Posted by: Chris | June 9, 2007

Active Branding

MBA complete, I am now able to go back and read all of those books and magazines I have been wanting to read, but have had to forego for the past 2½ years. (Strangely, this sounded so exciting around finals-time last Spring; yet now, I instead find myself watching DVR’ed episodes of Star Wars for hours at a time during my free time, refusing interruptions from even my wife and my daughter.) So today, I read an article entitled “Revitalize With Customer-Centric Branding” from the Nov/Dec 2006 issue (I told you I was behind) of 1 to 1 Magazine, a product of the so-named (sans “Magazine”) division of the Peppers and Rogers Group whose blog, Think Customers: The 1 to 1 Blog, is one of my favorites in the Blogroll you see to the right.

In the article, John Gaffney reports on Washington DC-based, National Cooperative Bank SVP and Director of Customer Strategy Innovation (what a cool job), Rebecca Coder, and her strategy with regard to her company’s brand:

In Coder’s world, branding is not the design of funny TV commercials or offbeat print ads. “For us branding is how we behave,” she says. “And how we behave is what dictates the customer experience.” (11)

I’m already wishing I could go through NCB’s internal education effort, “Cross-Selling Can Happen in the Strangest Places.”

Gaffney continues:

The brand’s differentiator became the employees, from the contact center to the branches….In the end, the program transformed customer-facing employees into NCB “advocates.”…By grounding the rebranding effort in its employee training and using its customers as its research platform, NCB took a different approach than companies that look first toward creative executions. (11, emphasis added)

Interestingly, Gaffney suggests that the branding of service employees (a.k.a. FLSE’s) is considered to be a “different” marketing strategy. Sadly, I must agree with him that on a broad scale, it is indeed pretty uncommon. Yet I do believe that this different form of branding will enable companies (particularly the beaten-up brick-and-mortar types) to harvest the level of customer loyalty that leads to significant organic growth (which is nice).

And wouldn’t you know it, NCB even has an RSS feed, which makes the bank’s press releases readily available to people like me and you?



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