CHAPTER 12Branding Services in the Digital Era

Tom O’Toole

Eric Smoot Hemphill is an outstanding personal trainer. With his business partner, Silviu Gansca, he founded Redefined Fitness. They provide expert personal fitness training, but providing a great service isn’t enough. To be successful, Smoot and Gansca have to build a strong, distinctive brand and be adept in using digital media.

When my exercise physiologist recommended a specialized type of personal trainer, he suggested three potential candidates. Redefined Fitness was one of them. What’s the first thing I did before even visiting its location? Googled it. I studied the web site, learned about its approach, and read about Eric and the other trainers. I went to its YouTube channel and watched videos of Eric and others. Then, I went to Yelp to see what others said about Redefined Fitness. After researching Redefined, I did the same for the other two competing trainers. The total impression of what the Redefined brand stands for and the experience it delivers drove my decision to go in and meet Eric.

A strong brand is essential for service providers, given the intangible nature of the product offering and thus the important role of perceptions. However, service branding is a unique challenge, and the task is being transformed as digital technology creates both new opportunities and complexity.

In this chapter, we will discuss the unique characteristics and challenges of service branding, how digital transformation ...

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