The Impact of Employee Belief in the Brand on
       Internal Service Quality: A Study of Primi Piatti




              E...
2




                                  DECLARATION




 We declare that The Impact of Employee Belief in the Brand on Int...
3




Table of Contents


Content                         Page Number(s)



Introduction                          4



Lit...
4


Introduction

The ultimate purpose of this Alchemy Research paper is to develop a new model of
thinking within the env...
5


created for management of Primi Piatti to apply to their signature brand strategy to improve
the brand identity, and c...
6


Literature Review

Before exploring what is meant by the term service or the service industry, it is necessary
to firs...
7


One of the philosophies behind Primi Piatti is that people are core to their business and
they recognise the importanc...
8


basic distinguishing characteristic of a service is its intangibility. Because services are
performances rather than o...
9


However, the service encounter can certainly be remembered and recalled when contact
with that particular brand is mad...
10


would be that it will be easier for them to retain employees if they have a stable base of
satisfied customers.


Thi...
11


relationships than searching for new customers. In turn, customers are more satisfied and
become even better customer...
12


service exists, and where giving good service to internal as well as ultimate, external
customers is considered a nat...
13


feelings that employees have towards their job, their company or brand. Internal quality is
also characterised by the...
14


relationships. The triangle shows the three interlinked groups that work together to
develop, promote, and deliver se...
15


delivered; and the enabling activities inside the organisation should be aligned with what is
expected of service pro...
16




    •   Retain the best people.




These above mentioned points are better illustrated in the following figure:


...
17


behind it, and the result is a more powerful brand. It seems therefore that HR managers
have to pay attention to the ...
18


Brand Building


Brand building is a process of identity creation and requires that employees consider and
deliver th...
19


relationship, however, are the employees (Harris 2007). It is the employees who enact the
attributes of the brand and...
20


enough reason to adopt this attitude, so as to resonate the brand. The right type of
employee is thus one who can nat...
21


   •   Operational systems guide, encourage, recognise and reward on-brand behaviour,
       and recruitment systems ...
22


are going” (Enslin 2007). To add to this, Schultz and Hatch argue that “a company must
align three essential, interde...
23




The fourth thought, that leadership must live the brand, also correlates to the above-
mentioned elements that need...
24


meaning that there is a need for a singular coherent brand strategy to be integrated
throughout the value chain. To s...
25




Consequently, it is imperative to understand what engagement is. In the words of
Enterprise IG: “Being engaged is s...
26


when employees hear the message, believe the message, and then live or act upon it
(Mitchell 2005). In order to hear ...
27


“employees must be supported every step of the way, with the right training, tools,
processes, incentives, materials,...
28


Methodological Approach



The methodological approach chosen for this research follows a process advised by W.G.
Zik...
29


In planning the research design, a selection of basic research methods is required
(Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007: ...
30


We defined the Primi Piatti waitrons as the brand s primary contact point with customers,
and believe that they commu...
31


The primary research conducted always followed the particular participants consent. The
purpose of the study was brie...
32


and motivation. One of these goals is to strive towards delivering a “perfect Primi day,”
whereby waitrons are expect...
33


research process consisted of interpreting the research results, describing the implications,
and drawing the appropr...
34
35


Findings


The results from question one and two therefore reflect that the employees feel that their
work environmen...
36


This was an impressive finding as we believed that if the waitrons felt that their needs are
taken care of (as custom...
37




The next two questions were linked – the first was to determine whether waitrons feel that
they were rewarded at al...
38


emotionally engaging employees, and a need for projects dedicated to building the
employee-brand relationship.”


64%...
39


The fourth and final element of employee belief in the brand refers to “leadership living the
brand.” Enslin explains...
40


Conclusion


Our chosen topic enabled us to remain motivated and dedicated throughout the research
process due to the...
41
42
43
44


Practical Rationale


Taking our lead from life itself, we understand that everything consists of elements. And it
is...
45


of the animation to stand alone and show the exact process we have gone through to
reach our results, without having ...
46


Bibliography

Aaker, D.A. 2002. Building Strong Brands. New York: Free Press.

Enslin, C. 2008. Building an organisat...
47


Hatch, M.J & Schultz, M. 2001. Are the Strategic Stars Aligned for Your Corporate Brand?
Harvard Business Review.

He...
The Impact of Employee Belief in the Brand on Internal Service Quality: A Study of Primi Piatti
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The Impact of Employee Belief in the Brand on Internal Service Quality: A Study of Primi Piatti

