How to reposition service brands

Emotive Branding

At the core of an effective brand is a deeper understanding of your customer’s needs and aspirations and the ability to tap into them in an emotionally compelling way. It is this that binds people to your brand and creates loyalty.

Consumer packaged goods brands are typically masters of this art, with often large brand teams carefully controlling every aspect of a brand – every touch point from advertising, tone of voice on social media and in-store display. They combine this level of control of their comms with state of the art quality control applied to product and packaging to give a rounded brand experience.

Service brands, and by this we mean the full gamut of brands from retail, utilities, car hire, telco, travel, leisure, financial services save a few exceptions are often a long way behind their cousins in consumer packaged goods when it comes to brand building and management but why is this, when arguably they have as much to gain, if not more, from building loyalty on emotional level?

Well firstly, service brands have a more difficult job. Services are often delivered by people and this delivery makes up a key part of the brand experience – there’s this unpredictable human element which consumer packaged goods do not have to contend with.

This is amplified further in a world where peer reviews hold such clout – a restaurant for instance can deliver great food and poor experience if their front of house team is having a bad day. This can easily result in a negative experience which gets posted on Trip Advisor. Or a bank might have an influx of calls and keep a customer waiting for too long then face ire on social media and negative word of mouth, which directly influences others perception of their brand.

Secondly, service brands tend to be more focused on tactical price or product led communication, creating more inconsistency in their marketing. The exact opposite of the tightly defined brand comms in CPG which exists to create icons.

Brand can be the answer to both these problems.

  • Brand has the potential to motivate and act as a beacon for an organisation giving a clear and progressive sense of purpose to the people in it.
  • Good brands transcend platforms. Especially today they have the ability to carry the same emotive clout that historically is associated with personal service into an online world.
  • The right brand character and tone of voice, supported by a good story, improves and encourages the right behaviors, essential for service businesses.

At Haines McGregor we’ve helped a number of service brands, like  Arden University, The Post Office, KFC and Maersk Line define what we call their brand handwriting, covering how their brand can be applied to all touch-points and also by producing inspirational comms, workshops and tools, so their people can get behind the brand, be inspired by it and deliver the brand promise.

Get our latest download Innovative Tools & Techniques for Branding Service Businesses here

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