Not long ago I had the chance to speak with Vinoo Vijay, the CMO for H&R Block. I wanted to pick his brain on a myriad of topics — AKA, conduct an audit of this iconic brand — as well as getting his thoughts on the world of marketing at large.
Culture is the Brand
Many brands today have realized just how important their culture is to their long-term success. Still, I’m shocked by the number of brands and their leadership who still don’t get it.
Vern Dosch, who wrote the book "Wired Differently,” once said: “I used to believe that culture was ‘soft,’ and had little bearing on our bottom line. What I believe today is that our culture has everything to do with our bottom line, now and into the future.”
When I asked Vijay about the word culture as it applies to H&R Block, his immediate reply is quite succinct: “Our culture is the brand.” He adds, it’s “a deeply people-and-service-oriented culture, grounded in helping and inspiring confidence in our clients and communities.”
A CX-Rooted Culture
According to its latest campaign, H&R Block is surely putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to customer experience.
The goal of the campaign — which will run until April 15 across broadcast, online, email, social, radio, print and outdoor channels — is to educate consumers that all tax prep is not created equal. According to Vijay, the brand is fully committed to offering better ways to get taxes done — including delivering optimal experiences, be they online or in-person.
He says the brand is leaning more into targeted digital media this year. “We know and seek the best possible relevance and reach by strengthening our media targeting, our creative personalization, our brand linkage, and our pace of rotation and testing.”
Below is an example of one of the TV spots currently running.
Marketing Today And Tomorrow
To be successful today, Vijay believes not just storytelling, but better storytelling, is important.
“Marketing has become increasingly more sophisticated with targeting and optimization executions,” he says. “While refinement of targeting and optimization will continue, marketers are absolutely at a point where we need to create ultra-relevant propositions and stories to help consumers contextualize how brands can help improve their lives.”
Vijay says the big change drivers in the next few years will be customer experience and content integration. “Customer experience is increasingly the most important marketing activity companies need to focus on.”
When it comes to content, he refers to it as “the explosion of content.”
“How it is consumed means we contend with the reality that 30-second commercials have their place, but it is increasingly important to find ways to connect a brand with content in honest, natural ways,” he says. “What brands do is meaningful to millions, so we must find ways of engaging people beyond commercial interruption.”