Your people are your living breathing brand

Engaging brands

“Brands that stand on the shoulders of giants are not created by branding agencies, they are created by people”.

One of our clients recently launched their new brand internally and the owner of the organisation used this line in his closing words. He was giving his employees responsibility for the future of the brand, entrusting the brand with them. It was very powerful and you could feel the excitement in the room. I would add that branding agencies play a pivotal role in creating and shaping brands, we provide the structural foundations of the brand. These foundations are built on a clear strategy which is brought to life with an identity and visual language that ensures the brand sets off on the right path. We then hand over the reins to the people who live and breathe the brand everyday, the people  ensure that the brand stays true to the strategy we’ve developed. We can’t always be there every step of the way so the people need a clear direction and the right tools to ensure the brand lives on and continues to breathe.

Your people play such an important role in ensuring your brand ‘touches’ your customers and our client was spot on when he said that the future of the brand was now in their hands. We often spend a lot of time with our clients creating values that really bring to life everything they stand for and then develop a belief system or behaviours that ensure these values come to life and are lived by the brand. Often we are given a set of existing values that are quite generic and could apply to any organisation. We guide our clients to ensure that the values they develop can really be lived within the organisation and that are unique enough to differentiate the brand.

I recently experienced a great example of people living the brand at Specsavers. In the past I have never been that impressed by Specsavers, they were never a stand out brand, I wouldn’t recommend them nor was I particularly brand loyal however, my view has been dramatically changed. The experience I have had with their people have made me a brand advocate and I thought I’d share what made the experience so engaging.

The optometrist I saw took the time to explain everything to me and was happy to answer all of my questions without rushing me out of the door. She was friendly but professional and clearly knowledgeable which gave me complete trust in her. In the past I’ve felt that the eye exam was a very methodical process which was rushed and barely any time was spent building the relationship with the customer. Not this time!

Even I was surprised when I walked out of the store feeling delighted with my experience, I found myself thinking about it on and off for the rest of the day and talking about it with my friends. I even said “I love that girl who served me today”. Now love is very strong word but one that I felt reflected how I felt about the whole experience. The girl who helped me choose my glasses spent about 40min with me while I tired on around 50 pairs of glasses. I told her that I really disliked choosing glasses and from that moment on she made it her mission to find me two pairs of glasses that I felt comfortable with and that suited me. Not once was she impatient with me and more importantly she gave me honest feedback which really made me trust her advice. This was on a Saturday morning when the store was full of people which made it even more impressive.

Empathy and care
I was also shown how to use contact lenses for the first time, which I was told can be a very traumatic experience. Again they are short staffed but the lady helping me didn’t rush me one bit and really took the time to explain everything to me and told me not to feel bad if it took a while. She was going to sit with me until I got the hang of it.

When I went back to pick up my glasses they were a little short staffed. I was apologised to over and over again, they used my name to give an extra personal touch (something I’m sure they must have been trained to do) and explained how long I’d have to wait and who would be with me to help fit my glasses, do an additional test and help me fit contact lenses.

I’m not sure what their brand values are but I do know that at every part of my customer journey I was looked after and made to feel very valued. This is clearly an area the brand is investing in as I received an email after each of my visits asking me to provide feedback on my experience. I was so engaged with the brand by this point that I was happy to spend 15min giving them my feedback.

What I used to think was a brand built on discount products and below average service has transformed into something far greater than a brand offering glasses and eye tests.

This is a great example of how people are such an important tool to ensure your brand lives and breaths beyond the initial development of the brand strategy. They can facilitate and create engaging experiences with your customers and their behaviours and actions should align with your strategy. All of this leads to happy customers who become repeat customer who truly engage with your brand.

Gemma Dittmar
Director of Brand Projects


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