PDMA03 Ducks in a row mailer AW - Creativematch


PDMA03 Ducks in a row mailer AW - Creativematch

Landor Associates

Branding Consultants and

Designers Worldwide

Klamath House

18 Clerkenwell Green

London EC1R 0QE

United Kingdom

Brand engagement

Getting your ducks in a row

Tel +44 (0) 20 7880 8000

Fax +44 (0) 20 7880 8001


“The world’s best

branding consultancy”

Global Finance, December 2002
















Mexico City

New York

San Francisco

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Getting your ducks in a row

We can prove that employees who are ‘on-brand’

deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction

and thus achieve superior business performance.



client satisfaction

Why is this the case? How do we make it happen? What does ‘on-brand’ mean?

There are six essential activities:

If it quacks like a duck…

Today’s economy is characterised by product commoditisation and customer

disloyalty. The most successful companies are transforming into service companies,

becoming demand-led, not production-led.

Premium positioning, superior preference and enhanced loyalty can only be gained

through an advantageous reputation or image, derived through experience, not just

communications. The reality of delivery shapes brand reputation – making employee

actions and behaviours, not marketing communications, the key conduit for creating

(and delivering) uniquely relevant customer experiences and uniquely compelling

customer expectations.

Employees are responsible for meeting business goals not by ‘doing my job, my way,’

but by recognising that their job is to satisfy and delight customers – in a manner

which is unique to their organisation. An indistinct reputation is no reputation.

And we know there is a link between on-brand behaviours and business

performance. Our sister company Research International has a methodology that

proves a direct correlation between a unit’s performance, levels of customer

satisfaction and its institutionalisation of ‘on-brand’ behaviour.

But we’re human beings,

not damn ducks

Employee attitude assessment – benchmark study

Cascade/Champion network – leverage internal resources to make it stick

Communications materials – articulate the vision and values

Brand into action workshops – involve employees in determining

their own on-brand behaviours

Celebration and reward – showcase and reward best practice

Measurement and monitoring – internal and external metrics

We can map and measure the relationship between ‘our values’ and customer

satisfaction – the link is our behaviour. We can all agree that it makes sense to

adapt personal behaviours to meet customer demands. It’s better to greet an irate

customer with calm efficiency than with anger. We can further agree that the

process of engaging employees in customer-orientated behaviours needs to be

interactive – bought into, not beaten into.

But the tricky bit is agreeing how you join up three potentially conflicting agendas –

my personality, my customer’s needs and our brand values. How can you reconcile

brand differentiation with customer relevance and an employee’s individuality?

Plan it, don’t wing it

Brand Engagement is the process of bringing the organisation, its policies, processes

and people into alignment with brand values, so that they are geared around

meeting customer needs.

This is not shallow internal marketing, nor dry process re-engineering. It is a

communications-led commitment to establish ways of working which deliver

customer value and enrich brand reputation. It is a means by which differentiated

behaviour is understood, welcomed and acted out as ‘the way we work around here.’

The process is designed to manage change by building awareness, understanding

and acceptance, and then reinforcing and sustaining it over time.

A four-phase process – Prepare, Launch, Internalise and Reinforce – takes an

organisation through this change cycle.

The answer is in the shift from first person singular to first person plural. We are

all – like ducks – social animals. Our needs include the desire to be part of and take

pride in communities, to join energies with like-minded others, to gather around

shared principles and co-create distinctive cultures.

We’re not asking people to subvert their personalities to the ‘brand’ and we’re

not asking people to hymn the corporate song or slavishly recite a mantra. We

are inviting people to appreciate that being part of something bigger is inspiring,

not intimidating, and that differentiation is crucial, not cosmetic.

Ducks learn through ‘imprinting’ – automatically lining up with their cohorts.

Employees are less ‘ducktile’, but can, should and must learn to appreciate how

their collective behaviours make a telling impression upon customers.

For most people, change of almost any type, not just branding programmes,

will typically meet resistance. Employees must buy into their brand through

individualised communications which make the issues relevant to them and actively

solicit their feedback and involvement. Ultimately change must be institutionalised:

behaviours must be mapped out, monitored and measured, requiring revision to job

profiles, working procedures and protocols.

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