A recent report by Temkin Group identifies leading practices that companies can use to establish client-centric relationships.
The ‘Best Practices in B2B Customer Experience’ whitepaper finds that B2B trails B2C in all four customer experience core competencies: purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement and customer connectedness.
One of the most alarming gaps is found in developing compelling brand values where 37% of large B2C firms are rated as good or better, compared with only 24% of large B2B firms.
“Consumer companies may get the mass of media coverage when it comes to customer experience, but there’s enormous opportunity in the B2B sector,” says Aimee Lucas, customer experience analyst of Temkin Group and the report’s lead author.
The customer experience as the foundation of stronger B2B enterprise relationships is viewed as the ‘enormous opportunity’ with the research identifying B2B best practices across seven broad areas:
Develop closed-loop voice of the client (VoC) Programs. Having a reliable flow of customer insights across the organisation is critical to driving customer-centric actions,
use journey maps to better understand clients’ needs. To better understand how clients see their experiences, B2B organisations can use a tool known as customer journey mapping,
tap into virtual client advisory boards. Client advisory boards (CAB) and councils provide the opportunity to acquire more insight into customer needs and expectations,
account-level experience reporting. To acquire, retain, and grow B2B relationships, account managers need to understand what’s working and not working for each of their clients,
insightful business development. B2B organizations that gather and use the right customer insights during this early stage will create a differentiated experience from the start of the relationship,
collaborative account planning. By taking a structured and collaborative approach to developing in-depth account plans, companies can tap into their enterprise knowledge, and
proactive intervention and support. B2B organisations need to use customer insights and feedback from account managers to intervene in service experiences gone wrong as quickly as possible with well-defined, robust recovery procedures.
Woolworths has unveiled a new beauty retail format to be situated at Woolworths Town Hall supermarket in Sydney’s CBD.
Claiming to be a first for Australian supermarkets, Woolworths Beauty will feature beauty bars with dedicated beauty consultants offering treatments, tips, advice and samples, as well as LED screens and beauty TV to create an integrated and experiential consumer destination.
“We wanted the design to be much like a destination, creating not only an enjoyable physical experience with beautiful products to match, but one that informs shoppers,” says Jaid Hulsbosch, director at Hulsbosch, the communications firm that designed the format.
A strategic departure from the grocery sector’s more traditional model of hair and beauty, this move looks to “respect not only Woolworths as a brand – its values, personality and proposition – but the consumer experience,” adds Hulsbosch.
Woolworths enters the premium beauty market on the back of encouragement from the trend in Asia Pacific that is forecast to generate an extra US$5 billion worth of premium sales by 2016.
A departure from the norm for supermarkets, Hulsbosch believes the interactivity, and ability to engage consumers through a “sense of drama”, will reinforce Woolworths as a leader in its category.
German automaker BMW’s new sound logo will be played at the end of television and radio spots in the hope of further engaging consumers through sound recognition value.
“Acoustic elements are an important aspect of the BMW brand appearance,” says Joachim H Blickhäuser, head of corporate and brand identity at BMW Group, Munich.
“As part of the evolution of the acoustic branding, BMW replaces the ‘double gong’ with a new sound logo, which gives the brand a distinctive modern, aesthetic and dynamic recognition factor and can be used in many different ways worldwide,” he told LuxuryDaily.
BMW has used its ‘double gong’ sound for the past 14 years, but wished to modernise its approach. Sound designer Thomas Kisser of Hastings music media helped BMW realise its sonic vision.
Listen out at the 57-second mark of this spot:
“One of the biggest problems in advertising today is the low association scores that many TV commercials receive,” says Al Ries, founder and chairman of Ries & Ries, a Roswell, GA-based marketing strategy consultancy.
“Many consumers remember a commercial, yet do not associate the commercial with the name of the advertiser… a signature sound or a sound logo can help increase the association scores of BMW commercials,” he adds.
Although it may not be noticeable to consumers, music and sounds can be especially memorable overall. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is used as the example by Ries when discussing the BMW sound branding move.
“It certainly is possible to create a sound that is strikingly memorable… take the first four notes of this melody – every musician and most consumers can instantly relate to these notes,” he says.
Following its original lift-off and success in Australia, the debut of Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations brand extension is set be held next month in the UK, the place where John Cadbury began selling tea, coffee and drinking chocolate in 1824.
An extension of its Cadbury Dairy Milk brand, Marvellous Creations will be sold in two flavours: Jelly Popping Candy Shells and Cookie Nut Crunch.
