Today we have been running a pilot session for our upcoming ICT workshops. These are building upon the successful customer focus sessions we ran last year. The basic thrust of the event is around our ICT strategy, how this fits in with what the business wants and what our individual roles are in delivering it.
One of the exercises to get us thinking was around brand awareness and recognition. We were paired up and given a piece of paper with some brand symbols and asked to write down if we could recognise them and, more importantly what impression we had of the company they represented.
There were a dozen brands shown. All were recognised and everyone had an impression to tell about the companies, some good and some not so. It was odd that some people had a positive experience to tell while others didn’t enjoy dealing with the company.
Two brands stood out for me however. The first was the Toyota log and the other was the golden arches of McDonalds. When we were asked what did the Toyota mark stand for, quality was the main theme. We discussed how they had problems with recalls yet everyone thought that, while it might have tarnished the quality image of the product it improved the quality image of the brand in that they were quick to accept and resolve their mistakes.
When we got round to McDonalds we talked about consistency around the globe, knowing what you got, the cleanliness and hygiene of their stores as well as how they had got many of us out of a scrape, especially if we were in a foreign country or had hungry children. What was particularly interesting was that for a restaurant the food was hardly mentioned. It was all of the other things that made the brand stand out.
For Toyota it was its integrity and for McDonalds it was their consistency that resonated with us. How much time do we spend within our own organisations thinking about our product and our services when our customers are most likely measuring us by some other factors?
I wonder what our customers would say about our brand. Perhaps I should ask them.