to customers about an organisation and its products and services. It is about creating distinctive value propositions for which customers will shell out more of their hard-earned money. It is about creating and building brands. Underlying this challenge is a need to understand and nurture the strengths ie assets or skills of the organisation – to reinforce a positive and distinctive impression in the customers’ minds. This requires rigorous examination, insight and analysis to understand what strengths can set the organisation apart and can be nurtured to deliver extra value.
Much is written about brands and most ignore or misunderstand the difference between a simply named products and the brand. For those who work for corporates, that’s where the marketer’s challenge often starts – with helping people understand ‘what brand means’ and ‘why bother’.
There are lots of reasons to bother; to simplify and drive customer choice and purchase, add value (brands command premiums), to provide a vehicle for uniting organisational hearts and minds, be a change culture vehicle (most relevant for service organisations) and of course, enhance shareholder value.
The management function to maximise the stand-out, and appeal of the brand is the domain of the marketer. So often in service companies, the good work of an advert in raising expectations is undermined by a surly customer service representative. So effective management of the customer or brand experience, the touch-points or encounters that the organisation has with its customers, is required. In some businesses, the range of touch-points or brand encounters can be vast and putting service at the heart of the experience is just one step on the way to achieving stand-out.
Exerting influence over these touch-points usually requires influence over many areas in the organisation that are not controlled by the marketing department. These areas may be customer facing, such as customer services, or internal such as Human Resources or finance. To bring about change in these areas will require strong communication, influencing and managing skills. You will need to build strong relationships with colleagues to win their support to help you. For example, through the HR team, you will be able to influence employee communications, the content of job objectives, job performance reviews and reward and remuneration packages.
Exerting influence over other customer-facing functions is unlikely to be an easy task. The marketing graveyard is littered with the remains of marketers who tried and failed. As well as using charm and persuasion, use your marketing technical skills to obtain hard data to support your arguments. Use research to understand how consumers perceive the touch-points, what are their expectations and if there is a shortfall between expectation and delivery. Also understand what drives or inhibits demand and loyalty and would ensure an excellent customer experience.
Do you need help to revitalise your brand? If so check out The Marketing Directors’ brand marketing consultancy . We help devise brand strategies i.e. position brands, and teach and empower teams to deliver brands.