On the launch of the range in Australia Last year, Ben Wicks, general manager marketing chocolate for Cadbury Dairy Milk, described the launch of Marvellous Creations as the most significant innovation for Cadbury Dairy Milk in 2012: “Through Marvellous Creations, we are bringing fun and excitement into the way Australians enjoy their favourite chocolate, with the combination of unusual ingredients and flavours that literally tantalise the taste buds with every bite.”
South Australian premier Jay Weatherill last night launched the state’s new brand logo in a public light and sound show in Elder Park where its image was projected onto the sails of the Festival Theatre.
The rebrand is a result of what the premier describes as people being “too often unaware of where South Australia is”, he told the gathering. This would help them realise.
“The success of this brand will lie in its uptake. All of our industries could use this brand to pitch their products on the world stage.”
The logo features a bold red outline of Australia with doorways at its centre, representing the South Australian borders, with the latest look aimed to “make a bold statement about our place in Australia and our place in the world”, according to Weatherill.
The liberating image of the doorway is seen as a symbol of welcoming people of all walks into the State. In essence, it is to sell the state overseas and help reap financial gain through the tourism dollar courtesy of its inviting imagery.
The designing and launching of the brand cost $1.34 million, taken from existing government agency budgets. Yesterday’s launch was just of the logo itself, which has received somewhat of a panning on social networks. The meatier aspects behind the rebrand are believed to be several weeks away from official launch, but there is more information at brandsouthaustralia.com.au.
Of those polled last night, many believed the colour made them recall red wine (for what the State is famous for with a plethora of wineries) and the Sturt Desert Pea, the floral emblem of the land.
World-renowned branding agency Cato Purnell Partners designed the brand assets, which feature the name of the state but no slogan, to help it be of a timeless nature.
Event and film company Kojo had 25 animators, sound composers, designers and special effects artists working on the brand production for the past month in order to launch with a bang.
Winnebago Australia has announced a rebranding of all motorhomes effective 28 February 2013.
Avida Motorhomes is the new name and will be endorsed initially as the makers of the Australian Winnebago to provide credibility to the new brand by associating Avida with the well-known motorhome brand in Australia and New Zealand.
Avida Motorhomes CEO, Ben Binns, admits that while they’ve considered operating with two distinct brands in the marketplace, “the legal battle over the rights to use the Winnebago name in Australasia has convinced Avida that they need to create their own Australian identity.”
The legalities Binns speaks of concern Winnebago Industries of Iowa in the US, a company not associated with the local brand, who have pursued a four-decade-long battle with Winnebago Australia over naming rights. This is despite Avida’s assertion the US company “signed an agreement” in the early 1990s.
While a Federal Court decision in July 2012 decided in favour of the US titan, Winnebago Australia continues to appeal the decision, which is due to be heard next month.
“Avida is a brand which will be with us for many years irrespective of the result of the appeal and to assist in providing credibility to the Avida brand,” says Binns.
“We intend to promote Avida as the makers of the Australian Winnebago, linking our heritage since 1965 to the newest motorhome brand on the market,” he adds.
Could selling a brand without a product to marketers be the next big thing for design agencies? One such agency in the US is pioneering the idea, charging a single flat fee of $18,000 for designing a brand identity before a product, service or target market has even been considered.
With the concept engineered by Ben Pieratt, identity/product designer and co-founder of social shopping site Svpply, the goal of ‘Hessian‘, is to design an effective brand identity before a client has even entered the fray.
Within the fee to future-clients, the package includes a comprehensive marketing ensemble of wares: a Hessian URL, Twitter and Tumblr accounts, image assets, an app interface – plus 30 hours of design time to customise Hessian to the buyer’s needs.
Pieratt’s idea is in direct response to the ‘backwards’ approach to the conventional workflow of brand research between client and designer and aims to place brand as hero over product.
But the ultimate goal is to put designers on an equal grounding with clients, with, as Pieratt explains: “designers becoming entrepreneurs in their own right”, before quoting the revered designer behind Coca-Cola, Walter Landor, who stated: “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind”.
International brands are gaining a stronger foothold in Australia with shoppers warming to big-name multinationals over of local brands.
The finding comes from marketing services firm Epsilon’s ‘2013 Consumer Loyalty Study’, which uncovered a growing passion for overseas brands, particularly among the higher income segment and younger age groups.
Australians are more open to overseas brands than ever before, following the recent expansion of a number of leading international brands into Australia, including Zara, Top Shop and Christian Dior, and are becoming less loyal to local retailers.