  1. 1. The Impact of Employee Belief in the Brand on Internal Service Quality: A Study of Primi Piatti Emma Walker & Simon de Robillard A thesis submitted in the partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Communications Management specialising in Brand Leadership at Vega The Brand Communications School. Supervisor: Brendon Bussy Vega Cape Town 2008
  2. 2. 2 DECLARATION We declare that The Impact of Employee Belief in the Brand on Internal Service Quality: A Study of Primi Piatti is our own work, that it has not been submitted for any degree or examination in any other university, and that all the sources we have used or quoted have been indicated and acknowledged by complete references. Emma Walker Simon de Robillard Simon de Digitally signed by Simon de Robillard DN: cn=Simon de Robillard, o, ou, ________________________ Robillard email=simderob@gmail.com, c=ZA Date: 2009.05.16 14:40:09 +01'00' _________________________
  3. 3. 3 Table of Contents Content Page Number(s) Introduction 4 Literature Review 6 • Services Industry 7 • Organisational Culture 11 • Brand Building 18 • Authenticity 20 Methodological Approach 28 • Findings 35 Conclusion 40 Appendix 41 Practical Rationale 44 Bibliography 46
  4. 4. 4 Introduction The ultimate purpose of this Alchemy Research paper is to develop a new model of thinking within the environment of branding. With comprehensive studies having been accomplished in this field, it has proven necessary to explore an area which delivers a unique perspective of research findings and one that we would maintain a passion for throughout this research process. Having mutual interests and opinions in both the theoretical and practical focus areas of this research, the two of us decided to do this research paper together, so as to co-invest our time, energy, and insights. A shared area of concern for us relates to the issue of service delivery in South Africa, and its consequent effects on an organisation s reputation and success. We also deliberated the vital importance of employees and their role in the delivery of service within the services industry. This led us to the debate of the key ingredients required for a healthy organisational culture and moreover: the essential requirements for a good interaction between a customer and an employee. The theoretical areas investigated are Services Marketing and the Service Industry, Internal branding, Contact Management, and Employee Belief in the Brand. We then investigated specific areas of the service industry to identify topics that we thought needed particular attention. This led us to the restaurant industry where we realised the magnitude of the waiters roles on customers perceptions of the brand. We then met with a friend on a social basis who had recently opened a Primi Piatti store, who explained the procedures of their operations. This particular chain of restaurants appealed to us both. It can be recognised as a brand-conscious restaurant which pays attention to the service encounter, but more specifically, the energy exchange between the waiter and the customer. This inspired us to explore the brand in more detail. The intention was then to research the internal brand strategy that is unique to Primi Piatti, paying particular attention to the points of contact that sustain its brand identity most effectively. Emphasis is placed on the service parameters that communicate a healthy service encounter, and one that is unique to the brand and its brand promise. The full working title of this research paper is: The Impact of Employee Belief in the Brand on Internal Service Quality, A study of Primi Piatti. Subsequently, a specific model will be
  5. 5. 5 created for management of Primi Piatti to apply to their signature brand strategy to improve the brand identity, and create stronger clarity, synergy and leverage within the Primi Piatti family. We believe that this topic is relevant to the service industry and furthermore the branding industry. It has considerable personal significance due to the shared interests in problematic service encounters and internal brand strategies. The social significance of this is that we would like to make a positive contribution to this brand, specifically in the form of the model created.
  6. 6. 6 Literature Review Before exploring what is meant by the term service or the service industry, it is necessary to first review what the definition of a brand is. Jean-Noel Kapferer explains, “A brand is a focal point for all the positive and negative impressions created by the buyer over time as he comes into contact with the brand s products, distribution channel, personnel and communication.” Put in the simplest terms, services are deeds, processes, and performances. Service industries and companies include those that are typically classified within the service sector whose core product is a service (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 4-5). Compatible with this simple definition of a service is a more in-depth description of what is meant by this term, “all economic activities whose output is not a physical product or construction, is generally consumed at the time it is produced, and provides added value in forms (such as convenience, amusement, experience) that are essentially intangible concerns of its first purchaser (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 4-5). Customer service is also a critical aspect of what is meant by “service delivery.” Customer service is the service provided in support of a company s core business. Quality customer service is essential to building customer relationships within the service industry (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 4-5). Primi Piatti is a South African franchise operation that is located all around the country. Primi Piatti s core offering is a delivery of service, more specifically a customer service with the aim of each individual experience being excellent service delivery. Superbrands (2005) describes Primi Piatti as “one of those brands that defy classification.” Superbrands (2005) explain, “although both the name and the menu are Italian, it is not simply another pizza chain. Nor is it characterised by red and white checked tablecloths or posters of Italy. Instead it is an opportunity to share the Zanasi family s passion. Passion for food, for service, and for exceeding expectations. It is an opportunity to share in their “urban energy.” Primi Piatti is the embodiment of this passion, a fierce determination to do things better than anyone else. It is evident in every aspect of the brand, from the front of house staff to the restaurant design, as well as the food and the marketing.”
