Company Market Leadership via ABC Alignment: Archetype, Brand, Customer

How a company’s primary Archetype drives an authentic brand and the delivery of exceptional customer service and customer experiences

After being hired as a consultant and researching numerous companies, I have discovered the following as to why some achieve market leadership while others do not. What I have discovered is that market leading companies like Amazon, Intuit, American Express, Apple, Southwest Airlines, Wegmans, Gartner, Nielsen, Lego, Hallmark, Disney, etc., have all achieved a high degree of alignment between their ABCs – their organizational Archetype, their corporate Brand and their Customer presence. They are all authentically aligned, in-synch and balanced both internally through the experienced corporate culture as well as externally through the brand and customer experience. Through my experience with many companies and brands I have also found that when these items are misaligned or not balanced, there is a negative reaction to company by the employees, customers and stakeholders.

To draw an analogy to people you meet, ask yourself, if you have ever meet or run into someone who meets the following characteristics:

1) Is a self-proclaimed advocate for protecting against sexual harassment and then makes inappropriate glances or comments as an attractive person passes by?
2) Describes themselves as a person of tolerance and acceptance but speaks in a manner that is condescending or hurtful to others, etc.?
3) Maintains they are for protecting the environment, global warming, etc. but in practice they throw litter onto the sidewalk or out of their car window and have a older automobile that pollutes a great deal?

If you have, you might walk away saying the following:

“That was totally unexpected!”
“They are a phony, fake”
“That person was totally disingenuous, not authentic!”

Not surprisingly, the same thing happens upon interacting with inauthentic companies as follows:

1 The company states that their customers are their #1 focus yet their delivered customer service is horrible and totally frustrates their customers.
2 The company indicates that they are for the environment from a corporate culture perspective, but print many of their marketing and other materials on physical paper stock and is not recycling on a systemic and/or widespread basis.
3 The company’s advertisements are very funny, engaging and/or professional, yet customers are offended and upset when they interact with the company’s rude and apathetic customer service representatives.
4 The company states that their culture promotes employee work life balance, but as an employee, you hardly ever see you family due to crushing workloads.

As a customer or as an employee, you’re likely to have the same reflex as when you encounter an inauthentic person. You would probably react by registering your displeasure with the company and avoid the next interaction or defect from the company as soon as possible.  

In stark contrast, companies who are market leaders achieve what I call authentic ABC alignment. In this, there is perfect alignment and synergy between their ABCs as follows:
1) Archetype (company’s main personality, attributes)
2) Brand (projected company image (external) and reflected culture (internal))
3) Customer service and experience delivery (company attitude, manners, empathy, etc.)

The following chart illustrated this perfect ABC alignment:

ABC Alignment, Balance, Authenticity

Organizational Archetypes represents a company’s dominant personality types, sometimes driven disproportionally by the CEO or CxO team in the case of smaller companies. The organization’s archetype is the true identity and personality of the company, who they truly are, what makes them go from a strengths perspective, what shadows hold them back, etc. These archetype traits are hidden to an organization until revealed through the lens of analysis tools like “CultureTalk” (https://culturetalk.com/). Performing a “CultureTalk” Analysis applies a set of lenses to be able to clearly reveal, in 20/20 clarity, a set of a company’s main personality types. Below is a chart that reveals the 12 Archetypes that a company can align to as well as examples of companies that align to each Archetype.

12 CultureTalk Archetypes, with Organizational Examples

Above Graphic courtesy of CultureTalk

Swiss psychologist Carl Jung used the word “archetype” to refer to the recurring patterns found in our universal stories. He identified the themes, symbols, and imagery as part of the human psyche. More recently, Dr. Carol Pearson built out Jung’s work with a body of research that examined archetypal attributes within organizations. CultureTalk, based on the work of Jung and Pearson, takes centuries of understanding and translates it for today’s business leaders. The result is a framework of 12 Archetypes that a company can align to in terms of its dominant personality type(s).

Organizationally, CultureTalk assessments answers the questions: What type of company are we, what do we stand for, what dominant traits represent the authentic company? There aren’t good or bad Organizational Archetypes, but each has a strength and shadow side that we need to understand in order to drive maximized organizational effectiveness.

