Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Company brand or personal brand?

I just heard on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast that Robert Scoble, Microsoft's famous tech evangelist, has left Microsoft. The question for Microsoft now is, who can replace Scoble?

This is something that I've puzzled over - not Scoble specifically, but the increasing crossover between company and personal brands that happens with the current shift in marketing.

What current shift in marketing? (Which one?) I mean a general move towards high-touch, human-to-human contact. For example, Tom Peters' recent rant about tearing up scripts and letting individuals be individuals.

After all, people relate to people, not brands. For example:
  • A company spokesperson or character used in advertising (for example Goldstein for New Zealand's ASB Bank)
  • An editor of the company newsletter
  • A retail shop assistant
  • A travelling sales rep
The question becomes, who do people have the relationship with? The company or the individual?

In most cases I'd guess it's the individual. Which is great for the individuals, but what should companies do?

It's somewhat of a conundrum, and I can only think of one answer that's not really that helpful in the short term: hire really, really good people. People who like people.

Create an organisation that these people are excited about, glad to be part of, and then just let them be themselves. If you've got the environment and the people right, customer satisfaction should look after itself!


At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. People do business with People first and foremost. How many times have we, as consumers, walked away from a restaurant or other service provider we've used repeatedly in the past when the person providing the service changes and we're not longer happy with it, irrespective of everything else remaining the same?

Your final comments are spot on. It's essential to empower people to provide great service or watch your customers walk away.

At 6:01 PM, Blogger Simon said...

Thanks for the comment, Hannah. I cover some of the same ground in my upcoming article in NZ Marketing Magazine's February 2007 issue.


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