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    Friday, January 18, 2008

    Service Design Changes The Rules

    I've been taught some valuable lessons at school. Most of them I've forgotten from the moment I walked out of the school building for the last time. But, oddly enough, some ideas got stuck in my head.

    For example, I learned the difference between branding and marketing. And I actually cherished that rule. For years I've been a pain in the ass of many marketing, brand and product manager telling them time and time again they should never confuse these two disciplines. Never!

    But I feel it might be time to start questioning some rudimental principles. There is a service revolution going on after all. And what's a revolution without changing a couple of rules.

    Let's assume for a second we live in a perfect world and service organisations are bold enough to go were no man.... etc. And they are actually going to embrace all the 'service design' principles. Than service organisations are going to be all about engagement, empowerment, co-ownership, meaningful relationships and building an organisation around the costumer needs and wants.

    What could follow is this:

    Identity = Image
    A direct result of customer (and employee) empowerment, co-ownership and co-production. If you're customers can truly shape your organisation than your identity equals your image.

    Branding = Marketing
    This one scares the heck out of most organisations I know. The rule is: Marketing begins with the customer and branding begins within the company. But this is thinking in commodities not services. Co-ownership will hand over the brand to the customer.

    Marketing communications = Internal communications
    To deliver a great service everyone involved in the delivery should embrace the same set of values. And this means a customer-centered organisation can't differentiate between the people who work for the organisation and customers. They must be treated the same and given the same information. The only differences is that employees get paid.

    This is just a thought that's been rattling around in my head for a while. And at DesignThinkers we use it as an inspiring starting-point to think up some innovative business-models. But my old marketing teacher is going to think I'm a raving idiot, so no change there.

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