‘Because your customer is KING’


with Tracy Hirst,
PSG Head of Group Marketing.

Tracy, thanks for taking the time to speak to us.

No problem at all, I’ve looked forward to it.

Let’s get straight into it. How long have you been with PSG, and how have you enjoyed it thus far?

I have been part of the PSG team for 17 months. I must be honest, it has been quite difficult. I had a very small team to start with and my list of suppliers was not quite as extensive as I needed. While building the team and sourcing specialist suppliers, we still needed to “keep the ship afloat”. At that stage, we were lacking some basics like Corporate Identity guidelines and a properly formulated Brand Strategy.

The biggest challenge was that we needed to clean up the PSG Brand Architecture before we could really start formulating the brand. The perception, at that stage, was that PSG was for a niche market. Our challenge is to change this perception and to educate people that PSG is not just about the adviser offering, but also about sophisticated products and platforms. We have taken great strides in shifting this perception already.

How important has brand building become in today’s business world?

Wow – it’s everything! You can’t really put a value to it. The rise of social media has also enhanced the importance of brand building. Today, it’s not just about advertising, but rather about the actual client experience, which in turn, leads to positive word of mouth. Of course, with social media, the power of word of mouth has been taken to another level, and without a strong brand it can prove to be detrimental for a business.

Speak to us about differentiation. How would you describe PSG’s intellectual point of differentiation in a single word?

Summing it up in one word is not that easy, but we have recently managed to refine PSG’s Brand Strategy. I am not able to give you much information at this stage, but be on the lookout for our official launch in September, which will be spearheaded by our new television commercial – exciting times for the PSG brand.

So Tracy, how has the arrival of the digital age changed the way PSG does marketing?

One of the first projects I was tasked with was to redesign the website. These days you can’t really run an effective campaign without a proper website – a place to drive prospective clients to. The digital era has made things far more dynamic and measurable. Production costs are also lower than they were when print was the dominant platform. Digital platforms also allow for far more flexibility as you can change the approach easily if it is not delivering the right results. Then, lastly but perhaps most importantly, digital platforms allow you to target consumers directly and far more effectively. Not only that, it also opens up a world of two-way communication, which is immensely powerful.

Let’s talk about “living the brand”. How important is it that a brand fulfils its brand promise in the contact space?

Well, simply put, it’s the cheapest form of advertising you get. Your employees are already on the payroll, and should therefore serve as powerful, cost-effective brand ambassadors for the brand. This, if done properly, is hugely valuable for any brand.

Tracy, thanks for your time.

It’s been fun.