  7. 7. 7 One of the philosophies behind Primi Piatti is that people are core to their business and they recognise the importance of having people engaged, passionate and full of energy. They have adopted various slogans and words to emphasize their philosophy. One of them is “Work is Love Made Visible,” which is printed on the back of the orange overalls worn by the waitrons. The company believes that if they do everything with “love” it makes the whole customer experience better and makes their lives better too (Bridle 2008). This is a quote that came from a Lebanese man, living in New York. The full quote is, “Work is Love Made Visible. If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.” A subtle change of this philosophy s meaning is that it is not about loving what you do, it is the work that they do being an example of the love that they have within them. In other words, their work should ultimately be an expression of love. What this means is that employees on the front line need to be “people s people.” They have to enjoy communicating and interacting with people, and together with “urban energy” reveal their passion for people. “Urban energy” is Primi Piatti s brand promise or brand mantra. A brand mantra is a short expression of the most important aspects of the brand and its core associations, the enduring “brand DNA,” and the most important aspects of the brand to the consumer and the company” (Keller, 2008: 39). Primi Piatti s brand manual explains “urban energy” as “being passionate, energetic and confident, as well as unconventional.” In agreement with this philosophy it is important to note that because Primi Piatti s offering is a service, (with people delivering the service and people receiving the service), the people of the service are of utmost importance in determining the success of the restaurant. The characteristics of a service versus those of a product are thus important to consider. Services Industry There is general agreement that differences between goods and services exist and that the distinctive characteristics result in challenges (as well as advantages) for service managers (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 21). Primi Piatti could consider the nature of services in comparison to goods, to use these differences to their advantage in the delivery of their services. It is necessary for Primi Piatti to make this distinction so that they can differentiate their service offering by establishing the variables that make Primi Piatti unique. The most
  8. 8. 8 basic distinguishing characteristic of a service is its intangibility. Because services are performances rather than objects, they cannot be seen, felt, tasted or touched in the same manner that you can tangible goods (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 22). The resulting implications of this are interesting for Primi Piatti to consider. Their services are difficult to patent and communicate to customers and pricing is more difficult. Another difference between a product and a service is the heterogeneous nature of a service, because services are performances. The implications of this are that no two services will be exactly the same. The employees delivering the service are often viewed as the brand itself and each employee s performance will differ from day to day. For example, if a customer has one bad experience with a waiter, that customer may form an opinion of the restaurant and brand based on the interactions with the waiter. What this means is that service delivery and service quality depend on many uncontrollable factors. Service delivery and customer satisfaction depend on employee and customer actions and thus there is no sure knowledge that the service delivered matches what was planned and promoted (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 22). In other words, the service delivery and customer satisfaction depend more on the intangible brand centred elements. Another difference for Primi Piatti to note between services versus products is that whereas most goods are first produced and then sold, most services are sold first and then produced and consumed simultaneously (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 23). In other words, Primi Piatti s services cannot be provided until they have been sold, and the actual dining experience is essentially produced and consumed at the same time. The word “sold” in this instance insinuates that the customer has entered the restaurant and possibly sat down and ordered, meaning that he/she will have to pay for whatever they have ordered regardless of how satisfied they are with what is delivered to them. Once again this shows that both the employees and the customer participate in the transaction and thus affect the outcome of the service, as well as customers potentially affecting each other. This then suggests that the entire experience at Primi Piatti for both employees and customers needs to be monitored, and employee s need to take control of situations where customers are not behaving according to Primi Piatti s customary ways. This makes the service encounter both challenging and difficult to manage. The final differentiating factor between goods and services is the perishability of the latter. Perishability refers to the fact that services cannot be saved, stored, returned or resold.
  9. 9. 9 However, the service encounter can certainly be remembered and recalled when contact with that particular brand is made. What this means for Primi Piatti is that each service encounter is crucial as customers may never return if they have had a bad experience at the restaurant. It also implies that Primi Piatti needs to have a strong recovery strategy for when things do go wrong, so that customers goodwill can at least be recovered. With the restaurant industry being highly congested and competitive, Primi Piatti would want to ensure that every interaction with their customers is a pleasurable one with a focus on retaining those customers and forming a relationship with them. Relationship marketing or relationship management is a philosophy of doing business, a strategic orientation that focuses on keeping and improving relationships with current customers rather than on acquiring new customers (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 177). Retaining and enhancing relationships with customers is certainly a goal that Primi Piatti should strive towards due to the benefits that will result for both the brand and the customers. That is, it is not only in the best interest of the organisation to build and maintain a loyal customer base but customers themselves also benefit from long term associations. These benefits include confidence benefits, social benefits and special treatment benefits (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 184). Confidence benefits comprise feelings of trust or confidence in the provider along with a sense of reduced anxiety and comfort in knowing what to expect. In terms of the social benefits, customers will develop a sense of familiarity and even a social relationship over time, making it less likely that they will switch to competitors. The special treatment benefits include getting the benefit of the doubt, being given a special deal or price, or getting preferential treatment (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 185). The benefits for the brand include economic benefits, customer behaviour benefits, and human resource management benefits. The economic benefits include increased revenues over time from the customer, reduced marketing and administrative costs, and the ability to maintain margins without reducing prices (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 185). Positive word of mouth is the most prominent customer behaviour benefit, together with that which is referred to as voluntary customer performance, (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 186), where the customer will serve as a mentor and help the restaurant by, for example, reporting messy bathrooms. The human resource management benefit for Primi Piatti
