TORONTO – A unique sales proposition, even one that is consistently represented across digital mediums, is no longer enough to satisfy the Web-savvy customer, according to a partner with Quarry Integrated Communications Inc.


important is there’s a consistent keeping of the promise that brand represents,”” said Glen Drummond, whose firm’s client list includes Hewlett-Packard Co., Research in Motion Ltd. and FedEx Corp.

What Drummond was referring to is the need for companies to migrate their offline branding into an online experience.

For FedEx, as company marketing advisor Andy Miller said, that means translating the art of the FedEx brand into the science of good digital branding. In plain English, recreating the experience, including usability and consistency and interactivity, of FedEx phone-based customer service in an online environment.

Miller admitted FedEx has not traditionally matched the consistentcy of its offline branding on the Web. Interfaces, he said, have been overly different for different types of customers.

“”If someone’s going to ship a lot of packages and increase from a software to a hardware solution, they’re going to have to learn a new interface,”” he said.

One of the goals of the FedEx Digital Brand System, designed with Waterloo,Ont.-based Quarry and currently being implemented, is to make the migration across interfaces more intuitive even as the interfaces remain tailored to the customer bases that use them.

“”Usability is food, shelter, clothing – the basic needs of a Web site,”” Drummond said, lamenting the fact that few Web sites actually achieve a suitable level of it.

But taking the next step in digital branding requires appealing to customer values, Drummond said, which is why Quarry is continuously conducting focus groups to determine the best design and interactive features for different FedEx customers.

“”If you’re going to be providing support to customer online, you have to understand how that person is talking, the logic of their approach, you have to take that knowledge and build it into the technical system.””

For companies like FedEx, that means taking the time to ensure the IT and marketing departments work together to make digital branding campaigns work, Drummond said.

But as a company whose business is based on timing, FedEx also has to balance the customer experience with pressure to meet launch schedules.

“”In technology, the push to get out there as fast as possible is one of the No. 1 things,”” Miller said. “”If (competitors) beat us to the punch, that also affects our brand.””


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