12 CultureTalk Archetypes, Highlight: Lego Organizational Example

Lego Creator Archetype

Above Graphic courtesy of CultureTalk

As an illustration, the Creator Archetype above is described in the graphic below is focused on “the creation of things, ideas, approaches, experiences, art work and solutions” and is well represented by the very familiar and popular company Lego. Below is a more detailed description of the main characteristics (strengths) of this Creator Archetype.

The Creator Organizational Archetype

Above Graphic courtesy of CultureTalk

Lego is in perfect alignment and balance with this Archetype, driven by invention, creation, designing, dreaming, etc.

The shadows of a creator Archetype company like Lego are as follows:

Creator Organizational Archetype Shadows

Above Graphic courtesy of CultureTalk.

The full list of strengths and shadows of a creator Archetype company like Lego are as follows:

Full List of Creator Archetype Strengths and Shadows

Above Graphic courtesy of CultureTalk

It is important that a company’s Brand image be in authentic alignment with their main Archetypes, otherwise they are striving to portray an image that is out of alignment with their main personality type – trying to portray as something they are inherently not, being inauthentic to the world. This brand image is manifested in two different dimensions as follows:


1) Outside the company: The image that is being presented to the world, it stakeholders, employees, customers, etc.
2) Inside the company: The image reflected via its experienced company culture

In order to be an authentic company, it is important for a company to have its brand in alignment with its dominant Archetypes, otherwise they are portraying themselves as something they are not truly comfortable with, something they are not, being inauthentic to their main personality types and strengths.

Continuing the Lego example, we see perfect and authentic alignment with their main archetype and their brand messaging.

About the Lego Brand

Source: https://www.lego.com/en-us/aboutus/lego-group

The Lego Brand supports driving of innovation and creativity to their customer base which encourages the creator individual archetypes. For the public to be comfortable with the brand they have to be truly and heartfelt dedicated toward driving the creativity and the passions of their customer’s creator archetypes.

About the Lego Culture

Source: https://www.lego.com/en-us/aboutus/lego-group/the-lego-brand

The C stands for the manner in which a company delivers its Customer service and Customer experiences. Continuing with the previous Lego Creator Archetype, here is a customer service example of how the Lego Customer Brand and Culture is driving an equally consistent and authentic creator customer experience.

Here is a letter sent to Lego by a 7 year old boy named Luka who is a Lego customer regarding him losing one of his Lego figures.

Letter to Lego Customer Service

Source: “https://beloved-brands.com/2016/06/18/lego-letter”

Here is the skillfully crafted reply to Luka, written in a manner that is completely in alignment with and, appealing to, Luka’s creator archetype.

Letter from Lego Customer Service

Source: “https://beloved-brands.com/2016/06/18/lego-letter”

The article from Beloved Brands, where this information was sourced from, notes:

“For Lego, in the world of social media, this type of story does wonders for continuing the magic of their brand. And it’s a great example of going above and beyond. What I like in the letter is how they please the boy, but also give a solid wink to the parent who is likely the bigger target of this letter. The dad ended up tweeting about the story, lots of viral hits and then picked up in the mainstream media including TV and newspapers in the UK, US, and Canada. And now millions are reading about this story (including you right now.)”

Equally important as the exceptional “surprise and delight” customer service going viral and generating a great deal of positive company and brand buzz, is that the tone and manner in which the customer service letter is written. The letter was masterfully crafted to be in perfect alignment with the organization’s primary Creator archetype, but simultaneously encourages and supports the customer’s (Luka’s) creator Archetype.

Here are additional examples of authentic alignment between an organization’s primary archetype and their brand and/or customer service and experience delivery;

1) When interacting with Disney, we expect authentic customer interactions to deliver magical and exciting customer experiences due to their primary organizational archetype being a Magician.

Source: The Disney Institute, Service Policy

The above service guidelines could have been written in the typical boring manner like many other company directives as follows:

1) We will make eye contact and smile when encountering any of our guests.
2) We will welcome each Disney guest with the following greeting “xxxx” upon meeting them.
3) Etc., etc.

Disney instead wrote these in a way to communicate the service standard, but did so in a way consistent with the Magician Archetype by illustrating the Magic of the Disney characters and how they bring magical experiences to the children who visit their venues.