  10. 10. 10 would be that it will be easier for them to retain employees if they have a stable base of satisfied customers. This philosophy obviously assumes that customers would prefer to have on ongoing relationship with one organisation than to switch continually in search of better value. It has been suggested that firms frequently focus on attracting customers but then pay little attention to what they should do to keep these customers (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 178). Thus, Primi Piatti need to not only focus on ensuring that each individual interaction is “successful” but aim to make each experience a relationship building one, so as to retain as many customers as possible. Primi Piatti s offering, therefore, needs to be unique or differentiated in some regard to transform the exchange relationship from a satisfying one to one where Primi Piatti is seen as a friend. The goal of the interaction is therefore to enhance the relationship. Both parties in the customer–firm relationship can benefit from customer retention. That is, it is not only in the best interest of the organisation to build and maintain a loyal customer base, but customers themselves also benefit from the long-term associations (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 183). Customers will remain loyal to a firm when they receive greater value relative to what they expect from competing firms (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 183). Value represents a trade off for the consumer between the “give” and the “get” components. The “gets” have to exceed the “gives” for a customer to stay in the relationship (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 184). So Primi Piatti may ask how they can provide this value to sustain their relationships with their customers. The “gets” can be categorised into three specific categories, namely “quality, satisfaction, and specific benefits,” whereas the “gives” will generally be the “monetary and nonmonetary costs” (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 184). The benefits to organisations of maintaining and developing a loyal customer base are numerous. In addition to the economic benefits that a firm receives from cultivating close relationships with its customers, a variety of customer behaviour benefits and human resource benefits are also often received (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 185). For Primi Piatti, these above mentioned benefits could take the form of increased revenues, reduced marketing and administration costs, free word of mouth advertising, and moreover, people enjoy working for a firm whose customers are happy and loyal. Employees jobs also become more satisfying, and they re able to spend more of their time nurturing
  11. 11. 11 relationships than searching for new customers. In turn, customers are more satisfied and become even better customers – a positive upward spiral. Because employees stay with the firm for longer, service quality improves and costs of turnover are reduced adding further to profits (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 187). Primi Piatti s employees therefore play a fundamental role in service delivery. The assumption is that even when customer s expectations are well understood, and services have been designed and specified to conform to those expectations, there may still be discontinuities in service quality when the service is not delivered as specified (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 350). These discontinuities are labelled the service performance gap in the service quality framework. Because employees frequently perform the service, human resource issues are a major cause of this gap. By focusing on the critical role of their employees, organisations can begin to close the service delivery gap. The failure to deliver services as designed and specified can result from a number of employee performance factors: ineffective recruitment of service-oriented employees, a lack of training, poor employee-service job fit, inappropriate compensation systems, lack of empowerment and finally lack of teamwork (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 350). Primi Piatti, therefore needs to have effective human resource policies in place to ensure that they recruit, train and empower the right employees. They also need to ensure that their service delivery is consistent across their employees. Organisational Culture Before addressing the role of employees in service delivery, we should look at the bigger picture. The behaviour of employees in an organisation will be heavily influenced by the culture of the organisation. Corporate culture can be defined as “the pattern of shared values and beliefs that give members of an organisation meaning, and provide them with the rules for behaviour in the organisation (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 351). Culture has been more informally defined as “the way we do things around here” by Piglet in Winnie the Pooh or as “one of those things we sense in an underneath sort of way” (Winnie the Pooh). Experts have suggested that a customer-oriented, service-oriented organisation will have, at its heart, a service culture. This is defined as “a culture where an appreciation for good
  12. 12. 12 service exists, and where giving good service to internal as well as ultimate, external customers is considered a natural way of life and one of the most important norms by everyone (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 351). For Primi Piatti this would mean that firstly, people know that good service is valued in that “underneath sort of way.” Secondly, Primi Piatti should note that the employees should be treated in the same manner as how the organisation wishes their customers to be treated. In other words, they should provide good service both internally and externally. It is not enough to promise excellent service to final customers if it doesn t come from within, and also that it should be a “way of life,” or an important norm of the service. Satisfied employees make for satisfied customers (and satisfied employee s can, in turn, reinforce employee s sense of satisfaction in their jobs.) Some researchers have gone so far as to suggest that unless service employees are happy in their jobs, customer satisfaction will be difficult to achieve (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 356). The underlying logic connecting employee satisfaction and loyalty to customer satisfaction and loyalty, is illustrated by the service profit chain (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 357). The service profit chain suggests that there are critical linkages among internal service quality, employee satisfaction/ productivity, the value of services provided to the customer, and ultimately customer satisfaction, retention and profits. For the purpose of this study, the most important part of this service–profit chain for Primi Piatti to consider is how internal quality drives employee satisfaction. This internal quality is with regard to the actual working environment for employees and is measured by the
