Accrediting Managers at Work in the 21st Century




Professor KC Chan, Dr. Christopher Goh, Dr. Colin Koh

The essence of business and   marketing strategy is to achieve brand leadership by carefully segmenting, specifically targeting and mindfully positioning to the key account customers, i.e. applying The 80/20 Golden Rule; 20% of the customers contribute to 80% of the sales revenue. Operationally,  it is essential to ensure that customer touch points (or  pain points) stay within the tolerance limit, ranging from satisfaction to delight, i.e. The 90/10 Excellent Service Rule;  90% of customer’s experience is controllable and only 10% is uncontrollable. To manage customer experience is to manage and to appeal to the five senses of the customer at the touch points.  “The brand” as sensory experience or Experiential Marketing is the buzzword of marketers today.



Brand Leadership

The four elements are:

·         Brand Awareness ( Through Sponsorship of Events)

Visa for Olympics; Nike for NBA; Samsung for World Cup; Marlboro for Formula 1. Brand Awareness is not what the company thinks it is. The onus is on the customers.   It is what the customers say it is. It is the recollection of the customers which matters.

·         Brand Association (Attributes of the Product/Service)

Volvo for safety; Nike for performance; FedEx for guaranteed over-night delivery; Hallmark for caring. Brand Association is the positioning of the brand name in the minds of the customers. BMW for “Sheer Driving Pleasure” is the tagline outside of The US. But in The US, the original tagline stays as “The Ultimate Driving Machine”. Brand association is what the customers want to associate themselves with in terms of the unique selling proposition of the product/service.

·         Brand Loyalty (Customer Retention)

To maintain customers’ loyalty to the brand, it is imperative to incentivize them with gestures of appreciation. Commercial airlines join forces to form alliances, e.g. Star Alliance, Asia Miles, One World, Sky Team. Points are awarded to frequent flyers who stick with those airlines “under one roof”, the use of their lounges at airports around the world, and converting the points awarded into free seats or upgrading from “one class to another”, e.g. from Economy to Business Class.

·         Brand Experience (Touch Points)

Brand experience is highly correlated with self-image. See classification below:

-       Actual Self:            How an individual sees himself/herself in relation   to the brand.

-       Ideal Self:               How an individual would like to see himself/herself in relation to the brand.

-       Social Self:             How an individual feels others see himself/herself in relation to the brand.

-       Ideal Social Self:    How an individual would like others to see himself/herself in relation to the brand.


Positioning is the effort to connect Brand Association with Brand Experience. Examples of brand positioning are given below:

Brand Association

Brand Experience

 The Market Share Leader

The Biggest

The Quality Leader

The Best and Most Reliable Product/Service

The Service Leader

The Most Responsive To Customer’s Complaint

The Technology Leader

The First To Develop New Technology

The Innovation Leader

The Most Imaginative In Application

The Adaptable Leader

The Most Fluid Admits  Changes

The Relationship Leader

The Most Committed to  Customer’s Success

The Prestige Leader

The Most Exclusive

The Knowledge leader

The Forefront of Attitude, Abilities and Skills

The Global Leader

The Best-Positioned to Service World Markets

The Bargain Leader

The Lowest Price Offer

The Value Leader

The Best Price Performance


Customer Experience Management

In actuality, Brand Awareness, Brand Association, Brand Loyalty and Brand Experience are reinforced during the critical moment of truth when the customer’s experiences the brand and compares with his/her expectation. This experience is essentially via the five senses.



·         The Sense of Smell (Atmospheric)

For furniture, smell plays a critical role in influencing the decision of a customer. The type of shellac, the different types of wood, leather, lining, etc., that is used for internal and external finishes.


·         The  Sense of Sound (Auditory)

For furniture, the “solid” or “hollow” sound of the wood can influence the decision of a customer. Obviously, for leather and fabric finishes the effect of sound plays a less critical role to influence the buying behaviour.


·         The Sense of Sight (Visual)

The aesthetic value of the furniture design, whether wood, leather, cane, bamboo or fabric, with the contemporary colour scheme and its accessories, play a vital role in influencing the buying behaviour. Often, aesthetic value includes mobility. For example, the concept of IKEA Furniture is that it can be assembled and disassembled according to the needs of the user.


·         The  Sense of Taste (Aesthetic)

For furniture, “taste” is related to the theme of Rosewood Classic, Victorian, Zen, Balinese; Eastern or Western theme or the fusion of East and West design concept for home furnishing. Furnishings for kitchen, living room, dining room and reading room are vastly different in taste and design.


·         The  Sense of Touch (Tactile)

For furniture, the softness or hardness depends on the preference of the user. For example, the high-end furniture comes with filings made of geese feathers and synthetics. The user will find the touch so comfortable that he/she can fall asleep within five to ten minutes after relaxing on the sofa.

The future of marketing depends on three critical factors, i.e. Aesthetics, Emotions and Experiences. Emotional and aesthetic aspects are becoming more and more important for the experience of a brand. In experiential marketing, the five human senses are stimulated to offer a holistic experience. See below.

5 Human Senses

Branding as Positioning

Emit & Smell

·   Strive to own a whiff  in customer’s olfactory channel

Speak  & Listen

·   Strive to own a tune in customer’s  auditory channel

Gesture &  Receive

·   Strive to own a sight in customer’s visual channel.

Taste & Try

·   Strive to own an art in customer’s aesthetic channel.

Touch  & Feel

·   Strive to own a sensation in customer’s tactile channel.


To be sure, brand leadership and customer experience management connect branding as “a positioning within the five human senses”. Finally, the sixth sense of customer intuition would alert marketers to take cognizance of   “The Soul of Sensory Marketing” in today’s world.