For global brands such as Randstad, brand consistency is one of the most important factors related to positive brand experience, says Frans Cornelis, CMO of Randstad. While many people might think that brand consistency is about logo and touchpoints, Frans is certain that brand consistency is more than a logo, it is actually a company culture.
Brand consistency begins with people, it is an inside-out approach, he says. If you want to win outside you need to win inside first. Randstad has many ways of making sure that company values are implemented, from regular meetings, worldwide parties, training, and internal workshops. All is organized to make sure Randstad employees live and understand company core values: to know, to serve, to trust.
These values refer to the Randstad approach of doing business, it’s all about understanding customers needs (to know), work together as a team to create meaningful solutions for clients (to serve) and act with integrity (to be trusted). Randstad’s reputation of doing things right and sticking to the deal, no matter what are custom practices in markets where they are present, from North America to Poland or India.
Today we have access to so many new technologies and metrics to measure the performance of businesses, that sometime it is easy to lose track of what really matters: brand consistency and brand culture. So I really appreciate Frans’ approach of taking culture to the account when analyzing and using big data. Big Data tricks can work in the short term but in long term they might be not good for the customer, he told me. Consequently, harsh implementation of Big Data discovery techniques can cause customer backlash and disturb the image of a brand.
Big Data is the name used for the collection of information from traditional and digital sources inside and outside the company and that represent a source for ongoing discovery and analysis. And while Randstad does accumulate and use quite a large amount of internal and external (web) data, especially on the candidate side, it is not always easy to define a good return for the effort.
Frans also noticed limited effectiveness of social media saying that so far they [Randstad] have kissed many frogs and are still waiting for the prince to emerge. Neither Big Data nor Social Media are magic bullet for success he says, emphasizing his calm approach towards technological innovations.
To my question what the best promotional strategy would be in these days of ever changing marketing he answered that adding value is the best strategy. It doesn’t not matter what new technology is or will come, adding value to society is what has worked and always will work.
An example of this approach is Randstad’s latest program called “Jeugd op zoek” (translated as “Young Seekers”). Randstad launched this program to help young people finding a first job, and they approached entrepreneurs and corporations via the media and asked them to create jobs for young, just out of school people. They also organized free training for job seekers, and this way, during 7 weeks they helped almost 10 000 young people to find a job, which was many thousands more than Randstad normally would have been able to do. Did this action help Randstad with brand awareness and brand preference? Yes, absolutely, but in the same time these 10.000 young people became employees and for many of those this would not have happened if Randstad would not have organized the program. This is a perfect example of adding value to society.
No wonder that Randstad’s “Net Promoter Score”, a customer loyalty metric, has been high.
The Net Promoter Score is based on the fundamental perspective that all company’s customers can be divided into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. People are asked a simple question: How likely is it that you would recommend Randstad to a friend or colleague? Customers respond on a 0-to-7 point rating scale. In their benchmark studies, Randstad and Tempo Team are the only two HR brands in the Netherlands that have positive net promoter scores, and almost all other brands have negative promoter scores, says Frans Cornelis.
I really enjoyed chatting with Frans, he is such a great storyteller. It was my second interview with him. You can read the first interview here.