  13. 13. 13 feelings that employees have towards their job, their company or brand. Internal quality is also characterised by the attitudes that people have towards one another and the way people serve each other inside the organisation (Heskett; Jones; Loveman; Sasser & Schlesinger 2000). A strong service culture begins with leaders in the organisation who demonstrate a passion for service excellence. Leonard Barry suggests that leaders of successful service firms tend to have similar core values such as integrity, joy, and respect, and they “infuse those values into the fabric of the organisation” (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 351). For Primi Piatti, this would mean that their employees are more likely to embrace the service culture if they see that management live by the values of their organisation. Thus, the entire internal structure is of vast importance in Primi Piatti s service delivery process. A quote from a service expert about the industry reiterates the above-mentioned importance of the entire internal service employees network: “In a service organisation, if you re not serving the customer, you d better be serving someone who is.” Both the frontline employees, and those supporting them from behind the scenes, are critical to the success of any service organisation (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 354). The importance of people in the marketing of services is captured in the people element of the services marketing mix, “as all the human actors who play a part in service delivery and thus influence the customer s perception, namely the firm s personnel, the customer and other customers in the service environment” (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 360). In the case of Primi Piatti, the frontline employees need to be aware of and understand the significance of their role to the service: (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 360) • They are the service, • They are the organisation, • They are the brand, and • They are the marketers. A strategic framework, known as the “services triangle” visually reinforces the importance of people in the ability of firms to keep their promises and succeed in building customer
  14. 14. 14 relationships. The triangle shows the three interlinked groups that work together to develop, promote, and deliver services (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 356). The services marketing triangle would help Primi Piatti, in understanding how their front line employees can “be” all of the above mentioned points: how they can “deliver the promise.” Services marketing is about promises – promises made and promises kept to customers (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 355). On the right side of the triangle are the external marketing efforts that the firm engages in to set up its customer s expectations and make promises to customers regarding what is to be delivered. Anything or anyone that communicates to the customer before service delivery can be viewed as part of this external marketing function. However, external marketing is just the beginning for services marketers: promises made must be kept. On the bottom of the triangle is interactive marketing where promises are kept or broken by the firm s employees. The left side of the triangle suggests the critical role played by internal marketing. Management engages in these activities to aid the providers in their ability to deliver on the service promise: recruiting, training, motivating, rewarding, and providing equipment and technology. To complete the triangle, Primi Piatti s service employees need to be able and willing to deliver on the promises made. All three sides of the triangle are essential to complete the whole picture and all three sides should all be aligned so that the triangle does not collapse. So, what is promised through external marketing should be the same as what is
  15. 15. 15 delivered; and the enabling activities inside the organisation should be aligned with what is expected of service providers (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 356). What Primi Piatti promises is “urban energy.” Urban energy is the essence of what is externally communicated and promised to consumers. Primi Piatti therefore needs to be certain that their internal enabling activities are fit for those who are delivering this promise to do so. Those who are delivering this promise are their frontline employees, and this is where the ultimate decision is made of whether the promise of “urban energy” is kept or broken. The crux is that there needs to be a steady delivery of the brand promise which is largely dependent on how well Primi Piatti s employees can live “urban energy.” However, in recent years, there has been a shift from internal marketing to internal branding, which takes more of an “inside-out,” value-based approach (Mosley 2007: 128). Internal branding seeks to develop and reinforce a common value-based ethos, typically attached to some form of corporate mission or vision (Mosley 2007: 128). Colin Mitchell explains that “the goal of internal branding is very similar to that of external branding: to create an emotional connection to your company.” More simply put, the purpose of Internal Branding is to create an organisational culture that is aligned with and supports the promise of “urban energy.” Consistent research over the years has demonstrated that a lack of alignment between employee behaviour and the brand promise will cause customers to leave as their expectations remain unfulfilled (Lawrence 2007: 70). Ultimately, customer satisfaction through exceptional and unwavering delivery of the brand promise will keep customers coming back (Lawrence 2007: 70). There are four broad strategies that Primi Piatti could consider for customer–oriented service delivery to ensure that their employees are willing and able to deliver “urban energy.” This will be a primary focus of this study. To build a customer- oriented, service- minded workforce, an organization must: (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 366) • Hire the right people • Develop people to deliver service quality • Provide the needed support systems, and
  16. 16. 16 • Retain the best people. These above mentioned points are better illustrated in the following figure: To get the right people, Primi Piatti needs to identify who the best people are to deliver urban energy and then compete for “talent market share.” This will be discussed at a later stage. Once potential employees have been identified, Primi Piatti needs to be conscientious in interviewing and screening to truly identify the best people. Primi Piatti should also aim to be known as the preferred employer by offering extensive training, attractive incentives, or excellent internal support. Yaniv and Farkas argue that the “Person-Organisation Fit plays a significant role in closing the gap where employees feel a lack of identification with the corporate brand and an unwillingness to support it adequately.” This notion of a “Person-Organisation Fit” (POF) can be explained as the match between the individual values of employees and those of the actual organisation or brand. Yaniv and Farkas research has shown that “employees POF positively affects the extent to which they perceive their corporate brand values as congruent with those declared by the management, and that this brand perception level of customers means a higher trust in the brand and in the corporate body which stands
