After a week or two of conferencing and marketing meetings I’m getting a bit sick of the talk of ‘branding’ and ‘brand values’. Call me curmudgeonly, but I hold fast to the notion that I as a consumer bestow ‘brand’ status on a product or service and that this status is something earned as a result of some underlying value: working as or better than claimed; consistency; transparency; fair dealing. And then a little bit of desire and ‘wow’ to finish things off.
This true story recounted to me yesterday says all that’s needed about the power of a brand – even with competitors…
A friend, let’s call her “Nicole” for the want of a spare false name, had recently requested a PAC code from her mobile provider (let’s call them T-Mobile, just for the sake of the story). The PAC code closes your account and allows you transfer the number to another network.
As well as a PAC code, the request invariably triggers calls from the bowels of the contact centre and the ‘customer recovery’ team – those rare beasts empowered to grant your tariff desires, issue free phones, and generally persuade you to cancel the request and ‘de-churn’ yourself.
Said T-Mobiler introduced himself to “Nicole” and started the spiel. “Nicole” tried to cut him off saying that nary a blandishment nor inducement would change her mind and could he please leave her alone.
Silence for 10 seconds. Then – “You’ve bought an iPhone, haven’t you”.
“OK. I understand. Thank you very much.”
When even your competitors’ battle hounds decide to go home and floss their teeth you know that your brand is in a strong position.