The service guideline that illustrates the consistency with Magician Archetype the best above is #6. This service guideline specifically references the delivery a “magical guest experience” and reinforces the concept that Disney delivers magic (as you would expect from a Magician Archetype) via both their company brand and through their customer delivered experiences.

Magician Organizational Archetype Strengths

Above Graphic courtesy of CultureTalk

Wegmans Everyperson Archetype

2) When interacting with Wegmans food markets, we would expect all branding and employee/customer communications to be authentically in alignment with the Everyperson archetype. Indeed their values reflect this and even display the words in the values “every person”.

Wegmans Values

Source: “https://www.wegmans.com/about-us/company-overview”

Colleen Wegman, Wegmans Letter

Source: “https://thezebra.org/2020/06/01/wegmans-is-increasing-their-hours-of-operation-as-they-adapt-to-phase-i”

This employee communication from CEO Colleen Wegman is also in perfect alignment with the Everyperson archetype with the above telltale words “all of you”, “trying time for everyone”, “people – our suppliers, employees, customers, community partners -…”, “every one of you”. Again, Wegmans is a great example where they have perfect ABC alignment, authenticity.

Everyperson Organizational Archetype Strengths

Above Graphic courtesy of CultureTalk

3) When calling Nielsen or Gartner for B2B expert research or insights, we expect the brand and customer experience to be highly insightful, informed, based on analytical research – all characteristics of the Sage organizational Archetype.

Gartner Products

Source: https://www.gartner.com/en/products

About Gartner

https://www.gartner.com/en/products

About Nielsen 1

About Nielsen 2

https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/about-us/

Both Gartner and Nielsen also demonstrate that they are authentic to their archetype and maintain ABC alignment and authenticity.

Sage Organizational Archetype Strengths

Above Graphic courtesy of CultureTalk

4) When interacting with the Apple Brand, we would expect the customer interactions to be reflective of a culture that is about inventing new and radically different/innovative products and experiences by challenging the status quo. These innovative and inventive characteristics are all telltale signs of the Revolutionary organizational Archetype.

About Apple 1

Source: https://www.apple.com/jobs/us/about.html

About Apple 2

Source: https://www.apple.com/jobs/us/about.html

The way Apple has reflected the Revolutionary Archetype is via its release of new and innovative products we previously thought weren’t possible. It started with the Apple I and Apple II computers and went onto the LaserWriter, the iPod, the iTunes Store, iPhone, ipad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, etc. The release of these was accomplished with total alignment to their Brand and to the customer experience standards.  

Sample Apple New Product Innovations

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/apples-origins-an-oral-history-from-inside-the-loop/

Revolutionary Organizational Archetype Strengths

Above Graphic courtesy of CultureTalk

Hallmark Lover Archetype

5) Hallmark, per their culture statement, believes that “care” and creating an “emotionally connected world” are the driving forces behind their delivered customer experiences and are the passions of the Lover Archetype.

About the Hallmark Company

Source: “https://corporate.hallmark.com/about/hallmark-cards-company/”

About the Hallmark Culture

Source: “https://corporate.hallmark.com/culture/hallmark-family/”

Lover Organizational Archetype Strengths

Above Graphic courtesy of CultureTalk

What all of this demonstrates is the rule of customer service cultural archetype delivery, stated as follows:

Top Customer Service Companies –> Culture Alignment

Once you have determined your corporate Archetype via a tool like CultureTalk, the best way to ensure that both your brand and customer experience is in alignment is by direct measurement. For this measurement, I recommend a solution category called “Experience Management Measurement”. This enables companies to measure the experience for brand-products as well as the customer. One market leading tool I have encountered and recommend highly is Qualtrics (https://www.qualtrics.com/). Qualtrics was Named #1 Leader in Experience Management Measurement in Industry-Leading Product Rankings*. Qualtrics can assist you in the measurement of both brand and customer alignment by simply querying both your market and customers on their perceptions on brand and customer authenticity, perceived consistency, etc.