  17. 17. 17 behind it, and the result is a more powerful brand. It seems therefore that HR managers have to pay attention to the POF as a means to improve the organisations performance.” For Primi Piatti, this would ultimately mean that employees need to feel that can identify with, and deliver on, the “urban energy” that is promised. To develop people to deliver service quality, Primi Piatti needs to empower their employees, meaning that they give their employees the desire, skills, tools, and authority to serve the customer. Many organisations have discovered that to be truly responsive to customer needs, frontline providers need to be empowered to accommodate customer requests and to recover on the spot when things go wrong (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 370). Promoting teamwork could also be highly effective, especially in a restaurant industry where the employees duties can be demanding at times. A teamwork environment will help alleviate employees stresses and allow them to maintain their enthusiasm and provide quality service. Sifiso Zondi, an expert within the services industry, explains that brand building is like a team sport where teamwork and a collaborative spirit should be the unifying drivers. He continues to explain that for the team to consistently win matches, each player needs to have a “fair amount of empathy” in how they approach the game “individually and collectively” (Zondi 2007: 40). To provide the needed support systems, Primi Piatti needs to constantly measure their internal service quality, to ensure that they are maintaining their unique internal service culture. To best support service personnel in their delivery of quality service on the front line, Primi Piatti s internal processes are designed with customer value and customer satisfaction in mind. Finally, to retain the best people, Primi Piatti should treat their employees as customers, should include their employees in the company s vision, and should measure and reward service performers (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler 2006: 367). These strategies, organised around the four main themes, are all related to the internal marketing side of the services marketing triangle. These strategies, although of vital importance, are in place for Primi Piatti front line employees to be able to deliver on the promise.
  18. 18. 18 Brand Building Brand building is a process of identity creation and requires that employees consider and deliver the brand promise in all that they do, at every point of contact with stakeholders, from consumer markets to special interest groups (Enslin 2008). The delivery of a brand promise, of “urban energy” in the case of Primi Piatti, requires strong belief in the brand from employees. Employees base initial beliefs about the organisation on “an image” (for example, what people have told them about the brand) but firsthand experience quickly overwhelms the image in terms of its ability to support or contradict those beliefs. Beliefs drive experiences and the results of those experiences can either reinforce or destroy the beliefs that initiated them (Enslin 2007). What this means for Primi Piatti is that employees (potential and current) that are drawn to the brand, have formed their opinion or image of the brand which can then be supported or changed due to their own personal experience with the brand. These experiences form their beliefs about the brand, which in turn drive their actions, which shape results. In other words, belief in the brand will lead to positive actions and positive results will follow, or vice versa. The “service-profit chain” will reveal this in more detail. The level of belief an employee has in your company is a measure of their membership in your brand (Enslin 2007). Strong beliefs equal strong Brand Membership in your company, weak beliefs equal an employee who will quit, or you ll terminate them because they don t seem to be working out (Enslin 2007). Ultimately, for Primi Piatti, they want their employees to have a strong belief in the brand, because strong beliefs in the brand yield productive employees. Experts on Building Brand Membership have suggested that human resource systems should be designed to build day-to-day experiences within a brand that drives Brand Membership. These daily experiences reaffirm the culture and values of the organisation, resulting in an aligned organisation, with reinforced business results and longer, more productive relationships with employees (Enslin 2007). Primi Piatti therefore need to realise that their front line employees are the lifeblood of the organisation, and thus need to be treated that way. Branding is about people. People build brands. People buy brands. The relationship at first glance, is a simple one – build a good brand and others will buy it. At the heart of this
  19. 19. 19 relationship, however, are the employees (Harris 2007). It is the employees who enact the attributes of the brand and whose actions ultimately foster customer experience – whether good or bad (Harris 2007). Employees have the formidable task of demonstrating the brand by the actions they take on the front line. The adage actions speak louder than words is a truth that holds firm in the process of building successful brands (Harris 2007). This is especially noteworthy to Primi Piatti, with a brand promise and essence of “urban energy,” - that their employees retain the most resonance (or are natural carriers of this promise) when it comes to delivering energy. This energy so to speak, needs to be developed from within and result from an internal structure that s supportive to and encouraging of enthusiastic, energetic behaviour. There is a strong need to manage, or at least positively influence, the identity that is transferred outwardly – in order to maintain consistency and overall control (Harris 2007). Thus the internal workings should form an integral part of brand management (Harris 2007). In a service environment where the delivery of the brand s promise is heavily dependent on the employees, the internal structures need to be accommodating and supportive of this. The brand itself needs to be established and dominant in their strategies, their training, working style facilities etc, it needs to be widespread across the organisation (Harris 2007). Brands come to life when internal and external boundaries are blurred (Harris 2007). The relationship between Primi Piatti s employees and their customers should be two way and sincere. What is displayed externally is chiefly a reflection of the activities of the internal organisation (Harris 2007). For this reason, Primi Piatti s internal brand management should be the creed by which the entire organisation lives their brand on a daily basis. The key is to provide staff with appropriate tools thereby allowing them to be the strategy and live the brand (Harris 2007). Authenticity Authenticity is very important to brands, and attempts to over-control the service encounter with “fake,” or scripted behaviour which often backfires both functionally (through lack of responsiveness) and emotionally - through lack of genuine personality (Mosley 2007: 127). Primi Piatti therefore needs to be certain that there is a clear understanding of the brand promise and then encourage their employees to act accordingly, hopefully naturally. Thus, the “right” type of employee needs to be employed or the employees need to have a good
