Last week, the Staffing Industry Analysts website published a blog post by staffing expert Hinda Chalew, who used her title to ask an important question: “Is Brand Loyalty Dead?” She seems to think that it is, pointing out how review websites can undermine the power of a brand by shedding light on an organization’s negatives.
In her post, Chalew urges internal marketing departments to get involved in communication efforts with temporary staff. Not only can marketing help with recruitment and placement, she writes, but it can also help a company maintain its relevance and position among contingent workers. She’s absolutely right on this point.
That said, I disagree with her contention that a staffing company is only as good as its last placement. Such a narrow focus doesn’t consider the totality of a company’s efforts.
As I’ve mentioned before, the best staffing companies “recognize that selling people is much different from selling copiers, cars, or software.” They also plan for the inevitable failures, and they focus on adding value and building client relationships that go far beyond their last placement. In short, the best companies’ practices are broad in scope and incorporate long-term planning. Taken together, all of these practices—not just one by itself—can go far in promoting brand loyalty.
So is brand loyalty a thing of the past? Absolutely not!
Want proof that brand loyalty still runs strong? Just put an iOS user and an Android user in a room together and ask them to choose the best platform for mobile devices. (And be prepared to duck as the discussion heats up!)
Or you can simply reflect on your own personal experiences. Like many people, I stick with companies that earn my loyalty. For example, I have no problem paying a bit more for a product or service if I think I’m getting good value (such as when the salesperson teaches me something new before taking my money). Similarly, I’m more inclined to stick with companies that I’m confident will do the right thing (without forcing me to beg them for a replacement or refund) when something goes wrong with their products or services.
Getting back to the article I mentioned at the beginning, measuring a company’s success—and the brand loyalty it builds from that—in terms of just one moment or interaction misses the big picture. Sure, sometimes an isolated incident does have a dramatic effect on how a person regards a business. On a number of occasions, incredible restaurant service has transformed my average meal into a gourmet event that I told all my friends about. And I’m sure you’ve had the experience of feeling more positive about a company after finishing a phone call with a customer service representative who resolved your issue and was exceptionally helpful and friendly.
Most people build an opinion of an organization based on numerous factors. First impressions, for example, can lay the groundwork for a strongly developed opinion. Top companies also actively maintain connections with their customers by building brand awareness and staying top of mind. They constantly market themselves to all of their contacts through multifaceted campaigns that can include internal communication (which Chalew promotes), social media (which everyone is doing these days), and stand-out-from-the-crowd print publications—such as branded magazines.
So when it comes to building brand loyalty, staffing companies need to pay close attention to how they can shape the experiences of customers—both temporary employees and the companies they’re placed in. Brand loyalty leads to higher retention rates, repeat business, and possibilities for growth. The ability to develop and expand such loyalty is one critical distinction between the good staffing companies and the best ones.