By Lesley Everett

Are Clever Marketing Methods Killing Your Brand?
19 July 2017 | 12:59 pm

 

Marketing budgets are increasing as more pressure builds on organizations to raise awareness of their brands and stand out from their competitors with clever advertising, sponsorship and digital media. This is happening at a time when customers and clients are demanding a higher level of customer experience, trust, respect and a touch of ‘personality’ to the brands they deal with and buy into. However, on the other hand, our research at Walking TALL has found that there is a general increase in corporate bad manners within organizations and a slide towards the other extreme to that of apathy and often scripted, unauthentic & insincere communication.

In addition, communication turn-around and response times are getting longer, and call waiting times extended in the ever-increasing call centre systems we all so frequently have to endure.  In turn this can create a significant roadblock between your customers and your brand, and the business success you strive for, need and indeed work hard to achieve.

It’s not difficult to see the obvious and dangerous void opening up here.

In fact this phenomenon is creating a sinkhole that is devouring client loyalty and great customer experience, potentially losing your company $millions in brand investment. The level of loss cannot easily be measured however it’s not difficult to visualize the impact to the brand when you consider as a customer how you feel and how you subsequently talk about that brand to your friends and colleagues when the experience you have with an employee of that company is negative.

Let me explain further – with the sophisticated marketing methods that are available to us as businesses today and the trend of brand focus on values and themes such as integrity, trust, caring, green, social responsibility, innovation and family-orientated to name but a few, teamed with the increasing brand reach, customers and all stakeholders have forgivably high expectations of the experience they will get from their interactions with your company. They expect to receive that level of care and interest in them that is so heavily advertised, therefore when it’s not there, there is a very high height to fall from, that in turn damages your brand.

This sinkhole is going to expand if organizations don’t wake up to the critical need to provide the employees with the behavioral training required to ensure that they interpret and internalize for themselves the meaning behind the values you have created. There is a need for a deeper appreciation of your corporate messaging on a level that employees can relate to, than perhaps you have undertaken already. Unless your people can understand the values, and live and breathe them every day, authentically, then you are wasting your corporate brand investment. Ultimately therefore, your increasing marketing budgets will kill your brand, due to the apparent falseness of your brand claims when a customer experiences your brand for themselves.

This goes for the leadership team also – the true personality of the corporate brand can be heavily influenced by the culture in part created by your senior team and executive. This includes their behaviors, external brand image and visibility & profile.

Typically Marketing and Brand Directors are not as focussed on people behaviors and the impact they have on the brand as they should be. This tends to be the responsibility of the HR and/or Learning & Development departments with little interaction with marketing. However, in order to reach the true marketing and brand objectives, would it not make sense to integrate people behaviors into any brand strategy at an early stage?

We are at a point in our business environment, where we need to re-align the corporate culture with that demanded by our clients and customers, if we are to stand out, create loyalty and get widely talked about for the right reasons.

It’s time to align people brand and behaviors with your corporate brand in a way that sticks.

Read more on this topic in Corporate Brand Personality by Lesley Everett, published Feb 2016

 

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