Alignment between the brand positioning and culture : the case of Santam Ltd
Van der Walt, Maarten
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ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In service industries, the people are the brand and the brand is the people (Taylor, 2003:136). People are one of the dimensions that differentiate a brand (the others are product, price, place, promotion, process, physical evidence). The realisation of the brand promise depends on how the staff will live the brand in their daily activities. If staff treats customers badly, the effect on the image of the company is negative and the brand promise made to customers is not fulfilled. There are unfortunately many misguided companies that expect that a new name, fancy logo and flashy advertising campaign by themselves are enough to attract customers (Taylor, 2003:3). Culture: Several studies (De Geus, 1997; Fitz-Enz in Barret, 1998) examined the key factors contributing to corporate longevity and identified six characteristics of long-lasting, successful companies. These companies focus on more than just financial results and the identified characteristics show a strong focus on building a positive organisational culture. There are many models of organisational culture. Santam used the model developed by Richard Barret (1998), which links human needs and personal motivations with human consciousness. He consequently identified seven levels of organisational consciousness based on the view that organisations grow and develop in the same way that individuals do, according to seven well-defined developmental stages. Organisations that learn how to master all seven needs operate from a full spectrum consciousness (Barret, 2006:26). Barret (2006:26), showed that these are the most resilient and profitable corporations because they have the ability to respond appropriately to all business needs. Culture is the DNA of the company and can be seen as the driving force for all actions, decisions and belief systems of the organisation, whether at a conscious or unconscious level. Moser (2003:11) notes that, before a company can project a unique, external brand, you must first understand the company’s internal character. This internal identity, defined by values that the company considers integral to its existence, is the source from which all other aspects of the brand will, ideally, flow. Brand: According to Roberts (2005:27), on an average day, a person can expect to have been in touch with around 1 500 trademarked products. In some supermarkets there are up to 35 000 trademarked products. Because the consumer is bombarded by so many products and services, all the marketing and advertising strategies in the world mean nothing unless the consumer defines the product as a brand. Moser (2003:2) distinguishes between the internal and external parts of the organisation. The internal part of the company has to do with the company itself: how well it knows itself, what its values are, how consistently it acts in accordance with its values and what it really believes about the quality of its products and services. The external part of a company’s identity is how well it connects and relates to others. The better it knows itself and what it stands for, the better it connects with everyone who comes in contact with the brand – investors, suppliers, employees, prospects and even competitors. According to Campbell (2003:34), brand positioning is the key to success. Understanding the brand’s “positioning” statement (the blueprint of what it is, what it represents and where it is going) helps designers to interpret the brand’s personality. Positioning helps a company to define who and what it is and what it does. It explains where a company fits into the marketplace, what it has to offer that is unique and why people should care. Santam: In 2005, Santam developed its current strategy, also called the 2010 strategy. The mission and vision were condensed into a purpose statement: To be the best in everything we choose to do. The purpose statement is supported by six strategic thrusts. As part of the 2010 strategy, Santam has gone through a process of repositioning the Santam brand to become a leadership brand. Santam will remain a monolithic brand, with all aspects of the business branded “Santam”. The market in Santam can be divided into personal insurance and commercial insurance. The personal insurance market is segmented, using income and life stage as criteria. This segment can be divided into two sub-segments: Clients who are active in the insurance market; and Clients who are entering the insurance market. The commercial insurance market is segmented according to the size of the business (based on the number of employees) and the life stage of the business. To become a leading brand, Santam has to offer something customers want and which competitors do not offer – a unique product in the insurance market. Santam wants to challenge the industry by offering value, providing reassurance and making it easy for customers to do business with them. However, they do not want to lose direct customers (customers not dealing with a broker) and weaken their relationship with brokers Santam’s brand promise includes a proactive approach per segment. The benefit it promises to the client is that Santam will make life safer (risk management), resulting in life being nicer (rewards and other benefits through partnering with stakeholders in the value chain). Santam made use of an extensive process to identify and develop values that will support the brand positioning. Several workshops were held around the company, involving as many employees as possible. The outcome of the workshops and the new brand positioning was announced at a company-wide event, to which all Santam employees were flown from all over South Africa. The values were populated against three philosophies and were communicated at the event. The three philosophies and seven values communicated were the following: Inspire: Passion and committed Embrace: Care, integrity and diversity Think Big: Inventive and excellence. The purpose of the event was to make a bold statement through showing employees that Santam cares and simultaneously communicating the new Santam brand positioning to them. After the event, the culture was measured by populating the values into Barret’s (1998:67) cultural model. The objective of the culture measurement was twofold: To determine the gap between the current culture and the future culture that will enable the company to achieve the strategy; and To determine how entrenched the values that were identified are. The culture survey showed the gap between what staff value personally, the current culture and the desired future values. After the measurement, the survey results were work-shopped with all business units to validate the results and to determine when to start, stop and continue actions. All these actions resulted in a values and behaviour framework (appendix 1) that can be used in a culture-transformation framework. The purpose of the framework is to develop the culture that supports the brand.
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