Six Pillars of Services Branding

Brands are even more important for services than for goods since consumers have no tangible attributes to assess the brand. A service brand therefore has to be based on a clear competitive position which must be communicated and understood by staff who are capable of delivering the brand promise.

Brand managers in the services sector in particular would do well to
consider Conrad Free (1996) who suggested that their brand strategy
must reflect a true competitive advantage, encompassing the following

  1. High quality top management: The commitment of top management is
    fundamental to guarantee excellent service brand delivery
  2. Vision: Everyone needs to understand and be committed to the
    brand vision.
  3. Results driven: Vision should be translated into clearly defined
    goals for all staff
  4. Competitiveness: The company should benchmark its performance
    against best practices both inside and outside the sector
  5. Use of technology: This is a fundamental source of sustainable
    competitive advantage
  6. Consumer focus: The customer needs to be regarded as central to everything the organisation does.

Not a bad list. My only disagreement is that in the 20 years since Free’s comments technology has become less and less of a competitive advantage because of falling costs. Otherwise I think he was spot on. Do you?

Herman D. Alvaranga is president of the Caribbean School of Sales Management


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