Never knowingly undersold: how solid is your brand?

Whilst stood at the counter in John Lewis today buying an item of clothing, a thought struck me, “how nice it is to shop in John Lewis.” Every time I shop there, sadly not as often as I’d like, I feel a little bit special.  There is always a notable difference between the customer service I receive at John Lewis and the customer service I receive in other high street stores. I notice it every time.

It always feels different,  it always makes me feel good and I always want to come back.

A few months ago I was delivering a marketing seminar on ‘how to develop a kick ass seminar’ and used John Lewis as an example when demonstrating the importance of a unique selling point. I referred to a number of widely known brands and their strap lines – highlighting that the strap line demonstrates a brand’s point of difference and gives a hint of the experience you should expect from that brand.

When it came to the John Lewis example – “Never knowingly undersold” one of the audience challenged me. “Well what does that mean exactly? I’ve never understood that? It doesn’t make sense.” was her retort.

To me the strap line “Never knowingly undersold” implies that John Lewis won’t overcharge you or rip you off but also inherent in that statement is that they aren’t selling the cheapest product which in turn implies quality.

I just Googled the strap line to see if my interpretation was correct and found an explanation on the John Lewis website, summarised below:

  • Quality – You can trust that we will always stock the best quality products.
  • Price – We set highly competitive prices for all our products.
  • Service – John Lewis staff are Partners in the business, and are highly trained to offer helpful, impartial advice on all products.

It would appear that my interpretation was correct and true to my experience today.

So readers, I expect you are wondering where I am going with all this…

Whilst I was making my purchase in John Lewis today I was reminded about the company’s brand values through the service I received. A brand is not just the name, logo or strap line (the visual elements of the brand), it concerns the entire customer experience and this should be consistent for your customer across every interaction.

So far John Lewis has been bang on brand for me every time and because of this I trust them and want to come back again and again.