Patrick McLean, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, TD Bank, examined human brand potential and what it means for today's marketers during his keynote address to Argyle's CMO membership at the 2016 CMO Financial Services Leadership Forum in New York on June 8. In his presentation, "Unleashing Your Human Brand Potential," McLean described how a brand can take a human-centric approach to its customer interactions.
According to McLean, many organizations are focused on data and analytics and use statistics to measure the success of their marketing efforts.
However, this sometimes can be problematic, particularly if a company prioritizes the use of data and analytics over focusing on ways to build long-lasting partnerships with customers.
"You can't forget about your brand and how you're showing up with your customers," McLean said. "You have to be careful not to over weight the data and analytics side of your marketing equation."
How a business brands itself can serve as a key differentiator for a company in a highly competitive global marketplace, McLean noted.
As such, a business should dedicate the necessary time and resources to learn about its customers and provide them with consistent support, as this may help a company build a successful brand.
At TD Bank, the organization focuses on serving the needs of its clients with a human-centric approach, one that extends far beyond its everyday operations within any of its bank locations nationwide.
"We are very, very focused on making sure the interaction is as personal, as friendly and as human as possible when you're interacting with us," McLean said. "That's also true of our social media experience. We offer widespread customer service through all of the social media channels that we operate."
Ultimately, McLean said his company strives to promote a "purpose-driven brand."
TD Bank also emphasizes being actively engaged and a valued member of the communities in which the organization operates.
"Happy and engaged employees means happy and engaged customers, and ultimately, happy and engaged shareholders."
Today, many customers are looking to work with brands that focus on values that are meaningful to them.
And if a company explores ways to support the communities in which it operates, this business may be able to reap the benefits of long-lasting partnerships with large groups of consumers.
"It's not only good corporate citizenship, but it's also good for business," McLean said. "[Good corporate citizenship] actually really does matter to people."
How a business treats both its employees and clients may dictate its short- and long-term successes, too.
In addition, how a business supports its employees and clients could impact its ability to find and retain top talent consistently.
"Millennials will actually expect that their employers will focus on mission-driven, purpose-driven issues," McLean pointed out. "From an employment perspective and getting and retaining top talent, this is also a critically important part of how your brand needs to show up."
Employee engagement plays an important role in a brand's success as well.
"[Good corporate citizenship] actually really does matter to people."
If a company fails to identify opportunities to educate its workers and help them achieve their career goals, it risks falling behind rivals.
On the other hand, a business that engages its workers day after day may be able to benefit from above-average employee engagement levels, along with improved customer and shareholder engagement.
"Happy and engaged employees means happy and engaged customers, and ultimately, happy and engaged shareholders," McLean said. "From a values perspective and a purpose-driven perspective, it becomes increasingly important that we engage employees in the values that we have as a company."
Moreover, social media delivers valuable opportunities for brands to interact with customers at a local level.
Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter drive customer engagement by giving consumers the chance to share their thoughts and feelings about a company and its offerings.
Meanwhile, companies can use social media to learn about their customers and explore innovative ways to provide them with reliable support. This enables businesses to assist customers at a hyper-local level and drive their customer engagement levels.
"We target social media at a local level. And what we've found is that we have 50 percent to 60 percent more engagement in a post that we make at a local level," McLean noted. "[Social media] becomes a really, really important way for us to connect locally."
Lastly, building a diverse culture may deliver long-lasting benefits for an organization, its employees and its customers.
Diversity fosters engagement, McLean said, and can make it easier for a business to extend its global reach. And if a company wants to gain a competitive advantage over its rivals, focusing on building a diverse workforce may help a company find and retain top talent.