I so agree with Dave Snowden’s post: Branding: service is not a commodity
He recounts his experience as an ad agency client whilst he worked at IBM.
What would happen is that meetings would take place with O&M following detailed market research into customer needs. An image would then be created using some brilliant creatives which would result in a sophisticated advertising campaign. Staff would then be informed of the new image there might be some powerpoint briefings and a communication campaign but it was always an after thought. I also found it interesting that very senior managers would get wrapped up in the vision of the ideal and none of their direct, or indirect reports were prepared to say that the emperor has no clothes.
That’s exactly how a lot of advertising operates… by setting up ideals and absolutely not recognising how things are. It’s a failing not only of advertising, but of an awful lot of “change processes”. If we don’t recognise where we are, I believe we become alienated and less able to function well. We become courtiers to Mad King George addressing an oak tree as the King of Prussia.
Dave goes on to suggest a few dos and don’ts for how a service organisation might brand in a more naturalistic way. For some reason, this morning these don’ts resonate quite strongly for me:
DO NOT find examples of ideal behaviour and promulgate them as best practice. people will either thing you set them up, have not told the full story or will just say I couldn’t do that
DO NOT identify the three main obstacles to customer satisfaction and institute an organisational wide campaign to overcome them
DO NOT create a list of values and behaviours that you want staff to adopt and institute a training programme to install those routines in your employees. It will produce camouflage behaviour at best.
I’m not a fan of best practice and I’m very wary of any approach that appears to frame human beings as some kind of computers to be programmed with routines. Which may put me somewhat at odds with a lot of change programmes.