Dr Brian's SmartaMarketing 2

Smarta Marketing Ideas for Smarta Marketers

Month: June, 2012

Brand Image and Identity

One of the problems with the discussion of brands and branding seems to be the distinction between brand and brand image that is often made. A brand is the identity of a Product (goods and services), which the marketer wants to create, whereas brand image is the image of the Product (anything that can be exchanged), which is formed in the customer’s mind.

The term brand identity can sometimes be used as a description of the image of the brand that the marketer wants to create. Keeping apart the concepts of a brand and brand image somehow gives the impression that a brand can be created and can exist without the presence of the customer or indeed a Product. According to this view, the customers form an image of a readily created brand. Following this line of thought the expression “brand building” has emerged. In reality, customers continuously receives inputs about the brand that is being created, and they relate to these brand messages on a continuous basis, to the extent that they observe them and react to them unconsciously, thus forming the brand image in their minds. This is the case with services as well as with physical goods. This can be put another way: a brand is not first built and then perceived by the customers. Instead, every step in the branding process, every brand message, is separately perceived by customers and together add up to a brand image, or brand for short, which is formed in their minds.

When including the customer in the branding process, there is no need to make a distinction between a brand and a brand image. The brand as a concept is always an image. When we talk about a brand we always refer to it as an image in the minds of customers. In this way brand and brand image are synonymous.

The term brand identity can be used as a concept which describes the image of the brand that the marketer wants to create in the minds of customers. It is the goal to be achieved. A brand is the image that is actually formed in their minds. Branding is the process of creating this image.

The term “brand building” is often used to mean branding. However, this is incorrect and dangerous, because it gives the impression that the marketer can create a brand by himself. From this follows that after the brand has been “built” it can be offered to customers. In reality, as we shall see in the following sections, the customers’ role is much more active in the branding process. Whatever the marketer does, it is the customer who decides whether an intended brand is developing or not. If anybody builds a brand, it is the customer.

The role of the marketer is to create frames for the development of a brand in the minds of customers, by providing an appropriate physical product, service process and supportive communication using various means of planned marketing communication. Thus, the brand is formed. If the marketer has been successful in creating this branding “frame,” the intended brand identity is achieved, otherwise it is not.


Handling Customer Complaints

Customers make or break a business. In many businesses, upset customers are rare. But when a customer is upset, the situation can cause great stress and tension to employees and to other customers. Knowing how to resolve the conflict quickly and professionally can make a big difference in how employees perform their jobs and how customers feel about the organisation.

Customers Are Often a Challenge

You can learn from that challenge. The more you learn, the more you’ll enjoy your job.

Learning to calm upset people is not easy. There is no single technique that works with every upset person. But there are skills that can be learned, with a positive attitude and practice.

Why Is It Important To Calm Upset Customers?

In a survey of service quality, it was discovered that twenty five per cent of customers had expressed a complaint in the previous twelve months. The survey stated, “In light of this significant percentage, everyone in the organisation-from teller to president-must become increasingly aware that he or she is either serving the customer directly or is serving someone in the organisation who serves the customer. All positions exist because of the customer. ”

Calming upset customers is rarely pleasant, but it must be done. If upset people continue expressing their anger and frustration without intervention, it can upset the whole office.

Upset Customers Don’t Come Back

A recent study showed that customers stop buying from a particular business for the following reasons:

1% die (not much you can do about that)

3% move away

5% form other interests

9% for competitive reasons

14% due to product dissatisfaction

68%    because someone was rude, indifferent or discourteous to them.

Another survey showed that one out of every five supermarket customers had switched stores in the last 12 months. What made them switch? The way they were treated at the cash registers, mostly.

It is clear that people want and expect good service. When they are not treated well they don’t come back.

Word of Mouth Spreads Quickly

If your organisation has a reputation for quick, courteous responses to complaints, people will be more apt to begin their conversation with you rationally.  When customers scream and yell it’s often because that’s what their friend had to do to get some action from your organisation.

