CRM in Global Brand Management
Customer relationship management(CRM) comprises of practices, strategies, and technologies that firms use in managing and analyzing how customers interact with data along customer lifecycle. The aim is improving relations in consumer service, help retain customers and drive growth of sales (Woodcock et al., 2011). The systems employed in CRM compile multiple data sources in different channels, or at contact points, between a company and its customers, including websites, telephone, chats, marketing materials, mails, and social media networks. Successful global brand management balances local-level aspirations with global strategic visions. Global brand management complexity has grown and proved dynamic in a world where businesses have been globalized, multinationals firms and growing online enterprises and social interactions.
It is challenging to manage brands in the modern world which is highly interconnected and has complex business environments. Brands tend to be affected by rising competition, government regulations, issues in supply chain and distribution, and costs in manufacturing while at the same time advocating and managing reputation (Woodcock et al. 2011). For firms to tackle factors internally and externally across different geographical zones, worldwide brand management practices must have resilience, be futuristic, respond to change, and have an orientation towards growth. In ensuring intended effects of growth and profitability in the long-run, international practices must have some defining characteristics.
Successful brand management entails balancing traditional guardrails with the freedom of adapting to capitalize on opportunities for growth available locally. Without such freedom to leverage on arising opportunities, brands are at risk of being obsolete and immaterial. Brand adaptability, including variants, extensions, and diversification, should not water down the brand’s values and lead to loss of profits (Cambra-Fierroet al 2017). Frequent evaluation of a brand’s strategy helps ensure uniformity in international brand assurance across different countries and geographical regions.
Emerging technology-based solutions have altered how brand management is done. Future-minded businesses have established potential benefits on technology in managing their brands and have adopted such technologies in their business operations (Cambra-Fierro et al 2017). Percolate is a marketing software that Unilever is using in support of its international brand management. CRM, identity, licensing, and activation systems have rapidly advanced in technological innovation and world scalability.
CRM applications in mobile phones and tablets are becoming a basic need for sales teams and marketing experts who need access of customer-related information which help perform tasks while out of office (Woodcock et al. 2011). These applications use unique features in mobile devices that include voice recognition and GPS, which help marketing and sales staff access to client information at any location.
In B2B environments, CRM assists monitor sales in the sales funnel, facilitating a firm to tackle issues arising during the process. These applications in a B2B market help create visibility of more prospects, thus improve efficiency in the process of sales.
Use of Custodians
One individual in an organization should ensure consistency in strategy, brand identity, marketing, and activations (Woodcock et al., 2011). These individuals are the brand custodians and act as strategic guides and mentors. They also advise local teams in brand marketing on strategy matters, including management of brand guidelines, maintaining uniformity in brand setting, localizing or adapting brand communications, integration of strategies in the local market in international brand strategy, the facilitation of knowledge sharing and best practices among the local and international brand teams.
Over the decades’ intake of data implementation for CRM applications has been the function of sales representatives and the marketing department and agents in the contact centers (Soler-Labajos & Jiménez-Zarco 2016). The marketing and sales team identifies leads and performs system updates with information during the customer lifecycle. At the same time, contact centers help gather data, revise historical records of customers through services, telephone calls and offer technical support in interactions.
Organizational structures, when designed and aligned, ensure people work to their level best. Local, regional, and global brand management roles should be fully integrated into companies. International against local issues of regional in what works or does not over issues on strategy should be properly documented and observed through management practices (Soler-Labajos & Jiménez-Zarco 2016). Clear definitions of roles and responsibilities and reduction of overlaps should be made in brand management.
Social media in branding helps companies interact with their clients and consumers one on one through the use of social platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. These platforms offer customers an avenue of sharing their experiences with a brand, whether promoting it or raising concern about the brand’s products (Soler-Labajos & Jiménez-Zarco 2016). In value addition to customer interactions on these platforms, firms utilize various CRM tools that help track conversations-from certain brand mentions to the number of times specific words are used, which help ascertain the targeted audience and the social media they engage. Some of the tools analyze feedback on social media and tackle queries and issues from customers.
Firms are interested in getting sentiments from customers, which include the possibility of product recommendation and the general satisfaction of customers, to compose marketing and service strategies. Data obtained from social CRM is integrated with sales data and marketing departments to achieve one perspective on a customer. Social CRM also creates values for brands in customer communities. Consumers post reviews on products and can interact with each other in resolving matters or research on goods in real-time.
