Posted by Andy Curlewis - Director - Brand, Digital & Communications
employer brand
Posted on September 21st, 2012 at 9:17 am

Convergence – The elephant in the room?

By and large, a business is the point at which its people come together with its customers to produce relevant services/products and memorable experiences.

Customer needs define and dictate our products and services whilst great talent innovates, shapes and delivers great products and experiences to our customers. One is irrelevant without the other.

So it stands to reason that we need our organisations to be truly focused and integrated at the point of interaction between our talent and our customers.

But how easy is it to actually make this happen across different business areas within increasingly complicated organisations?

Innovative, diverse, agile, creative, commercial, customer centric, collaborative, lean, risk aware – yes those are my business area’s attributes. Actually – every business area would say the same.

Great products, sales/profit, new markets, customer centricity and sustainability/agility – yep check all of those for any business.

But what actually makes a great business – one that genuinely differentiates itself from the rest? Would it be those that genuinely get the link between its own people and its customers?

Apple, John Lewis, Innocent, Virgin Airlines (OK the jury may still be out on Virgin Galactic) and today’s Google all spring to mind. After all – why is it that “Every little helps” just sticks in the mind – probably because it applies to almost any aspect of the Tesco experience from looking after the pennies, to being helped by the staff, to being looked after by the company.

But getting the different business areas to engage and integrate at the customer coalface – is it still the elephant in the room?

Let’s start with whom needs to lead this out – many consumer businesses have appointed senior roles such as Customer Experience Directors whilst this blog asked some good questions around whom should be responsible for the employer brand and reputation, raising the interesting notion of a Reputation Director. Ultimately, for the talent or people experience there is only so far HR or Talent functions can take it without a demonstrable and accepted relationship with the customer experience and thus bottom line.

But how well do the likes of marketing, product, sales, corporate comms work with HR/Talent to truly integrate respective programmes and vice versa?  Generally it has had to be driven by CXO and whilst it is absolutely right that it should be sponsored and/or led by the leadership, there are so many reasons and opportunities for the individual business areas to seek each other out as the rule, rather than the enforced exception.

But who wants to work with that lot in marketing? And let’s not engage with HR as it will just mean more work or compromising what we do.

Funny thing is though, they do seem to have the same drivers. And the same customers.

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