Your brand is a living thing. Powered by human energy.

Your logo, strapline and strategy are important, but it’s your people that bring your brand to life in the real world. The physical things they do each and every day when interacting with your customers.

Brand Biology can help you effectively engage your employees to deliver exceptional customer experiences. We find the vital spark that gives your brand its energy. Then we help your people harness their individual strengths, to deliver your brand promise and delight your customers.


The vital spark

We find the vital human spark that gives your brand its energy. Then, through our bespoke training and engagement programmes, we bring that spark to life in a very human way. This gives your people the confidence, knowledge and power to deliver exceptional customer service.

We do it by getting to know you and applying our experience and knowledge.


Human engagement and interaction that delivers lasting change

Our methods are based on both sound science and engaging artistry. We are experts in a range of fields, but our focus is always on finding the human in every brand so your people can bring it to life.



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The challenge

Zurich is a global brand with a rich heritage, and a reputation built on keeping its promise of helping customers protect the things they value. However, in the fiercely competitive UK insurance market, the brand was struggling to deliver a differentiated service. There was a danger that the pressure to sell was creating an internal culture where the wants and needs of the customer weren’t always first and foremost. This was at odds with Zurich’s brand promise and the customer experience they wanted to deliver.

With regulatory pressure on the industry increasing, to ensure compliance, many of Zurich’s competitors were turning to a heavily-scripted approach to interacting with customers. This created an opportunity for a brand that offered a natural, personalised experience to really stand out.

By reaffirming their brand promise internally, and ensuring customers were at the heart of the business, Zurich recognised that they could deliver truly market-leading customer service. They set the wheels in motion with a number of initiatives to change their internal culture and processes, which started to improve customer satisfaction. However, the critical touch point of employees’ interactions with customers still needed improvement. That’s where our innovative employee training and engagement methods came in.



What we did

In short, we empowered employees to deliver an experience that customers value.

Our initial diagnostic and Zurich’s own customer research both showed that engagement on an individual level was something customers valued. Rather than introduce a scripted approach, our solution therefore built on what people do naturally.

The sole focus for this project was improving customer satisfaction. To do this, we knew we needed to achieve two key objectives:

  1. Engage frontline consultants and team leaders with Zurich’s customer-centric vision
  2. Give employees the knowledge, awareness and confidence to provide each customer with a truly personalised service

We designed and delivered a bespoke customer experience programme, including:

  • customer experience training, and leadership and coaching events, using our ActNatural® concept
  • post-event evaluations and data analysis
  • a range of ongoing activities to ensure the customer service improvements were sustainable

Following the success of the initial training and engagement events, the programme was also delivered to Zurich’s homes and motor claims divisions.

The results

The headline result was the achievement of Zurich’s brand mission: ‘customers who understand and are protected from risk’, plus:

  • customer comments and feedback improved from being 54% negative, to over 80% positive
  • in just 12 months, Zurich’s net promoter score® (NPS®) improved by over 60% – from 22.0 to 58.9
  • customer ease increased from 68.6% to 84.4%

The improvements in Zurich’s customer service also resulted in them being finalists in the UK Customer Experience awards.


“The results we’ve seen validate our ongoing aspiration to truly put the customer at the heart of our business. There is a relentless focus on listening to customers and more importantly, acting upon it – this passionate approach has demonstrated a continual improvement in key customer satisfaction measures.”

Phil Ost, Director of Direct & Partnerships
Zurich Personal Lines

The challenge

Red Funnel is the pivotal link between Southampton on the UK mainland and the popular holiday destination, the Isle of Wight. With other routes and providers available, Red Funnel recognised that increasing their market share required a competitive differentiator that went beyond price or convenience.

In 2014, Red Funnel defined their vision of becoming the customers’ choice and preferred partner to the Isle of Wight. They then set about turning this aspiration into reality; creating an end-to-end customer experience that was second-to-none.

To achieve their goal of delivering an unrivalled travel experience, and be seen as an integral and enjoyable part of their customers’ holidays, Red Funnel knew they needed to focus on:

  • their fleet
  • on-board services
  • external branding and promotion
  • their internal culture
  • the experience delivered by their people

Having spent time in the business to carry out our diagnostic, we understood the operational challenges employees faced day-to-day. Delivering outstanding customer service became particularly challenging during the peak summer period where numbers of passengers and, historically, complaints increased.

