From out of nowhere everyone started talking about Eicom, or actually about their massive re-branding with Eir. Must say it was brilliant to see such a traditional company ditching direct sales model and taking steps back to allow customers to make a decision who to choose. Everything so far amazes me, how active Eircom was searching for new talent in universities. How their brand looks and their video commercial. It was actually giving me goose bumps. If such a company can stop direct sales as main tactic, many would follow the lead. And maybe, just maybe Ireland will become where marketing grad would not need to open a company to stick with his trade. Personally, I Believe that changes big changes are to come, and there are a good few lessons we could learn from Eir.
1. Brand is about experience not specs or best option
It’s easy to confuse customers with extras benefits and promotions, but difficult to make them actually like you. For some reason some traces of data packed infomercials, such as fastest 100 Meg broadband, take a bit too much of the valuable air time. Actually 100 is as impressive as 2005 Ford Mondeo. Now maybe because very likable brand Virgin came into Ireland, Eircom knew it’s make or break time. Re-branding brought a feeling of pride and togetherness into choosing broadband. Something that makes all those numbers and digits way less important.
2. Door to door sales are gone
It had allot to-do with f-ups of financial services, or more importantly few insurance bad apples. Because of it, now by law, no one actually can knock on your door and sell insurance. Eircom used the same method for years, paid crazy commissions, relied on numbers. Direct sales can be very effective, it gives instant results, companies can push bonuses instead of experimenting with marketing. But don’t you just hate to get excited thinking visitors or online delivery is waiting outside in reality just to see some owl selling you something. Now here I was disappointed, it appears that now Eir, went back to their old habits and started knocking on doors. Will see how long it lasts this time.
3. Consumers who chase discounts are cheaters
If you give them discount they come to you, but if your competitors is doing the same they switch. Now if technology is allowing price adjustment in favor of the consumer, the company must find a way to fix the imbalance. But trying to base financial year reports on this particular segment is at minimum not that smart, and as a maximum way to unpredictable and cloudy. If to trace cancellation rates versus acquisition costs and customer lifetime value figures become way less impressive and seem to look more at mid management method to hide the real problems before annual investor meeting.
4. Providing good customer service isn’t cutting it anymore
Sadly, I heard lots of bad stories about Eircom customer service. Personally both with Meteor or Eircom never had a problem, I paid 75 euro for all inclusive plan, but service was good. But now consumers want to be part of the cool family and it would have to make some very worried. How will you make the marketing department work in your organisation, when no bulletproof plan was ever created and lots of money will be lost in making. Brand is something that is impossible to fake, it takes planning, self reflection and good old trial and error to find own call. It’s something like personal style, takes years of being laughed at to perfect.
5. You can always reinvent yourself.
Little background on Eircom, it is a public private company with many shareholders to please. Many good decisions were scraped as being not bottom line profit oriented enough. Making decisions there at Eir must be extremely difficult, everyone is about profits. But the good news is, if Eir did it, anyone can do it. Look back at your own company and try to find what are you all about. What made you start business in the first place, family history. Recently I was having a creative discussion with a possible client for a tea brand. All I needed is to suggest his grandmother’s name, passion that lit up his eyes is what’s needed for a brand to be real and authentic.
Change is good sometimes, it brings excitement, fuels innovation and rids of weak players in the market. Thank you, Sir Richard Branson for shaking Irish broadband networks a bit. Long waited change and maybe, just maybe we will have broadband like in Seoul, customer service like at Amazon and prices like in Lidl. What changes to apply to your business is up to you, but sudden changes in very slow to adapt organisation should act as a signal that more flexible businesses should have taken re-branding route long time ago.