Brand image and delivery process are dependent: Nicks

MUMBAI: Loyalty is about finding the right balance and is at the heart of management, said Ipsos product development & innovation director Gailynn Nicks at the I3 Seminar on Ipsos In Innovation.

Nicks said that there should be balance between customer centric policies such as good customer service, quality of products, offers discounts and business outcomes comprising customer retention, profitability and increased share of wallet.

Although the details of loyalty are different across sectors, the types of attitude and behaviour that demonstrate loyalty have much in common. Nicks divided loyalty into two categories - attitudes and behaviours. Emotions such as repurchase or intention to use and brand preference or consideration fall under attitude, while behaviours cover share of behaviour and trend in behaviour loyalty.
A good framework is critical to create value and deliver profitable loyalty. “Understanding desired business outcomes, measuring and leveraging the current and future relationship potential with customers, getting feedback from touchpoints that enables specific and immediate attention and measuring performance and compliance are critical”, Nicks elaborated.

Nicks went on to explain the relationship between brand and process delivery. She said that process delivery is part of the total effect of the brand on loyalty.

Features such as quality, relevance, affinity popularity, willing to pay, satisfaction, trust and differentiation are brand drivers. The process is driven by relationship management, communication, products and services, branch, ATM, commisions and rates, internet, phone banking and complaints.
“Though process (delivery) and brand drivers both affect loyalty, it is never true that brands are independent of how they are delivered. This is even truer for service brands”, Nicks stated. And one should look at the two together to see the how they intertwine and how much leverage the brand offers over and above delivery, he elaborated.

Citing the example of mobile service providers, Nicks affirmed that higher intensity of interaction leads to stronger relationships between brand and process.

Hence, in pre-pay, as the interaction with the customer is lower, brand leverage on loyalty rises.

“It is even possible for process to drive loyalty at a greater level than brand”, Nicks said.

To clarify this statement, Nicks gave the example of Ryanair. “Though they are known to provide cheap airline traveling, their delivery on process makes them profitable. One of Ryanair’s MDs once asked someone straight-away, ‘what else can you get, with that price-tag?’” she joked.

Nicks concluded her talk by saying that the key is delivering on promises and providing value for money.

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