Walk as well as talk the brand talk

Successful customer engagement is about being human – not just sounding human.

The best brands win the affection and trust of consumers by acting differently. For a long time, brands were little more than faceless, multinational corporations with limited touchpoints for engagement and selective hearing – but then a few trailblazers began acting differently. As a result, today we have O2 and Tesco rap-battling on Twitter. However, dare I say it, the novelty is wearing off.

By no means should brands cease such activity, but acting differently means finding ways to bring the behaviours and traits we value as humans – integrity, transparency, philanthropy, inspiration – into the corporate world. Yes, talk the talk but remember to walk the walk too.

Ian Stockley, managing director, Indicia

The brands that play the language role well get it that you need to obsess just as much about the nooks and crannies of your operations: the language of your T&Cs, of your instructions, the words on the back of your receipt. Little things that people notice every now and again, and remember. And much cheaper than an ad on the telly.

Neil Taylor, managing partner, The Writer


Employer branding

The delivery of ‘brand’ is all about the ‘customer experience’, (whether it is B2C or B2B). In practice, brand is articulated through product/price/place/positioning and people. What a concept – a holistic delivery with ‘back of house’ delivering the ‘front of house’ brand promise.

There are certainly some very poor exponents in optimising culture and people but Mark Ritson is naive to say it is all horseshit and harmful.

Trevor Flett, brand reputation architect


Proof that creativity counts

Regarding the article ‘78% of CEOs say agencies are not ROI driven’, I am the convener of judges for the 2014 IPA Effectiveness Awards as well as being a member of the IPA Value of Creativity Group.

The group exists to help promote how creativity works as an effective business tool, demonstrating to the wider business community that creativity in all its forms – origination, analysis and delivery of ideas – add commercial value to businesses and the wider economy. It also seeks to encourage a culture of effectiveness and accountability within agency and client companies. 

The IPA’s recent publication ‘The Long and The Short of It’ examines the impact of timescales on effect, exploring the tension between long- and short-term strategies for brands and businesses, as well as providing evidence-based recommendations on how best to approach investment in advertising. The report’s authors, Les Binet, head of effectiveness at adam&eve DDB and marketing consultant Peter Field, explore how campaign results develop over time.  

For their research, they drew on the IPA Databank, which holds over 1,000 case studies, many of which directly disprove the statement that agencies talk too much about “creativity as a saviour” while not being able to prove or quantify it.

For example, John Lewis’s ‘Make a nation cry… and buy’ campaign from 2012: in mid-2009 the retailer was struggling in a very challenging financial climate. Its recent advertising investment had been ineffective and a new approach was required. A bold decision to use highly emotional advertising, particularly on TV, generated a huge amount of interest in the brand and resulted in more visitors coming more frequently and spending more money. The campaign generated £1,074m of incremental sales and £261m of incremental profit in just over two years. An amazing ROI.

Lorna Hawtin


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