Building a Brand Management Service Vision’
1. What’s the difference between a Product brand and a Service brand?
Product brands are about products. Mars, a classic Product brand, doesn’t answer back, doesn’t get tired, isn’t anxious, is always ready to perform and always tastes the same. Every experience with a Product brand is/should be identical. Service brands aren’t like that. Service brands are about people. People who represent the organization lose their tempers, get tired and anxious, and sometimes have just had enough that day. Every experience with a Service brand is therefore different.
Whatever you feel the Starbucks brand stands for, one thing all Starbucks customers can agree upon is that the chain has elevated the ubiquitous coffee house to much more than a commodity by making it a special, customer oriented experience, it’s become a Service Brand.
Similarly, Virgin has done the same with everything from air and space travel to music festivals.
The Virgin ‘Service’ brand revolves around delivering value pricing, high quality, fun, innovation, while being authentic, people-oriented, hip, and associated with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and his personal reputation. Not to mention – great customer service.
Many of the people who are in charge of managing Service brands (CMO’s, MD’s, Call Centre Directors, Customer Service Directors) have been trained in the traditional school of creating great consumer product brands. Their attempt to manage Service brands as though they are Product brands has created vast problems.
For the customer, the person who represents the brand is the brand.
If the person representing the brand doesn’t perform properly, the relationship between the brand and the customer may collapse.
The implication of this is that service-based organizations have to focus on their internal employees to a far greater extent than product-based organizations.