Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do Consumers Care about Company Ownership?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do Consumers Care about Company Ownership?

Article excerpt

John Lewis and The Co-op are highlighting the fact that they are owned by their staff. But does having a stake in a business improve customer service, and do consumers care who holds the shares?

ADAM LEIGH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, THE COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY

NO. Consumers really don't care about the profit-share opportunities of the person serving them. We are a nation of self-obsessed cynics and all we really care about is what price we are paying and the level of service we are receiving.

Communicating service initiatives with clear consumer benefits is much more effective. When Tesco announced that it would open another till if queues were getting too long, it did not link this fact to the workforce pulling together in the quest for improved performance. It is what staff do that is important, not the reasons behind their actions. Collective corporate ownership is laudable, but it is not a relevant communication strategy.

CHRISTIAN CULL, DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS, BSKYB

MAYBE. If you can show that ownership plays a part in motivating service, then do so. But consumers must see what's in it for them. Value is key.

Whoever owns the key to the retail door, you're only as good as your customers' experience. In that sense, every workforce holds the power, because they own the experience.

Consumers own the brand, though, and they need to know they made the right choice. Their experience must be authentic. If it is enhanced because the people serving them are inspired to give their all in 'their own shop', then by all means celebrate that. …

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