You are here: Home - News -

Brand development can help build value

by:
  • 01/08/2000
  • 0
Funny things, brands. You want your brand to be perceived by your customers as having a specific set...

Funny things, brands. You want your brand to be perceived by your customers as having a specific set of values and your customers, all too often, perceive something quite different.

Take Marks & Spencer, for example. I know it is an easy target, but that does not mean there are not lessons here for us all. The M&S brand was always perceived as meaning good quality. Slightly more expensive, but good quality.

But then M&S made its big mistake – it assumed that because its brand meant good quality in 1970, then it would always mean good quality. By making this assumption, it lost sight of its customers who were increasingly seeing M&S as old-fashioned and unexciting.

No company can afford to lose sight of how its customers’ attitudes and behaviours are changing, nor to keep a close eye on the competition and see how it is developing. But it is not just a question of making sure your brand continues to deliver the perceived values that you want it to. There is the question of how you develop and extend the brand so that it delivers those perceived values in greater depth or breadth. Mind you, Virgin tried it with trains and look what happened.

So what has all this got to do with financial services, and mortgage lenders in particular? Well, plenty. Take adverse credit business, for example. Traditional high street lenders guard their brand values carefully – and quite rightly so – but these values do not always sit that well with developing mortgages where there is an adverse credit history. One answer is to have a separate company, a different brand with different brand values, as Britannia did with Verso.

There are lots of things you can do with your existing brand to grow its values, or re-build it in M&S’s case. It is all down to understanding your customers and providing them with the experience they expect. For M&S, this involves changing the face and style of its stores, introducing new designer ranges and making the stores a place to visit for more than just underwear.

In the financial services high street, what is wrong with taking the idea of the cybercafe and using it to create more of a relaxed ‘coffee shop’ environment for selling mortgages? If it provides the customer with the experience that supports and builds on the brand values, it can only be a good thing.

Of course, it does not end there. Customers are always changing, the competitive market place is always changing. So companies have to change as well, recognising that attitudes and behaviour do not stand still.

Jeff Sutherland-Kay is head of intermediary sales development at Alliance & Leicester

Tags

There are 0 Comment(s)

You may also be interested in

Business Skills

In this section, we offer short ‘how to’ guides on harder to crack areas of business. From social media, to regulation or niche product areas, we cover it all.

Profiles

Our journalists interview key industry entrepreneurs, strategists and commentators for day-to-day market insight and a strategic view of where the industry is heading. We offer lessons for success and explore the opportunities for your business

Success in Practice

Here, we share case studies fleshing out best practice to help you decide what could work for your business. Take a look at how others approached complex tasks like launching a new mortgage lender, advising on a new product area or deciding to specialise in another. Learn from others mistakes and triumphs.

Marketwatch

Each week, we ask top mortgage and property commentators with a unique perspective to examine a key news headline, market move or regulatory or political issue.

Poll

Vote in our weekly poll here. It’s your chance to tell us what you think and be heard on the top news stories of the week. Review our archive to find out what your industry really thinks and all our coverage of the results.

Top Comments

Be part of the conversation on Mortgage Solutions. We want to hear from you. We have a tool called Disqus to tell us which stories get the most comments each week. Every Friday, the team picks the most thoughtful or opinionated contributions from our readers to enjoy again. Don’t forget to share your favourite stories from the site on social media to keep the conversation going.
Read previous post:
Buy-to-let market likely to remain buoyant

The buy-to-let market is set to keep expanding for the foreseeable future, according to the results ...

Close