One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the fact that so many organizations entrust their brands to the most junior, ill equipped, unmotivated, untrained, and least compensated employees. It seems that leaders within these organizations, some worth Billions of dollars in market capitalization, ignore the basic concept that customer attitudes and opinions are based on direct interactions not on advertising campaigns or corporate strategy. Consider for a moment the following example from a real life situation (I omit the names to protect the guilty).
A global financial services organization with local presence in the form of bank branches offers free delivery of ATM/debit cards with a giant logistics company. The “service” on initial examination appears to be a value add to customers and intends to meet the customer where he/she is rather than force them to come into the branch. However, in the course of actually execution of this service the process breaks because the logistics company is unable to provide the delivery. In two independent real life situations the logistics company calls the customer and asks where they can deliver the card. When the delivery person shows up they refuse to deliver the card to the spouse because the customer is out of the country. This is after several assurances by the bank representatives that the card can be received by the spouse who happens to be a joint owner of the account. I know that there are a variety of explanations for this situations that frankly only will seem as unwarranted excuses to the frustrated customer. upon calling the customer care center of the logistics company the customer is assured that the delivery person is acting on instructors from the financial services organization. So the customer calls the financial services company to complain only to be told that the delivery person is incorrect that the spouse should have been able to sign for the package.
So before someone delves into a detailed analysis of who did what and who is to blame, the answer (at least in my mind) is very clear. Everyone is to blame, including the customer who chose to trust these two global brands. Readers who have had similar interactions to the ones I described above should be able to identify the culprits, however, the point of this post is not to ostracize these organizations or their leaders. The point I am driving at is the one I made as part of the question I listed in the subject of the post. Who is the organization and its leaders entrusting with its brand? Why is it that leaders put in so much effort in branding strategy and executing plans but completely ignore the basics? The only answer I can come up with is one that highlights that the leadership team is unable to think of brand as part of a total system that is affected by execution, not simply one that depends on expensive strategies.