It must be that I’m talking to more brand consultants these days because I’m starting to hear the same gripe: that marketers are often clueless that branding needs to occur across all customer interactions.
It may sound like a really simple concept but one which apparently eludes most marketers, why? It might just be that ensuring consistent branding isn’t easy considering all the minute details you have to pay attention to, or just a perception that certain functions are only meant to achieve the ‘functionality’ objective. I was talking to a brand consultant earlier today and he mentioned in passing that it was odd how many companies fork out huge sums of money to release a polished and sleek commercial which makes them look really good to customers. But when customers call into the company’s call centre or dial in to complete a telephone banking transaction, their idea and expectation of the brand (no doubt brought on by that nice commercial), and the reality of what they discover on the other end of the line can provoke a huge disappointment. “And that’s where the disconnect happens,” says the brand consultant. “What’s the use of spending so much money on the TV commercial then?”
The brand consultant also said marketers need to be cognisant of the changing environment around them, and to change with it. A phone banking system that’s five-years-old isn’t going to cut it with customers anymore -- many marketers probably only have the time to make sure that they have a system, but then don’t do anything to it or forget about it after some time. Is that still the right way of interacting with customers, can you ‘update’ the voice on the other end, put in some new music perhaps? Simplify and make the technology easier? Maybe marketers need to get out of the thinking mode where they think a function, like the company delivery guys, merely serve as a functionality when in fact, they’re are at the ‘frontline’ of your brand and have a strong influence on the image projected to customers. It’s a difficult situation: marketers are sometimes placed in a situation where they just have to get in there and do it, while these branding improvements take time to carry out and more often than not, is a long term effort. When there is space and time to take care of these areas though, I’ll bet it’ll pay off putting in place training programs for staff and ensuring all other consumer interactions are consistent with the overall branding, because having a keen eye for detail in your branding can be the key to what makes you stand out from your next competitor.