Our goal was to engage Red Funnel’s employees and empower them to deliver the new brand promise to customers.

What we did

Working closely with Red Funnel’s senior leadership team, we launched their new brand vision to every employee with a very clear message: ‘think like a customer’. To do this, we:

  • designed a series of communication events, delivered live from the Solent on board Red Funnel’s flagship vessel, the Red Falcon
  • captured the essence of Red Funnel’s new vision in a promotional film that showed employees’ pride and passion in working for the brand
  • delivered a bespoke management and coaching programme that was crucial to keeping the vision, and the need to ‘think like a customer’, at the forefront of day-to-day operations

The results

With clarity on the new vision, employees recognised what they needed to do differently – both with each other and with their customers.

By seeing everything through the customers’ eyes, especially on those challenging days when ‘do it right’ can become ‘get it done’, they began to see how they could make a difference in delivering a customer experience that would set Red Funnel apart. This meant that, in 2015:

  • Red Funnel saw a dramatic 113% increase in customer compliments
  • complaints reduced by 16%
  • passenger numbers increased by 16%

The challenge

Our customer experience training and engagement programmes for Mercedes-Benz started back in 2004. At that time, the turbulence caused by intensive industry transformation and far-reaching dealer network changes had seen their customer satisfaction scores plummet, and UK JD Power rating fall to 26th place.

An ambitious improvement strategy was required to ensure that the message ‘prestige brand equals prestige customer service’ became a UK-wide reality.

What we did

We worked closely with Mercedes-Benz to develop a strategy that would simultaneously address immediate customer service issues and ensure the long-term delivery of their brand promise. This culminated in the design and delivery of a groundbreaking programme, ‘Class Leaders on the Road’, to significantly improve the Mercedes-Benz customer experience.

The programme launched with a roadshow covering over 60 locations in the UK and Europe. These events presented the customer service issues, along with the new strategy, to an audience that had become disaffected by the recent difficulties.

Using customised conference trucks and multimedia presentation techniques, Class Leaders on the Road was designed to bring about a significant mindset change in dealership management and staff. It opened with a glossy, ‘company propaganda’ film presentation. The film was immediately challenged with a brutally honest ‘telling it like it is’ intervention by a ‘dealership technician’ (one of our professional actors) planted in the audience.

Customers were then observed – in their bedroom – heatedly discussing a new car purchase. A true-to-life ‘warts and all’ visit to a re-created showroom followed.

All the action was interspersed with live interviews with executives from Mercedes-Benz and the dealerships – with plenty of audience participation. Plans and improvements were presented and discussed. Audience views were listened to and acted upon.

These events re-engaged those attending, tapping into their fierce brand loyalty and winning support for the next part of the strategy; ‘Best In Class’ training events. These training events were delivered by Brand Biology behavioural change consultants and professional actors, to over 3,000 customer-facing managers and staff throughout the UK. They were followed by specially adapted events for head office personnel and the development of ‘Class Leaders at Your Place’ training kits, for delivery on-site by dealership managers.

Following the success of the initial programmes, the strategy was extended to the Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle network, along with ‘In the Spotlight’ roadshows and management training events.

Specially adapted ‘Best in Class’ events were also staged for dealership personnel from across Europe, held at the headquarters of parent company Daimler AG in Stuttgart.

The results

Between 2004 and 2009, customer satisfaction scores showed dramatic improvements. In the JD Power ratings, Mercedes Benz climbed from 26th to 3rd place for service satisfaction and achieved the top spot for sales satisfaction.

The programme with Mercedes-Benz UK was completed in 2010. The ongoing use of our bespoke training kits meant that Mercedes-Benz UK remained at 3rd place in the JD Power Customer Survey in both 2011 and 2014.

Following the success of the UK programme, we are now working with Mercedes-Benz in the Middle East, helping them to achieve their target of a 50% increase in sales across the region.

The challenge

Brand Biology was appointed to create a customer experience initiative for the British Gas credit and operations department, comprising two teams, both responsible for debt collection. The 275-strong contact centre team was office based, while the 100 field representatives visited customers at their homes and business premises. Senior management was keen for the department to move away from a ‘cash is king’ culture to a customer-centric focus.

