Posts Tagged ‘brand’

What’s the difference between strategic marketing and strategic communications?

posted by Scott McKenzie

My friend Henri has just asked me a great question: what is the difference between strategic marketing and strategic communications?

Marketers would probably see PR (or communications ) as just one component part of the marketing mix. I would challenge this assertion. 

In fact I would see strategic marketing as essentially being part of strategic communications. And to be clear I don’t necessarily see marketers as “owners” of the brand. Marketers may make promises on behalf of the brand but it is down to employees (and other touchpoints) to deliver on that brand promise.

Indeed this is a topic we will be tackling head on at our event next Wednesday here at H&K London. We have great speakers from Aviva, British Gas and Soho Partners lined up on our panel. It’s invite only but if you would like to get along drop me a note.

So going back to Henri’s question I would define strategic communications along the lines of: 

“Shaping conversations with key publics, influencers and opinion formers in ways which fulfil the organisation’s strategic objectives, reputation and brand”

What do you think? What would your definition be?

It’s the brand… Stupid

posted by Scott McKenzie

I despair I really do. Today’s news on Bank of Scotland’s handling of complaints is the latest in a long line of self-inflicted injuries by the Banking sector.

I spent 10 years working in Banking and here at H&K we work with a number of Financial Services companies manage their reputation, engage their employees and deal with issues and crises.

And there have been a few. We have witnessed banks stumble from one self-inflicted PR disaster to another. From the nadir of the economic crisis to unjustifiable overdraft charges and the shambles of Payment Protection Insurance.

What is so difficult to understand? The brand really does matter. And frankly it doesn’t matter how fluffy and people-centric your advertsising is (stand up NatWest)… if you treat your customers with such wanton disregard your brand will be in tatters.

Yes balance sheets are important. But so is trust. So is reputation. The Banks really need to up their game on customer service, on handling complaints on having greater transparency on pricing.

The new UK regulatory regime likely to be far more punitive when banks get it wrong. Rightly so. But we all have a role to play.

In his wonderful book “Whoops: Why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay…”,  John Lanchester brilliantly explains how banks make their money in a wonderfully simple and clear way. We should demand the same transparency. The banks have a right to make (lots of) money. But they should be doing it the right way. And we all have a duty to hold them to account.

BTW – if you are interested in how employees can help brands really work you should come along to our event on the 15 June. It will be a panel discussion with great speakers from Bacardi, Aviva and British Gas. One you should not miss!