Thursday, December 29, 2005

Expectations are what AT&T needs to manage

According to an article on hostreview.com, AT&T is about to launch "its most ambitious and aggressive brand campaign in its more than 120-year history." What is fascinating about this campaign is a why they are doing it. Check out the quote from the article below:

"The research showed a remarkable 85 percent correlation across all customer groups as to what brand attributes are most highly valued. 'Our customers told us that, above all, there are three things they expect from us,'” said Whitacre. '“They want innovation thats meaningful, that makes a real difference for them. They expect us to earn their trust by keeping our promises and standing behind our products. And they expect us to treat them fairly, with no surprises. '‘Your world. Delivered.'’ is our way of pledging to all of our customers — from a teenager in California to the CIO of a global company— that AT&T's passion to invent and SBC'’s drive to deliver have come together to deliver what matters most in their lives.'"”

Customers want the company to keep its promises, stand behind its products and treat them fairly without surprises. WOW! These are truly revolutionary insights! Was AT&T surprised by these findings? Were they shocked that customers want to be treated with respect and honesty? Horrors! What's a marketer to do?

Underlying this entire plan is the need to overcome the Paradox of Excellence. Yet, I fear the company lacks a clear understanding that without shaping those customer expectations and without setting realistic expectations in the customers' minds, AT&T will have done little to get customers to believe in their brand again.

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