But while shoppers are increasingly favouring global names, loyalty across the board jumped significantly over the past year, particularly among clothing retailers, which saw loyalty levels up from 16% in 2011 to 27% in 2012.
Across clothing, grocery, financial services and travel, the four sectors investigated in the study, one-third report being ‘extremely’ or ‘very loyal’ to the companies they use most often. Shoppers were most likely to feel loyal towards grocery and financial services brands.
However, another 30% of loyal customers in Australia across clothing, grocery, travel and financial services sectors said they would abandon their most frequently-visited stores for other stores if inconvenienced by incorrect billing, difficult refund policies and other negative experiences. The figure is slightly lower (20%) when the negative shopping or service experience is online.
“The definition of consumer loyalty is constantly changing, especially in such a dynamic market,” vice president of client services, Asia Pacific, for Epsilon, Michael Kustreba, says. “This research study serves as a valuable barometer of consumer attitudes and behaviour, and brands must attune to consumer feedback in order to be successful in the Australian retail market.”
The study also found 58% of Australian customers consider value for money as the best way to gain ongoing endorsement.
The research was conducted online or face-to-face as appropriate during the thirdquarter of 2012 with 408 respondents, mapped to the age and gender demographics of the general population.
I believe that the answer to this question can only come from focusing on the last part of the question, ‘brand in digital’. Having worked in this industry for a long time I have realised that there are a million and one explanations as to what brand actually means. So for the purpose of this article let’s just agree that brand is nothing more than how our customers feel about us, i.e. it’s not one thing. It’s the amalgamation of all things, and the experience that comes together and is provided to consumers.
OK, now that we have that, let’s talk about digital. This is a little harder. In the late 90s digital was the revolution. In the mid-2000s it was nothing more than another channel, and today, it’s everything. It’s a channel, and it’s the thing that feeds content into the channel. I mean, just trying to figure out what digital is is hard enough, let alone trying to figure out what brand in digital means.
I’m not sure if any of us really ignore our brand in digital. How can we? We barely know what the hell digital means. I think that we need to refocus the question, and maybe the answer will come to light when we have that new focus.
I don’t think the question is ‘brand in digital’. Rather, the question should be ‘How do brands express themselves in a digital age?’ Now that’s clever! OK, now that the shoulder patting is done, let’s get into it.
On a number of occasions I have heard buzzwords used when referring to brand experience in digital. Maybe some of these sound familiar to you… ‘engagement’, ‘brand interaction’, and my all-time favorite ‘brand fan’. None of these terms are truly digital – they just seemed to become the flavour of the digital industry.
The fact is that a brand is a representation of the company, and companies (most of them) are there to create profit. Brand is there as a function to help deliver perceived value. And that value is attached to the product, service and/or company, even before the customer has been engaged. Apple and Nike are the most obvious and basic example of great brand-based companies.
So, the real challenge for brand is, ‘How does brand help contribute to the perceived value in a digital age?’ The answer comes from the objective of delivering value to customers. This is the key! Most brands focus on matching luggage. They focus on repetition and disruption. In a customer-controlled world, these mechanics no longer work. Hence why brands struggle with building a brand in digital.
We need to refocus our effort and attention on creating brand value in a digital age. Brand value is built on a new type of communication. A new type of customer engagement and perceived value. Let me give you some examples of what I mean, then let me give you some thought starters.
A good example of how brand can help contribute to perceived value in a digital age is Nike+. Oh, you’re sick of Nike examples… OK, how about Kraft’s menu app? With over one million recipes, the app gives consumers online tutorials and helps build recipes with what they have in the pantry. It then guides the customer through the grocery store to pick up the missing ingredients.
Another great example is British Airways’ Metrotwin. This is a very cool digital initiative. Basically, it’s an online asset that allows travelers to log all the cool places they have gone to in the towns they have visited. Travelers can log on and get helpful hints and tips from other travelers who have visited that city – now that is brand in digital.
Ultimately, what I’m trying to say is, don’t look at your communication and brand building as matching luggage. Stop forcing square pegs into round holes. Start using digital as an extension to the brand experience. The way I explain it to my clients is think of digital as the movie and traditional media as the preview to the movie. Use your matching luggage in traditional, and when you drive them online, extend the experience.
So where can you start? Firstly, take into account that I don’t know your brand or your comms plan. But with that in mind, here is what I want you to do… And you may want to get your agency to answer some of these for you:
How does my brand experience extend online?
Does my digital brand get the customer involved?
