Posted by: Chris | July 16, 2008

Two Branded Service Anecdotes

I’m a complainer. Those who follow my blog know this. Both of them. So I decided today to include two exciting, positive anecdotes of branded service. Probably many of you are already aware of these initiatives, but I wanted to take a second to put them into a services marketing context.


Wal-Mart gets a bad rap. That’s what happens when you’re the biggest. But even the most rabid Wal-Mart opponent can’t deny that Wal-Mart just does some things right. Typically, I do not see Wal-Mart as especially strong in services marketing, but I did recently become aware of something they have in place that builds the culture there in a unique way: the Wal-Mart Radio Network. You know, the seemingly innocuous music/advertising combo you hear while looking for the cheapest ziti? The network itself is not unique–the unique part, and the part explicitly tied to services marketing, is that they allow employees to choose the songs to be played on the network. I am not sure of the extent of this-may be a daily measure, or maybe once a year for an hour. Either way, it’s a great idea. It gives employees an ownership of the actual infrastrcture of the company. And it’s such a simple thing.

If you have more details about the Wal-Mart Radio network, please feel fe  fill in the gaps in the comments section below.


Zappos truly invests in services marketing. I am speaking literally. After a week of working with the company, new/prospective employees are offered $1,000 (plus the pay for the hours worked up to that point) to quit the job on the spot. Ballsy, isn’t it? And worth it, I’d say. Some reports say that only around 10% of those offered accept.

The move represents an essential aspect of service employee branding: the employee’s consciously made commitment to the company. I generally speak of the company’s responsibility to the employee when it comes to services marketing, but employees obviously have responsibilities too. Companies cannot be afraid to ask for, expect, even demand commitment from their employees. And why not? Fickleness is not a right. Zappos is smart to spend the time and money weeding out people who are not committed to being a huge-yes huge asset to the company. Why accept anything less?

(Really, I want to know why. Please tell me why it happens. It’s not just a rhetorical question.)



  1. […] First I whould say, all businesses are looking for “highly motivated” employees. It’s redundant. Rhetorical issues aside, advertising for “highly motivated” job applicants puts said applicants in their place before they even walk through the door: one step away from being fired. Some may read my concern and say, “well, who wants a lazy employee?” Obviously, services marketing is not about letting employees be lazy. That’s ridiculous! But it is about an exchange of value between employer and employee. Given legs, this means the employer provides branded interviews, branded training and assessment, branded remediation, and opportunities to succeed as a branded service employee elsewhere (read about Zappos’ opportunity to succeed somewhere else). […]

  2. […] – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by nipunthebest on 2008-08-15 Two Branded Service Anecdotes – bookmarked by 1 […]

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