*Source: https://www.qualtrics.com/news/qualtrics-named-1-leader-in-experience-management-in-industry-leading-product-ranking/

Summary/Conclusion:

Just like successful people who are inherently highly consistent and authentic: values, personality, interests, actions, manners, spoken language, etc., the same consistency-authenticity driven success applies to companies. Companies that drive a totally consistent and authentic market presence tend to achieve ABC alignment: Archetype, Brand messaging, and Customer presence.

Without ABC alignment, the company appears to be disingenuous to the public and to their customers – trying to be something they are not per their primary Archetype. Only those achieving perfect alignment become market leaders as in our examples of Lego, Gartner, Nielsen, Disney, Apple, Wegmans, Hallmark, etc.

If your organization is seeking experienced assistance in deploying legendary levels of culturally aligned customer service, then give me a call or e-mail me at 518-339-5857 or stevenjeffes@gmail.com. I have also recently become a certified CultureTalk consultant, ready to help your company transform into a high performing and market leading (legendary) customer focused culture http://www.legendarycx.com

Lastly, this is just one article of over 50 articles I have written on customer strategy, customer experience, CRM, marketing, product management, competitive intelligence, corporate innovation, change management – all of which I have significant experience in delivering for Fortune 500 companies. In fact, my blog is now followed by nearly 107,000 world-wide and was just named one of the top 100 CRM blogs on the planet by Feedspot, alongside Salesforce.com, Infor, Microsoft, SAS, etc. – Reference this informative site here: https://blog.feedspot.com/crm_blogs/

Brand Management 101 Primer for Non-Marketing/Brand Senior Executives (CEOs, COOs, CSOs, CHROs, CFOs, CIOs, etc.)

 

The Brand Process Life-Cycle

The Brand Process Life-Cycle

The Brand Process Life-Cycle

The Brand Process Life-Cycle

During my career non-brand professionals and executives have asked me privately what the brand life-cycle looks like from a 50,000 foot level (a.k.a. a simplified elevator pitch version). I finally sat down the other day to map this life-cycle process out and the above chart is the simplified (level 0) representation of this process. I am calling this my brand management primer 101 for non-brand and marketing executives (CFOs, CSOs, CHROs, CIOs, etc.). The overall process consists of four (4) major life-cycle stages as follows:

  1. Plan the Brand – Plan the brand such that both quantitative and qualitative brand goals are achieved

  2. Position the Brand – Ensure the brand is positioned well in terms of market, competitors, customers, prospects, etc.

  3. Deliver the brand promise – Deliver upon the expectations of the brand in terms of stakeholders, regulators, customers, brand interested, etc.

  4. Analyze the Brand – Determine if the brand is reaching its intended goals in #1 above

For each of the phases above, I included a sample objective (one of many) for each phase. These objectives while similar across many companies, the specifics objectives would be tailored for each individual company.  The important thing to remember with the above is that the life-cycle processes need to be constantly reviewed and enhanced over time utilizing a continuous improvement process approach and methodology.

Included in the above graphic is a sampling of analysis techniques for each lifecycle phase. When the process lifecycle details are determined, the analysis and ‘health check’ metrics would also be determined in order to continually gauge the overall progress of the brand toward a set of goals and objectives.

For those more analytically inclined and as an example, we might decide to use a time series or multivariate analysis in determining the marketing effectiveness on the brand(s) in the “Analyze the Brand” phase. On the other hand, a time series analysis would be used to help illuminate brand trends, issues and opportunities in historical data over a period of time as well as be used to predict future values based on previously observed values. For example, it can be used to illustrate the brand decline curve of defecting customers beyond the time that a brand is first launched as to predict the rate of decline into the future for use in projecting future revenues.

Brand Health Analysis Techniques

Brand Health Analysis Techniques

The chart above highlights two of the brand analysis techniques mentioned in the previous graphic, that being the Brand Pyramid (Health) Analysis (also commonly referred to as the brand funnel analysis if viewed from bottom to top) and the Brand Pyramid Conversion Analysis. This is meant as an overview, the next graphic takes a deep dive into each analysis technique. The key to the above chart are the questions to the left of each section as these a key in determining overall brand health.

