11th October 2019 3 minute read
On the final day of National Customer Service Week, we're reflecting on the relationship between brand and trust. A great brand should have powerful meaning for the business and a compelling resonance with the customer. Just a few weeks on from Capita's own brand refresh, Chief Marketing Officer Antonia Wade reflects on how you combine both those elements to bring a brand to life and drive better business outcomes.
When I think about brand, I look at it as having two key strands – purpose and positioning.
Your purpose encapsulates your beliefs as an organisation; what you want to become, achieve and create. That has value beyond profit. It’s what enables you to create an amazing culture and prioritise what’s important to you – especially so if you’re going through transformational growth. Your purpose lives forever; it’s what you are.
Your positioning is how you articulate the unique promise that you make to customers, and in contrast it can change often. It has to be highly responsive, relevant to your customers’ needs right now and differentiate you from your competitors of the moment. It should drive your sales campaigns, marketing, advertising and be the expression of your brand as it touches your customers at every point.
Good customer service is two-way traffic
What’s interesting about the customer service role is that it has a unique position in that equation. Contact centres can be ambassadors for the brand, representing its values and purpose, but they are also a seismograph for what’s going on in the real world and the minds of consumers.
They can relay invaluable information about all facets of your business, including the trends and the common things your customers are talking about. It’s behavioural information that can be difficult to find in other ways, or in such a frequent cycle. Some companies use that opportunity very well and work closely with customer services to gain a competitive advantage. It’s a critical insight because you can only make good decisions if you really root them in what your customers are telling you.
A strong brand is a burst of business adrenaline
Brands are a sum of the perceptions of your customers, the markets and your employees. If you can shape those perceptions you can change behaviours, from winning more customers to accelerating a business transformation.
Using your brand in that way not only helps organisations be relevant and meaningful for their customers – and all the value that entails - but also drives their long-term internal missions.
This is obviously fresh in our own minds, having just launched our own brand refresh. It’s an experience that has shown us a lot, and one we look forward to sharing with clients undertaking similar activities in the future.
We went into the market and talked to our clients, our prospects and our suppliers, and really tried to understand what they thought of us as a business. We gathered a huge amount of feedback, internal as well as external. Our clients told us that while we were delivering well on all the areas such as consistency and collaboration, they also wanted us to help them be more strategic and innovative, based on the insights we were gaining from working with them so closely.
What our new brand expression draws from that is the sense of constantly scanning the horizon and always looking for things we can improve and change for our clients. The idea of living in beta.
On the day we launched our new brand you could feel a buzz and a burst of energy in the company. It was great to see, and I think it also brings a real benefit to our clients, particularly those where we are working with them to develop their customer experience.
If we think about the impact of brand on customer service, teams and agents who are energised about our own brand also become more passionate and involved in the brands they are representing for our clients. It’s a virtuous circle where that excitement and enthusiasm spreads. Agents that live the brand strengthen the brand – and they do it for our clients’ brands too,
So perhaps there’s another strand to what a brand is beyond purpose and position. You can use it as a force for change and a banner for transformation - an adrenaline shot to the organisation, and that’s really exciting.