One study found that, on average, one dissatisfied customer will tell 11 other people, who each will tell 5 others.  That’s 67 (1 + 11 + 55) people spreading bad word-of mouth about your organisation.  Most organisations are going to be hurt by that much bad advertising.

You Want Customers to Complain

Yes, you do.  Because if they don’t complain they’ll just take their business elsewhere, and tell their friends not to do business with you.  Think about what happens when you are treated poorly: do you usually complain? Most people don’t.  They just say “I’m never coming here again.”

A study conducted by the Technical Assistance Research Program discovered that 96% of a business’s customers don’t complain when they have a problem.  This means that for every complaint the average business receives, there are 24 silent unhappy customers.

Yet if a customer does complain, he is more likely to come back.  The act of complaining can actually increase customer loyalty.

Unhappy Customers Who Will Buy From You Again*

No Complaint                         37% (63% won’t come back)

Complaint not resolved           46% (54% won’t come back)

Complaint resolved                 70% (30% won’t come back)

Complaint resolved quickly    5% (only 5% won’t come back)

So remember: Encourage customers to complain when they have a problem.

Better Use of your Time?

Time as a resource

First, we need to recognise that time is a remarkable resource.  Time is the limiting factor in achieving anything.  You cannot hire it, buy it or rent it (although octogenarians may disagree), and you cannot obtain more than your allocation of 24 hours per day.  In economic terms you cannot construct a marginal utility curve for time, and its supply is totally inelastic – no matter how high the demand, the supply will not and cannot be increased.  Time is totally perishable; it cannot be stored in freezers, tins or deposit accounts, or slowed down like erosion.  Time is totally irreplaceable, unlike plastics (for steels), bread for potatoes and automation for human labour.

With unemployment levels high and an age of leisure approaching, managers work long hours suffering the consequences in a relentless battle ‘to get things done’.

The changing world and time

The context of managerial work is changing rapidly.  So in addition to managing our time well to carry out our existing roles, we need to adapt, learn and unlearn to cope successfully with our ‘brave new world’.  But in the last analysis, it is your responsibility to commit yourself to using time well to manage these changes.

A survey of over 1300 managers reported that poor priority setting is common.  Despite the long hours worked, only 47 per cent of actual working time was taken up with managerial activities.  Most of the remaining time was spent doing their subordinates’ jobs; that is, doing the familiar and less threatening non-managerial activities they themselves’ used to do.  When you consider that a salary of ; $30,000 per annum can be translated as $625.00 per week  $125.00 per day or about $15 per hour (excluding overhead costs) the cost of this time wasting can be rapidly computed into a fixed overhead, unless time use and behaviour change.  And remember that there is always time to complete the most important matters.

Goals, Objectives And Key Tasks

What are your goals?  You should be clear about them.  By writing them down you discover what you really want to do, generate motivation to do it and give meaning to your minute by-minute use of time.  Lifetime goals are linked to visions, purposes, missions and basic beliefs.  Typical questions you should ask are:

  • how would you like to spend the next three years?
  • if you knew now you would be struck by lightning six months from today, how would you live until then?

Remember that goal setting is an ongoing activity which needs regular updating, recording, prioritising and reviewing for both long and short term goals.

When developing your goals, objectives or key task areas try to be aware of any inconsistencies or paradoxes: for example, becoming managing director is not usually compatible with having unlimited time with your family.  Similarly to be liked by everyone is usually incompatible with having strong opinions which are voiced regularly.  Look at your own lifetime goals for such incompatibilities.

Objectives are measurable goals.  Unless you have SMART objectives – Specific, Measurable,  Attainable/Appropriate, Realistic, Time specific, (to which you should add Evaluate and Re-evaluate) you are woking without much purpose.  No wonder your time is being wasted


Key Tasks

So how do you establish your own key tasks?  First you need some data about what you do and how you do it.  This can come from a time log; an alternative approach often favoured is to generate your own key task areas.  The latter is more future orientated and likely to lead to more immediate results.  Data to develop your key areas may come from considering the following checklist of business objectives:

  • why is the organisation in business?
  • what is it in business for?
  • what do we need to do to remain in business?
  • where do we need to be in two, five years’ time?
  • how can we get there?
  • what parts do I have a direct influence upon?
  • what are my department’s objectives?
  • what are my objectives?
  • what must I contribute to achieve them?
  • what powers do I have?
  • who else must play a part?
  • what do I expect of them?
  • what do they expect of me?
  • how can I improve my performance?