Brand Pyramid (Strength) Analysis

Brand Pyramid (Strength) Analysis

The above chart illustrates the Brand Pyramid (strength) analysis and is sometimes also referred to as the brand health funnel analysis. In this consumers are queried about a set of questions regarding the brand. In order to qualify for the next level query, the consumer must have answered “yes” to ALL of the previous, lower level questions. For example, a consumer would need to “buy” the product to be able to “use” and only then would they be able to rate how well “satisfied with” they are with the brand (products/services).

In a perfect world, the pyramid would look more like a square with 100% of people going from “aware” all the up to “pay premium”, but the above represents the real life pyramid and what real brand analysis results typically look like.

Brand Pyramid Conversion Analysis

Brand Pyramid Conversion Analysis

The above brand pyramid conversion analysis measures the brand health slightly differently in that these are the conversion rates of audiences at each level of the brand pyramid.  To use an example, if 100 people were queried about the brand, a full 93.5% were aware of it. Of that 93.5%, 89.5% were familiar. Of the 89.5% that were familiar, only 83.5% (or 69.8 on previous chart) had a high opinion of the brand. This analysis reveals that, while people were familiar with the brand, many didn’t think very highly of the brand due to some negative perception that will need to be determined for root cause(s) (i.e. pricing, quality, warranty, features, etc.).

Is your organization planning on launching new brand or optimizing an existing one? If so, give me a call, I call help you achieve world-class brand programs that enable you to surpass your competition and bring your organization or agency to the next level of brand management excellence.

Lastly, this is just one article of 40 total I have written on Customer strategy, CRM, marketing, product management, competitive intelligence, corporate innovation, change management – all of which I have significant experience in delivering for Fortune 500 companies.  In fact, my blog is now followed by nearly 158,000+ world-wide and was just named one of the top 100 CRM blogs on the planet by Feedspot, alongside Salesforce.com, Infor, Microsoft, SAS, etc. – Reference this informative site here: https://blog.feedspot.com/crm_blogs/

 

Customer Emotions that Drive Buying Behavior

Find out why most companies miss the mark in terms of focusing on generating positive customer emotions

slide1

Solutions to Problems AND Good Customer Emotions Need to Exist for Long-Term Loyalty

Good products and services are only part of the equation in terms of generating customer repeat business, loyalty, long-term retention

slide2

Some Customers Will Work to Destroy Your Business While Others Are Willing Partners in Helping You Grow, Be More Successful

Some customers will actually work to kill your company and brand(s), namely dissenters and defectors, while others will work tirelessly to bolster your sales, reputation, customer acquisition efforts, etc.

slide3

Guidelines for Generating Positive Customer Emotions and Relations

It is essential that all of your customer facing team members are representing the company and brand well, and that they adhere to your stated customer principles

slide4

Sample Steps to Developing an Environment Where Customers Are Motivated to Buy from Your Company

Your customer facing team members need to develop a customer interaction playbook that is consistent with your brand and customer mantra

slide5

Alignment of the customer delivery ‘value chain’ is Crucial

Every aspect of your customer delivery ‘value chain’ needs to be synchronized to deliver a highly consistent and high quality (emotional) experience as rated by your customers

slide6

A Chief Customer Officer’s (CCO) role is to Advocate for the Customer within the CxO suite

** Refer to previous blog article on the 5 R’s of customer loyalty – https://goo.gl/L4IA3q

If you rate customer satisfaction and loyalty as a high company priority, then they must be represented by a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) that will truly advocate for customers and set the customer standards that drive positive customer emotions

Summary:  The following points summarize the content of this blog as follows:

  • In order to develop customer loyalty you must have both great products and services as well as the ability to generate positive customer emotions (customer delight, feeling connected to the company)

  • Segments of your customer base will work to destroy your attempt at market success while others are your partners in helping your company become even more successful.

  • In order to drive positive customer emotions and convert your customers into advocates and super-advocates, you must develop an internal customer relations playbook (develop customer vision, code of customer interaction conduct, etc.)

  • Every aspect of your customer delivery ‘value chain’ needs to be in-synch in order to deliver an end-to-end superb and fulfilling customer experience

  • Every company should have the equivalent of a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) in order to set the customer vision and standards and be the ultimate advocate for all of your customers.