  20. 20. 20 enough reason to adopt this attitude, so as to resonate the brand. The right type of employee is thus one who can naturally convey “urban energy,” which, according to their interpretation of this, would be confident, passionate and energetic by nature. While most restaurant/franchise owners would characterise their success in terms of total turnover or on the number of branches opened, Primi Piatti s owners have been quite different. Francesco Zanasi (the franchise owner), sees his greatest achievement as empowering the hundreds of people that have passed through the Primi family. The Primi Piatti approach has been to turn a traditionally unionised and unmotivated labour force into a performance driven team by empowering the individual and creating a goal–driven reward structure. In so doing Primi Piatti has virtually rewritten the rules on running a restaurant in South Africa. They have demonstrated that passion starts from within and that by empowering even the most junior member of staff you can create a dynamic and unrivalled energy. In so doing they have come up with a business model that is not reliant on low input costs in particular cheap labour, which has traditionally been the mainstay of the hospitality industry (Superbrands 2005). While effective internal brand strategy tools and communications can be designed and implemented to create understanding of the concept of brand and convey the intent of the brand promise, it may still be critically short of creating and building an organisation of emotionally connected people who believe in the brand (Enslin 2008). In congruency with Enslin s argument, Primi Piatti s entire internal organisation has been built by people – employees that feel a strong emotional connection to the brand and believe in the brand. This is a highly involved challenge for any brand builders as they need to (in Enslin s opinion) feel for, value, trust and have regard for the brand. Enslin furthermore provides four key thoughts on what attributes brands need to have in order for employees to believe in them. These four thoughts sum up a large portion of the literature explored above. Brand builders should consider and invest in these as they determine and direct successful delivery of the brand promise (Enslin 2008). Employees believe in the brand when: (Enslin 2008) • The brand “walks its talk,” both internally and externally.
  21. 21. 21 • Operational systems guide, encourage, recognise and reward on-brand behaviour, and recruitment systems create natural brand fit. • The brand vision, identity, actions and employee s roles in brand building are fully understood and felt to be worth believing in. • Leadership lives the brand. With regard to the first thought, the brand needs to deliver on its promise in all that it does – at each and every point of contact, both externally and internally. For Primi Piatti, this would mean that “urban energy” is not only conveyed to the customers (externally) but that this “urban energy” is also lived and felt by the employees (internally). In addition, Enslin maintains that employees are more likely to believe in the company or organisational brand that delivers its promises even-handedly to its own employees as well as to its most valuable customers. The first requisite for employee belief in the company or organisational brand is to “walk the brand talk,” both internally and externally (Enslin 2008). By this, Primi Piatti should be able to argue that not only do their employees need to convey the passionate, energetic and confident message to the outside (to customers) but also need to feel these above mentioned values towards the brand. With regards to the second thought, Enslin provides operational brand needs, which Primi Piatti could consider to determine employees belief in the brand: • A need for the design and implementation of brand – focused job role descriptions, performance criteria and business reward models. • A need for brand sessions aimed at emotionally engaging employees. • A need for projects dedicated to the employee-brand relationship. • A need for company recruitment and interview models that create employee brand- fit, thus avoiding an internal brand condition that Coyler (2003: 3) describes as “trying to squeeze new employees until they fit or are fit to burst. In consideration of the third thought, Mitchell (2005: 5) argues that “employees need to have clear and powerful view of what they are part of and where the brand and business
  22. 22. 22 are going” (Enslin 2007). To add to this, Schultz and Hatch argue that “a company must align three essential, interdependent elements - call them strategic stars – to create a strong corporate brand: vision, culture and image.” (Hatch & Schultz 2001). The reason for this necessary alignment is that a different group of people urges each element. These three groups are the employees, the outside world and management. “Vision” can be described as “top management s aspirations for the company“ (Hatch & Schultz 2001). “Culture” (as previously described) is the organisation s values, behaviours, and attitudes - that is, the way employees all through the ranks feel about the company (Hatch & Schultz 2001). “Image” can be described as the outside world s overall impression of the company. This includes all stakeholders – customers, shareholders, the media, and the general public and so on (Hatch & Schultz 2001). Therefore, for Primi Piatti to successfully build a corporate brand, and to attain employee s belief in the brand, these three above mentioned “strategic stars” need to be aligned, fully understood by employees and employees need to feel that they re worth believing in. To effectively build a corporate brand, executives need to identify where their strategic stars fall out of line (Hatch & Schultz 2001: 4). Hatch and Schultz have a developed a corporate branding tool kit that Primi Piatti could make use of as they have designed questions that can help in revealing the misalignments in the three elements. The first set of questions looks at the relationship between vision and culture; how managers and employees are aligned (Hatch & Schultz 2001). The second set addresses culture and image, uncovering possible gaps between the attitudes of employees and the perceptions of the outside world (Hatch & Schultz 2001). The last set explores the vision-image gap – is management taking the company in a direction that its stakeholders support? (Hatch & Schultz 2001).
  23. 23. 23 The fourth thought, that leadership must live the brand, also correlates to the above- mentioned elements that need to be aligned. The influence that leadership of the brand has on employee belief in the brand is seen to be a critical factor (Enslin 2008). The company or brand can only “walk its brand talk” internally and externally if its leadership exhibits the proper deep-seated brand values (Enslin 2008). Enslin continues to reason that it is also leadership of the brand that directs the brand vision, identity and operational systems to guide, encourage, recognise and reward on-brand behaviour. Summarising this above argument, the brand or businesses actual performances, their culture, the management and leadership thereof is to be healthy for employee belief in the brand to result. To build an internal organisation of people who believe in the brand and coherently deliver on its promise internal brand building must be integral to business and brand strategy (Enslin 2008). For internal brand building to be central to Primi Piatti, a brand contact council together with brand champions may be essential. The opening definition of a brand would also explain that Primi Piatti s brand would be activated at every single point of the value chain,
