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Beyond the box: The intriguing challenges of branding service companies
Differentiating service-based companies is a difficult task, and the associated challenges have resulted in a plethora of similarly positioned brands within many service categories and, ultimately, the commoditisation of entire service industries. Defining the unique intangible value of a service offering is important to developing a differentiated service-based brand that creates a significant competitive advantage. Once the most compelling intangible is identified and its underlying value is articulated, service-based companies can begin the process of making that intangible value real for customers through both brand experience and marketing. This paper discusses how to put ideas into action when branding a services company, including understanding customer perceptions, exploring many different possibilities for branding, finding a meaningful essential idea and indoctrinating employees into the brand so that each employee acts as a brand ambassador.
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Ida Cheinman is founding principal and creative director of the brand communications firm Substance151. She has over 20 years of design and management experience with a primary focus on brand strategy and design across print and digital media. She is a sought-after speaker who presents on branding, marketing, design and technology, helping business leaders and marketing professionals make sense of trends, tools and best practices in order to position their firms to win in the 21st century’s fast-changing and extremely competitive marketplace. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland — Baltimore County (UMBC).
Susan Bishop is brand strategist with Substance151. She brings over 20 years of marketing, branding and copywriting experience across a wide range of traditional and digital media, including print, broadcast and interactive segments. At Substance151, her role is to analyse and develop highly differentiated and value-driven brands. Her work has earned multiple creative awards, and she regularly presents on the topics of branding, marketing and business.