Loved brands have a range of advantages over other businesses, which over time creates significant commercial benefits. Simon Best, experienced telco marketing strategist, gives us his take on how telcos can achieve this goal — and which telcos are achieving it.
Why should telcos care about being a ‘loved brand’?
If you are from an engineering or financial background, it can be tempting to look at branding and think it is a trivial or ‘soft’ aspect of business. This is valid in the sense that perceptions are inherently subjective, but this subjectivity does not mean that such perceptions are unimportant. People respond very strongly and instinctively to emotional stimuli. These responses are deep in our nature. We have evolved to quickly learn the characteristics of things that we want to repeat; the things we like. This extends to social behaviours too: Who do we want to be with, and be seen to be with? Which ‘tribe’ are we in, and who do we associate with?
Businesses have learnt a lot about this, because it has proved hugely valuable to the best practitioners, and the study and practices of marketing, advertising and branding have developed significantly in the past seventy years as a result. To be a ‘loved brand’ is a shorthand description of the ideal state.
What is a loved brand and what are the advantages?
Loved brands create strong emotional bonds with their customers, through a set of values and beliefs that customers can identify with and incorporate into their daily lives. In theory, businesses with loved brands have a range of advantages over others, which over time create significant financial benefits.
Business advantages for loved brands
Source: STL Partners
They enable businesses to charge a premium over other competitors as consumers pay less notice to the price of products sold by the loved brand.
- Loved brands can charge a premium over other competitors as consumers pay less notice to the price of products sold by the loved brand. Apple iPhones are generally more expensive than competitors’ phones with similar feature sets. However, many Apple customers remain loyal with the status of owning the latest iPhone outweighing the additional cost.
- The emotional bonds with loved brands can become so robust that their customers do not consider their competitors and forcefully defend the brand. Customers are even willing to forgive the brand for making some mistakes.In 2010, Ferrari recalled more than one thousand Italia 458 cars after reports that a design fault could cause them to catch fire.Despite the obvious negative publicity, which would have had a catastrophic consequence on many manufacturers, Ferrari’s strong emotional connection with its customers protected their position in the luxury car market.
- Customers become valuable promotors of loved brands on their social networks, pushing the benefits and encouraging others to join. Tesla provides a great illustration of this advantage, where many of the customers are not only delighted with their new electric vehicle, but they are also strong advocates in persuading their friends and family to purchase a Tesla for themselves.
- Loved brands attract the best talent, which helps the business to sustain its success.
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Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Loved brands
- Why should telcos care about being a ‘loved brand’?
- What is a loved brand and what are the advantages?
- Challenges for telcos in being a loved brand
- How are telcos viewed by their customers?
- Why do telcos find it hard to be loved?
- Common telco strategies that have had limited success to date
- Focus on having the best network
- Offering the lowest prices in the market
- Differentiating on customer relationship
- Offering content bundles
- Launching new service innovation and diversification strategies
- What strategies could telcos adopt to succeed going forward?
- Case study 1: TELUS brand positioning
- Case study 2: o2 Priority Moments
- Case study 3: MTN – sustainable economic value
- Case study 4: Telstra Health
- Deep dive: What learnings can be drawn from successful strategies adopted by Orange
- What has Orange done?
- What has been the impact on Orange’s results?
- How has strategy contributed to Orange being a loved brand?
- What lessons are there for other operators?
- How do others develop and sustain “the love”?
- Recommendations for being a loved brand in the new era for telecoms
- TELUS Health: Innovation leader case study
- Vertical innovation leaders: How Telstra’s healthcare jigsaw is coming together
- The Coordination Age