Managing Corporate Identity

Identity: What is it?

In order to be effective every organisation needs a clear sense of purpose that people within it understand.  They also need a strong sense of belonging.

Purpose and belonging are the two facets of identity.

Every organisation is unique, and the identity must spring from the organisation’s own roots, its personality, its strengths and its weaknesses. This is as true of the modern global corporation as it has been of any other institution in history, from the church to the nation state.

The identity of the corporation must be so clear that it becomes the yardstick against which its products (goods and services) , behaviour and actions are measured.

This means that the identity cannot simply be a slogan, a collection of phrases: it must be visible, tangible and all-embracing.

Everything that the organisation does must be an affirmation of its identity. The products that the organisation makes or sells must project its standards and its values.  The buildings in which it makes things and trades, its offices, factories and showpieces – their location, how they are furnished and maintained – are all manifestations of identity.

The organisation’s  communication material, from its advertising to its instruction manuals, must have a consistent quality and character that accurately and honestly reflect the whole organisation and its aims.

All these are palpable, they are visible; they are designed – and that is why design is a significant component in the identity mix.

A further component, which is just as significant although it is not visible, is how the organisation behaves: to its own staff and to everybody with whom it comes into contact, including customers, suppliers and its host communities.  This is especially true in service firms that have trouble identifying their products.  Here, too, consistency in attitude, action and style underlines the organisation’s  identity.

In small organisations  and in young organisations  the management of identity is intuitive.  It is a direct reflection of the founder’s obsessions and interests.  The organisation is what he or she makes it.

In the sprawling, complex organisations , where innumerable interests – each supported by individuals – conflict and compete for power and influence, the company’s long-term purpose, its values, its identity must be managed consciously and clearly, or they ‘II be overwhelmed and disregarded in sectional infighting.  The organisation will simply become an inert victim of the various factions that seek to control it.

When organisations lose sight of their individuality, their real purpose and strengths, they get deflected often through peer pressure – into making mistakes.  They make inappropriate acquisitions, diversify into blind alleys, make inferior copies of other organisations  products.

Identity is expressed in the names, symbols, logos, colours and rites of passage which the organisation uses to distinguish itself, its brands and its constituent organisations .  At one level, these serve the same purpose as religious symbolism, chivalric heraldry or national flags and symbols: they encapsulate and make vivid a collective sense of belonging and purpose.  At another level, they represent consistent standards of quality and therefore encourage consumer loyalty.

Names and symbols need to be created.  Traditions and rites of passage have to be invented and re-invented for organisations , in the same way as they have always been for different regimes in different countries.


Try putting a little sign on your door, or on the back of your people’s door, it should read;

What is the Problem? (In the majority of instances the person really doesn’t know what the problem is.  He feels bad and wants you to feel bad too.  When you can agree on what the problem is you are on the way to solving it.  If the person cannot reduce the problem to its basic components he or she is not ready to bring it to you.)

What caused the Problem? (Cause helps us define the problem and definition helps solve the problem.  Awareness will also help avoid the same problem again.  Beware making quick solutions at this stage without going through the remaining stages.  H.L. Mencken wrote “There is always an easy solution to every human problem – neat, plausible and invariably wrong’).

What are the possible Solutions? Here is an opportunity for them to exercise lateral thinking and creativity.  The list is not a list of the only possible answers but also a list of many possible alternatives. Encourage them to have some fun with it – it preserves your sanity (and theirs) in a world too full of problems.

What is the best Solution?  Pick a solution and go with it.  You have to be wrong a certain number of times in order to be right a certain number of times.  However in order to be either, you must first make a decision.