How does my digital assist the sales process (measurably)?
Is my digital brand activity a utility, entertainment or matching luggage?
Is my digital brand activity a number of interconnected assets, or is it just a website?
So, I’m not sure if that will help kick start you into action, however, it should certainly get you thinking on the right path… But if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate ask.
The Olympics brand is now the second most valuable brand in the world, behind Apple, thanks to a 38% jump in overall revenue and growth in broadcasting and sponsorship deals.
The Olympics is now worth US$47.6 billion, according to Brand Finance, having grown by 87% since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This makes the brand’s value higher than all of its major sponsors, which include Samsung and Coca-Cola, and puts it behind Apple which is valued at US$70.6 billion.
Broadcasting revenue contributes two-thirds of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) revenue of US$5.1 billion and has grown 51% in the last four years to reach US$3.9 billion. Growth in sponsorship revenues was less strong but still significant, up 10.5% on Beijing.
CEO of Brand Finance, David Haigh, says the Olympics brand is a formidable revenue generator and has huge value. “It has recently been criticised for heavy-handed brand control, however it should not be forgotten that in the current four year cycle US$4.6 billion has been generated for initiatives to develop sport worldwide,” Haigh adds. “It is also expected to produce a net benefit to the UK economy of more than US$25 billion.”
The IOC has running costs of less than 10% of revenue leaving US$4.6 billion for distribution and investment in sport worldwide.
The high levels of growth achieved by the Olympics should be sustainable as emerging markets remain largely untapped, the study found. Currently Asia accounts for only 12% of broadcasting revenues which compared to 59% in the Americas leaving room for growth for the brand.
Sponsors also believe Olympic sponsorship to be a sustainable marketing investment, according to Brand Finance. P&G expect to generate an extra US$500 million in sales from London 2012, having already generated US$100 million from Vancouver 2010. GE, who paid US$200 million for top sponsorship rights covering London and Vancouver, reportedly believes it has earned back its investment.
In arriving at the brand value Brand Finance valued everything operating under the Olympics brand using the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) financial statements. These include revenue from broadcasting, sponsorship, licensing, merchandising & ticket sales.
Masters is a new DIY retail concept launched into the Australian market on 2 May 2011. Hulsbosch was appointed to work with Woolworths, in partnership with US home improvement giant Lowe’s, to create the new Masters Home Improvement brand. Hulsbosch was entrusted with designing and overseeing all brand applications including the name, identity, signage and the complete in-store experience.
The idea behind the Masters brand was a strategic business move by Woolworths Limited to break into the $42 billion home improvement market, currently dominated by the Bunnings Warehouse chain owned by Wesfarmers. With Bunnings as the clear market leader, the importance of creating impact was key to the new brand’s successful launch.
Masters offers a range of over 35,000 home improvement products to trade and retail customers include lighting, paint, flooring, kitchens, outdoor furniture, appliances, gardens, walls and windows, power tools, storage, plumbing and bathrooms, and its 12 current stores are intended to expand to a network of 150 sites across Australia over the next five years.
The big picture challenge that faced the brand was entering a market which was lead by an established and sole competitor, Bunnings, and having a strong enough brand proposition that could promote interest and trial, thereby winning customers in order to build a loyal customer base.
In 2009 Woolworths appointed Hulsbosch to develop the name, identity, the brand’s entire look and feel, store interiors, livery, uniforms, signage systems, collateral and merchandise. The retail brand was to be timeless, memorable and instantly recognisable.
In a market dominated by competitor brand, Bunnings, Masters needed to have a positioning that could instantly capture the attention of retail and trade consumers of both sexes of all ages and cultural backgrounds.
Having an existing relationship with Woolworths, Hulsbosch had an opportunity to evolve Woolworths’ positioning strategy of ‘Better quality, better service, better price’ by empowering customers with information on how to select and use specific products.
With customer service identified as a key area that could set the brand apart, Hans Hulsbosch travelled to the US to experience hardware shopping at Lowe’s and their competitors first hand.
By immersing itself in the home improvement market both nationally and internationally, Hulsbosch armed itself with extensive research to develop the Masters name and visual identity.
The solution for the name, ‘Masters’, came from a simple insight. If you want to build or renovate your home or business, who do you trust to do the job? Answer: the master builder; the master painter; the master craftsman.
Woolworths recognised the values inherent in the name. It is synonymous with excellence, skill, professionalism, trust, guidance and artistry and backs up the Woolworths positioning from which Hulsbosch had borrowed inspiration.
