Four brands doing all the right things in 2016


Thursday 21 January 2016 by Drew Heatley

As we continue our formative steps into the new year, brands will be well on their way to implementing their 2016 strategies. But this year more than ever, the age of customer experience is forcing companies to take extra care in crystalising their brand values and objectives. Four diverse brands – in different industries and at varying levels of maturity – are talking the talk, walking the walk and creating next-level services.

Your people are your brand

1. Lululemon: the importance of choosing the right people

Your brand’s most important asset isn’t a logo or a set of colours. It’s not even a website or a Twitter account. It’s your people. Companies live and die on the strength of their staff and the experience they provide customers. For all its various controversies (and the PR disasters orchestrated by founder and ex-CEO Chip Wilson), Lululemon Athletica is a great example of how your people make your brand. The brand’s in-store teams are first class. They’re really knowledgeable about the products and ensure customers are 100% satisfied with their products. This service isn’t restricted to in-store interactions – the brand has been commended for its customer interactions on phone and email.

Stellar customer service and engagement isn’t just about driving sales. It’s about living shared values with your customer base, 24/7. Lululemon’s various stores regularly host running events and yoga meets, positioning Lululemon as more than just an apparel retailer – it’s a lifestyle brand.

Authenticity is paramount.

2. Freshii: authenticity is paramount

We’re in the age of transparency. Consumers have no time for brands that aren’t genuine. The rise of social media means brands are accountable for everything they do – particularly the way they act and position themselves. “Authenticity” is more than just a buzzword – it can provide tangible benefits for brands. More than 90% of consumers value a brand’s honesty about its products and services the most – and 63% say they would buy products from an “authentic” brand over rivals that are not as honest.

Healthy fast food company Freshii is a great example of an authentic brand. The company has enjoyed significant success in the past decade, expanding globally from its base in Canada. Freshii positions itself as an affordable and healthy option for customers looking for a quick bite – and it also places a strong focus on sustainability, from the way it designs its diners to its biodegradable packaging.

This “green” mission also translates in its philanthropic activity. The firm works closely with Charity Free The Children to build kitchens and vegetable gardens for children in developing countries. The brand’s positioning is a product of founder Matthew Corrin, who says Freshii is aligning itself with what its young customer base is passionate about. “Millennials care deeply about the triple bottom line: people, profit, planet,” he recently told Forbes.

Go the extra mile.

3. Chase: going the extra mile

Doing more for customers engenders long-term brand loyalty – It’s as simple as that. And creating a base of faithful return customers is crucial. It’s seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to sell to an existing one – and the probability of a successful sale is higher too.

Chase is a company that makes life very easy for its customers. Banking is, of course, a highly regulated industry – and Chase cuts through that complexity and does the hard work behind the scenes to take the workload away from the customer. It illustrated this recently when the agency needed to open new bank accounts for our new ventures, Tilt and Spark. It took more than a month to try and open a new account with our then-current bank, so we gave up. We approached Chase and we had an account open the same day. How can there be such a discrepancy in the time it takes to serve a customer? Particularly when for one brand the customer is an existing one.

Chase went the extra mile. They impressed me and gained a new customer. It’s how business should be done.

There is nothing without trust.

4. Bloomberg: foundations built on trust

For a brand-consumer relationship to flourish, there must be trust. More than two-thirds of consumers cite it as the most important attribute in a brand. If consumer faith in a brand is compromised, the damage to that company’s reputation can be devastating. Brands like Starbucks and Tesco took significant reputational hits in recent years following scandals around financial practices and ingredients sourcing respectively. And both took immediate steps to try and repair that damage and regain the confidence of their customers.

Bloomberg is a company whose entire offering is based on solid trust between itself and its clients. Many know it as a media company, but Bloomberg offers a variety of data, analytics and financial software products to businesses through Bloomberg Professional. For more than three decades, financial services companies that use the Bloomberg’s suite of solutions have placed their total trust in the brand to provide them with the accurate data and insights they need to drive their business forward.

Bloomberg cultivates trust through the quality of its data. This data is fuel for an incredibly wide range of applications that financial services professionals rely on to understand global capital markets and make the right decisions for their firms and the clients they serve. If the data is not accurate – or inconsistent, or slow to arrive, or difficult to acquire – then trust will evaporate instantly. Building trust through reliable data is what enabled Bloomberg to grow from a niche technology provider to a $9 billion financial news and media empire.

These four brands – some established and some not so – are making all the right moves. And the qualities they display are core attributes that brands must promote, not only in their marketing but in the way they operate every single day.

It may be a new year, but the keys to success remain the same – it’s important not to forget that.

Drew has left The Frameworks.

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