Don’t fret over a problem.   You will become overcome with the paralysis of inaction.  Select a course, take it and get on with business.  Henry Ford said “You only have to be right 51% of the time to be a success; if you make enough decisions.”

Your job now often boils down to saying, “It looks good to me.”


A leader is likely to be successful if:

*  She knows exactly what her objectives are and respects the fact that there are limits on what she can achieve and on what she can expect others to achieve.

*  He plans in advance individual and group work and responsibilities, but is flexible enough to realise that during implementation plans may need to be changed to accommodate individual and group needs.

*  She succeeds in establishing good relationships with her group through being empathic, while being able to maintain the respect of the group.

*  He avoids posing as a teacher or prophet, but maintains control of the group’s activities.

*  He needs to be able to instill a feeling of self-worth in individuals.

*  She allows ideas and views to come from the group rather than imposing her own views.

*  He does not impose his leadership on the group.  The successful leader should not have to assert his position, by trying to appear more knowledgeable and skilful than othrs.  The successful leader will gain the respect of the group because he is skilful, knowledgeable and diplomatic in the way in which he carries out his role.

Understand, Engage, and Sustain

If you want to understand, engage, and sustain, you’ll need to embrace three tenets of modern, Relational Marketing –  listening, relationship-building, and empowerment.

Listening Real listening is one of the most powerful and often misunderstood elements of marketing and developing successful brands.

Relationship-building, as a process, is misunderstood by many marketers. Too often we confuse willingness to buy as evidence of a relationship. It’s not. Brands must earn the right to have meaningful relationships with their consumers, and that isn’t accomplished by special offers and personalisation alone. Like personal relationships, brand relationships are built on trust that is earned over multiple exchanges and eventually feels natural instead of contrived.

If you establish some intimacy with your customers—providing an on-going, intimate forum to dig deeper and share many of the facets of their different personas—you’re entitled to expect more of the relationship. .

Empowerment is the final, misunderstood tenet of new consumerism. Customers are most engaged when they realise that a brand is actively working towards helping them When you offer more than simply another product to them you’ll become “their brand.”

What message does your brand convey to socially engaged customers?

Two of the key drivers to building brand strength are creating a distinct brand identity and developing a unique brand personality. Brand identity is often used in a limited, graphic-centric manner or used interchangeably with brand image. All too often, identity is seen as just the graphics, logos, colours, and symbols that generally make up corporate identity.

Those elements are the appearance (which is very important) but not the substance of a brand, just as the clothes you wear are an important, even distinguishing, part of your identity, but not the substance of who you are as a person.


1.  Anyone can make a decision given enough facts.

2.  A good manager can make a decision without enough facts.

3.  A perfect manager could operate in total ignorance.  No-one is perfect

A managers job is to cause his company’s objectives to be achieved.

Many of our managements short comings stem from losing sight of the primary objective of Management.

Anything that gets between the manager that prevents this objective being achieved is counter productive.  Anything that assists in reaching this objective is an asset and should be developed.

The job is not to envisage that which lies distantly, but that which lies clearly at hand – in the present in the future.

The most important thing to learn about management is that the work must be done by others.

Strong Brand Positioning

“A strong brand position means the brand has a unique, credible, sustainable, and valued place in the customer’s mind. It revolves around a benefit that helps your product stand apart from the competition. 

Organisations seek to develop and project good (effective) brand perceptions. 

Brand Positioning
Due to the shear volume of messages customer and prospects encounter on a daily basis, the human mind can’t begin to cope with interpreting them all.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Minds Are Limited in their abilities
  • Perception is selective
  • Memory is selective
  • There is a physiological limitation to processing all the stimuli we are exposed to
  • A dramatic element and (relevant)  brand difference is needed in a crowded media – including Social Media
  • Minds are both emotional and rational – but emotion is the starting and finishing point
  • Purchasing decisions are really not known – we make guesses and interpretations from research and our experience
  • Recall—mind’s can remember things that no longer exist

Models may be simple – but marketing is not

More information on Branding can be found in:


MAANZ International website


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