The top management should support and be actively involved in customer relationship management. The management should be willing to avail sufficient and necessary resources to implement CRM strategies and processes (Khlif & Jallouli 2014). The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for implementing CRM strategies and practices in a company. Successful implementation of CRM programs and plans in a firm directly depends on the commitment and support of the CEO. The CEO has influences on employees to increase the intensity of staff in participating in CRM-related activities.
Nurturing a culture right in an organization acts as a significant element in CRM strategy implementation, especially if strategy falls with the information technology and marketing departments; each should have its organizational sub-culture. The culture enables an organization to be customer-oriented and consider CRM as a widely shared organizational philosophy.
Organizational structure is critical in establishing a team with specific formal responsibilities in CRM. Before CRM programs begin, key skills and positions need to be filled with staff. Leaders in an organization must act as the catalysts in creating team-oriented firms (Khlif & Jallouli 2014). Team members in CRM interact and have an influence on each other through trust and relationships that are meaningful in achieving goals and objectives. Implementation of CRM strategies requires the involvement of diverse people, including; salespeople, marketing, service providers, business analyst, information technologists, and a wide range of managers who ensure the definition, delivery, and deployment of CRM strategy. Human resource management plays a crucial role in improving CRM by recruiting and selecting the right employees.
Knowledge management in an organization is the fundamental rationale on which a company’s existence is creation, transfer, and use of knowledge. From a CRM view, knowledge can be identified as what firms learn from customer experiences through studying consumer data. Knowledge management (KM) leverages information, data, skills, assets, and expertise to enhance innovation, production, response, and competency (Khlif & Jallouli 2014). It encompasses critical issues in the processes of an organization through the use of relevant technologies to harmonize several knowledge assets. KM gives focus on knowledge on customers, competitors, market segments, and personalization. This success factor entails creating, transferring, and applying knowledge to improve customer satisfaction.
The level of service quality has a significant impact on customer loyalty. Service quality has a global attitude or judgment concerning assessing superiority or service excellence provided by the Information Systems department and support personnel. It describes the overall support application management delivers and is evaluated through empathy, assurance, and responsiveness (Khlif & Jallouli 2014). In implementing CRM, it is important to integrate processes. Comprehensive management of sales, marketing, and service process demands integration in processes in the front and back office. Integration focuses on integrating CRM systems with current ones and different departments with the aim of meeting CRM and departmental objectives.
Customer orientation forms a key component of market orientation. If organizations have enough understanding of customers, they are able to offer them more added value. Customer orientation unequivocally places a customer at the center of all its operations in building long-term customer relationships (Cambra-Fierroet al 2017). It is for this reason that customer orientation becomes a significant component in the organizational climate necessary for the success of CRM. Customer-oriented firms design their processes better; thus, customer orientation becomes a fundamental prerequisite for successfully implementing CRM strategies.
Global brand management requires proactive. Changes in technology, social media platforms, CRM tools, analysis in culture and trends, co-creation, social listening platforms, crowd-funding, and disruptive innovations make it easier for brand marketers to be close to customers and get accurate on spotting, predicting, and leveraging (Khlif & Jallouli 2014). Brand management practices should have alignment to emerging technologies and tools and integrate them into key functions.
The benefits of new technologies can be reaped when technology is integrated and not acting as an input in processes. If a firm’s short and long-term strategies are drive innovation in brand building, therefore, techniques such as co-creation need to be integrated in brand management practices from the start (Woodcock et al., 2011). Brands become international through efficiency in implementation and brand building. Globalizing brands is a complex cycle and demands regular adaptability and scalability. Management of global brands must improve adaptability, innovation, and growth. They must be done by leveraging local aspirations to the brand’s international vision or strategy.
Cambra-Fierro, J. J., Centeno, E., Olavarria, A., & Vazquez-Carrasco, R. (2017). Success factors in a CRM strategy: technology is not all. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 25(4), 316-333.
Khlif, H., & Jallouli, R. (2014). The success factors of CRM systems: An explanatory analysis. Journal of Global Business & Technology, 10(2), 25-42.
Soler-Labajos, N., & Jiménez-Zarco, A. I. (2016). Social CRM.
Woodcock, N., Green, A., & Starkey, M. (2011). Social CRM as a business strategy. Journal of Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management, 18(1), 50-64.