Traditionally, credit and operations had focused on ‘collection’, but this had changed. It was felt the team tended to distance themselves from customers, meaning the service given was at best ‘transactional’, and at worst ‘threatening’. Quality checks, such as giving energy efficiency advice, often sounded overly scripted.

Management wanted staff to strive for a ‘win-win’ situation in each interaction. The department therefore needed to focus on rapport building and learn to understand and adapt to different customer needs.

An overall mindset shift was also needed, to challenge negative perceptions about customers’ financial circumstances.

What we did

We conducted two in-depth fact-finding missions to understand the challenges facing the teams. Using this insight, we developed ‘real life’ scenarios, which were delivered by our team of professional actors in a series of interactive group events.

Authenticity, empathy and transformation are at the heart of our behavioural change programmes. We recreated different customer interactions for each team, using our Total Reality® concept to replicate their working environments as closely as possible.

Over several months, staff attended these two-day customer experience training events, designed to equip them with the skills needed to understand different types of customers.

Team leaders attended a one-day leadership event to enhance their coaching skills, where they learned the long-term importance of mentoring staff and the need for top-down commitment to drive changes in behaviour.

The results

Immediate results were visible across both teams. In the contact centre, quality control evolved to become much more focused on customer experience. Staff targets were changed so that there was more emphasis on achieving the right customer resolution. As a result, contact centre complaints reduced by 37%.

100% of field representatives rated the programme as either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’. Employees were left with a much deeper understanding of how best to interact with different types of people and were more confident in dealing with challenging customer situations. This led to a 35% increase in the number of doorstep resolutions. In addition:

  • first time call resolution increased to 80%
  • Net Promoter Score increased by 29%

The challenge

Virgin Atlantic’s brand is synonymous with consistently high-quality customer service. When making plans for the new Terminal 3 (T3) facility at London’s Heathrow, they knew they needed to listen to their customers and deliver what they wanted.

Their research showed them that customers wanted to get through check-in as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, they didn’t want to sacrifice any of the warmth or quality of service they’d come to expect from Virgin Atlantic. This applied whether people were travelling Economy, Premium Economy or Upper Class.

Their new ‘terminal-within-a-terminal’, with state-of-the-art operating systems, was a significant investment. It was therefore essential for Virgin Atlantic’s team to deliver a truly memorable customer experience.

In just four months, we needed to design and deliver a customer experience and leadership programme for over 600 front-line staff and managers.

What we did

Working closely with Virgin Atlantic, we developed and delivered ‘T3 Futures’; a coordinated training programme, designed to encourage a whole new way of working. The main focus was on equipping staff with the skills, confidence and mind-set to work in the new self-service environment. We also designed special ‘Leading T3 Futures’ events for managers, focused on leading, coaching and supporting the new customer experience in the face of all possible challenges.

The practical issues were enormous. T3 was still being built while the training programme was being designed and implemented, and the new service processes were continually evolving.

With the eyes of the world focused on developments at T3, there was no margin for error. All staff needed to work more efficiently, and deliver an individual and personalised customer experience.

The events were delivered by Brand Biology’s behavioural change consultants and professional actors, working in conjunction with Virgin Atlantic’s own licensed trainers.

The results

‘T3 Futures’ was designed in two months, and successfully rolled out to managers and staff within another two. The results were exceptional:

  • 93% of Upper Class passengers rated the check-in service as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’
  • 85% of Premium Economy passengers rated the check-in service as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’
  • 92% of Economy passengers rated the check-in service as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’

“97% of our airport team said that the training they received was the single most important factor in preparing them to deliver a new service experience. I guess the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Five years on and our customer service team at airports still talk about ‘that training we did with the actors’ and it’s not unusual for people to refer to the different customer types, which suggests the message sunk in. Brand Biology’s style and content meant employees were able to hold the mirror up to people’s behaviour in a safe, fun way and inspire people to change without telling them. Customer satisfaction continues to be high.”

Learning & Development Consultant
Virgin Atlantic


Find your (very human) brand biologist

We’ve very deliberately built a strong team of experts, who are committed to finding the DNA in every brand and inspiring your people to bring it to life each day. Empower your people to deliver an outstanding customer experience that generates true brand loyalty.

Talk to us and we’ll find the right human to help you start your journey.