The Importance of the Brand Value Chain (BVC) to Attaining Market Leadership

A High Performing Company with All Value Chain Links Strong (No Brand Value Links Broken or Sub-optimized):

Company Brand Value Chain
Company Brand Value Chain

How a Broken Value Chain Impacts Your Company

In order for your company to have a chance at being a market leader, it is important for it to have all links in the brand value chain attaining top effectiveness. Just one broken link in this brand value chain (BVC) can bring your whole company down and subject your company to the following risks:

1)      Loss of Market Share as compared to your competitors

2)      Inability to close sales

3)      Lack of marketing leads and inquiries

4)      Declining customer base over time including customer defection to the competition

What is the Brand Value Chain (BVC) you might ask?

The Brand Value Chain is defined as the effectiveness of the sum of all company functions delivered to your customers and the marketplace: Marketing, Sales, Product/Service Quality, Customer Service, Pricing, Warranties/Returns, Customer Relationship & Experience Quality, etc.

Brand Value Chain Defined
Brand Value Chain Defined

Therefore, when one link of the brand value chain is weak or about to break, the following rule regarding brand image almost always holds true:

Brand Image & Brand Value Chain Rule
Brand Image & Brand Value Chain Rule

Symptoms of a Broken Value Chain:

  1. Your sales team just can’t seem to close the deals. Potential broken value chain links: Poor customer service, product utility/quality, pricing.
  2. You have great products, pricing and customer service but nobody has heard of you. Likely broken value chain links: Poor marketing and/or sales operations.
  3. Your customer base keeps declining year-over-year: Likely broken value chain links: Poor customer service or eroding product quality or pricing.
  4. Your marketing generates a plethora of leads that are not closed or turned into sales deals: Likely broken value chain links: Sales operations and marketing-sales lead management procedures are non-existent or sub-optimized.

Examples Companies with Potential Broken Value Chains:

Every day we see examples of companies that seem to have everything going for them except one weak link in the brand value chain that brings the entire perceived brand value down. Some examples are as follows:

  • Comcast – great programming, great marketing/sales, great products, great technology & infrastructure but perceived bad customer service and pricing creates a negative impression of the company by many customers and prospects – their company’s Achilles heel.
  • Searsgreat products, good pricing, good in-store sales, etc. but is severely lacking in marketing and promotions including in-store and on-line customer experience design which tends to brings down the other great intra-company performers and has led to a decline in the customer base.
  • General Motorsgood pricing, promotions, dealer sales, etc. but perceived increased negative product quality due to the number of recent recalls has brought many questions regarding the GM brand. These questions about product quality could impact customer retention and acquisition in the longer-term.

How the Broken Value Chain Impacts Company Performance:

What all of these examples show is that a company must deliver great performances in every category to become a market leader. One broken link in the brand value chain is enough to reduce the company to a market laggard and risks them going out of business over time if not rectified.

The following chart illustrates how one broken brand value chain has the ability to bring down the entire company and risk its overall viability:

Company Impacts of the Broken Brand Value Chain
Company Impacts of the Broken Brand Value Chain

 

How to Identify & Rectify a Broken Value Chain:

What steps can you take to identify and then rectify a broken brand value chain (BBVC) you might ask? Here are some easy steps to take to first, identify and then rectify a broken value chain:

Proven Methods to Identify a Broken Value Chain (BVC):

 

  • Inter-departmental peer reviews – How well do our peer departments think we are performing?
  • External departmental & function benchmark reviews – how well are doing vs. market leading company’s similar function (e.g. sales to sales or marketing to marketing performance comparison)?
  • Customer external scorecard reviews – How well do our customers and prospects think we are performing?

 

 Methods to Rectify a broken value chain:

  1. Perform Six-Sigma process and effectiveness improvement reviews
  2. Invite customers to participate in focus groups and advisory councils to help identify ways to improve the department’s effectiveness (sales, marketing, customer service, etc.)
  3. Form Improvement “Tiger Teams” consisting of inter-departmental high performers to assist with increasing functional performance.
  4. Invite outside and leading consulting firms to help infuse a holistic set of industry best practices across and within company functions – marketing, sales, customer service, pricing, etc.
  5. Tie performance and variable rewards to customer rated scorecards where company employees only get paid bonuses when our customers rate us as high performing.
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