So too, it could connect with both staff and customers alike empowering them with clearly defined goals to be ‘masters’ of customer service and their DIY projects, respectively.
The visual articulation of the brand identity was inspired by the turning thread of a drill-bit. The forward motion symbolises the search for a better future and the colour of dark blue is the tradesman’s colour, chosen to represent the brand.
Through collaboration with Leffler Simes Architects, Hulsbosch created bright, airy and spacious store interiors. Stores are brightly lit and colourful with polished concrete flooring to place more emphasis on attracting female shoppers.
Buzzers are located around the store which, when pressed, alert a nearby staff member to that location to assist customers. Customers can use pagers to enable them to continue shopping while their paint is tinted, and selling more ‘non-hardware’ lines such as white goods, as well as having McDonald’s restaurants and McCafés in selected stores are all intended to create a completely satisfying in-store Master’s brand experience.
Stores have defined areas for trade and retail customers, and there is a consistency of message articulated through a distinctive visual language from the store’s exterior signage, which sees the identity brought to life with a 3D treatment, to the way-finding car park signage, high level in-store corporate banners, in-bay signage and self-service checkouts.
To develop the educational signage system, Hulsbosch worked with dozens of client vendors, breaking each product category down into simple ‘how to’ explanations. The team developed a colour strategy to classify products by task, type and quality. In all, Hulsbosch designed and implemented over 3,000 internal signs. Other brand iterations included truck livery, merchandise, staff uniforms, credit cards, name-tags and brochure work.
Half-yearly results showed Masters clearly outstripped Bunnings in growth, posting a 16.4% increase in sales figures in the six months ending 31 December 2011 – almost two and a half times the growth experienced by Bunnings.
In Woolworths Limited third quarter sales results for the 13 weeks ended 1 April 2012, it reported an increase in total group sales of 3.8%, to just over $14 billion.
While most of the company’s divisions saw modest improvements, Masters was once again the stand out of the group, posting a 29.4% increase in sales, from $163 million to $211 million, year-on-year.
The launch of Masters has generated a significant amount of press coverage, which is likely to translate to increased brand awareness over time, and the brand launch has been welcomed by the industry as it introduces competition in a sector that was being driven by one major player.
Additionally, the company has announced that it will be launching a Masters Home Improvement transactional website in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year as part of Woolworths’ new ‘multi-option offer’.
The below video features an interview with Hans Hulsbosch detailing the inspiration behind major aspects of the brand creation as well as briefly illustrating its development.
‘It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters why you do it.’
– Simon Sinek
When working on a brand, I’ve found the best place to start is to cut though the façade and try to capture the essence of what sits behind an organisation. Or as inspirational optimist Simon Sinek espouses, to look for the ‘why’.
Peeling back the hard exterior of a business to reveal what is beating at its heart often reveals some surprising insights. And it can take the organisation in a totally different direction.
So what techniques can help you uncover what’s driving the brand?
Ask the leader
Understanding the motivations of the leaders of the organisation should be high on your list.
In many cases the business will have an existing business plan. The plan typically sets out the mission, vision and values of the business. This provides us with the ‘head’ of the organisation, but often not the ‘heart’.
But asking questions such as, ‘What gets you up in the morning?’, ‘Why do you do what you do?’, cuts through to the core driver of the leadership team.
The answers can sometimes surprise you:
‘Mistakes – and learning from them’
‘Helping people become better’
‘Creating something new’
‘Reaching a goal’
‘Simply making a difference’
Armed with these insights, you can start to understand the underlying motivations of the organisation. Next is understanding its DNA. Its personality.
Who are you?
How would you describe the organisation if it was a person? If you bumped into the organisation on the street.
A great way to capture this is to use public personalities or characters that represent a diversity of traits.
When you line up faces such as Bono, Don Bradman, Bart Simpson, Richard Branson, and so on, and ask people to identify the organisation with the personality, it’s amazing what can come out of it.
It’s also a great way to get the leaders enthused in really understanding the make-up of their brand. The discussions and insights that can come out of it can be invaluable. Give it a try.
This simple exercise can pull together an executive management team and help them explain the organisation as it stands now. But importantly, these personas also help shape the future of the brand personality, its values and tone of voice used in communications.
It often exposes the true heart of the organisation – what it believes, how it wants to be seen, and what will drive its future direction.
What this does is get to ‘why’ the brand exists. And it often reveals some surprising and insightful results for the leaders of the organisation.
It also brings it back to answering one simple – yet challenging – question.