  24. 24. 24 meaning that there is a need for a singular coherent brand strategy to be integrated throughout the value chain. To successfully achieve this, Primi Piatti would need vigilant, constant management of these touch points that consumers will have with the brand. The purpose of brand contact management is to achieve an integrated brand identity, a state in which all of the points of contact between a brand and its target audience communicate what the brand stands for (Enslin 2007). The objective and the importance of contact management is crucial for Primi Piatti, as Enslin explains, to “ensure that the brand acts meaningfully, that it is consistent in the delivery of its promise, and that it grows into an attractive, credible and trustworthy brand.” To ensure that Primi Piatti s active contact points (that influence what their customers think and experience with the brand) are coherently delivered, a “brand contact council” or team of employees managing the brand could be created. A brand contact council comes into being and is tasked to ensure brand contact integration is achieved in the daily life of the company (Enslin 2007). The council must be designed to reflect the contact nature of the company, its key fields of contact with its consumer markets and target audiences (Enslin 2007). For Primi Piatti this would mean ensuring that at every point of contact a coherent image is communicated. Ideally, this should be one that is as close to their brand identity as possible. To gain further insight into the employee type required for the brand contact council, and in a case (such as Primi Piatti) where the front-line employees hold such importance, there is a need for brand champions – employees who “know and care.” Enterprise IG (now Brand Union) designed a “Buy-In Matrix” with four categories on two axes: intellectual commitment and emotional commitment. The ideal employee, as explained by Enterprise IG is one who both understands what the company is trying to do (intellectual commitment) and cares about this aim (emotionally committed). A “loose cannon” may care about what the company is trying to do but doesn t know what to do about this. Others, the “bystanders,” know what the company is trying to do, but don t care, and the worst, the “weak links” neither know nor care. Thus, a “brand champion” is someone who both understands what the company is trying to do and is emotionally committed to helping it succeed. To achieve an organisation or brand that is comprised of brand champions, Primi Piatti need engagement from their employees.
  25. 25. 25 Consequently, it is imperative to understand what engagement is. In the words of Enterprise IG: “Being engaged is something special. Your mind is alert and absorbed. Your emotions are heightened. Your attention is focused, and your behaviour is channelled. True engagement, then, is about behaviour. It s not the same as, say, satisfaction, which is passive. That s why familiar and overused measures such as employee engagement, are not about awareness or familiarity with a particular message. Internal branding, internal marketing, and internal communications are all important supporting acts in brand engagement. But if left alone simply as communications, they merely scratch the surface.” Thus, once Primi Piatti s internal branding measures are in effect and valuable, their gauging of “real engagement” will take them further. Enterprise IG explains that the first thing that real engagement does is encourage on-brand behaviour, which is where their above mentioned employees will need an in-depth understanding of what the brand stands for, and what this means for their daily activities. This is the trigger of the first key ingredient to engagement, intellectual connection, which is knowing what, why and how. The second drive behind engagement is emotional commitment, which Enterprise IG explains will happen when employees are motivated. Branding has always been about establishing emotional ties between the brand and the consumer. Engagement happens
  26. 26. 26 when employees hear the message, believe the message, and then live or act upon it (Mitchell 2005). In order to hear the message, Primi Piatti need to communicate with their employees so that they have a clear view of what they are part of and where the brand currently and potentially stands. Here again, Primi Piatti s employees need to find a good balance between the emotional and intellectual connection to the brand so that their employee s missions and visions have the necessary intellectual grounding together with the emotional connection. More simply, the message needs to reach both the head and the heart. A sine qua non for any successful attempt to engage employees is senior management s own engagement (Mitchell 2005). This will enable employees to also “see” this engagement and not only hear it as it will be the same senior managers conveying the message that needs to be heard. The message will be much more meaningful to employees if the ones that are the giving the message are living by example themselves. As Enterprise IG put it, “it is here that any disconnect between stated objective and behaviour – between word and deed - will be instantly spotted. If the organisation s leaders don t see the effort as a genuine priority, then frankly it s probably not worth the bother (Mitchell 2005). After hearing the message, employee s need to believe in the message. “Believing” happens when the message becomes real for me, in my job, day-to-day (Mitchell 2005). Taking orders, serving customers their food and drinks, setting and clearing tables, and numerous trips to the kitchen and back; these are the day-to-day duties where the message needs to be believable. If engagement is all about behaviours rather than just attitudes, engaging people happens via the day job. This requires often painstaking dialogue about the implications of the brand at an individual and team level, where the day- to-day work gets done (Mitchell 2005). For engagement to work, hearing and believing is not enough. Thirdly and possibly most importantly is living the brand. Enterprise IG explain, that “this is where the day-to-day operational implications of the brand message are embedded into the sinews of the organisation: where the nitty-gritty of aligning work patterns and priorities, systems, policies, incentives, processes, structures and recognition systems takes over (Mitchell 2005). To deliver a great brand experience to customers, Enterprise IG explains that
  27. 27. 27 “employees must be supported every step of the way, with the right training, tools, processes, incentives, materials, management backup and so on.” Once again this reiterates that every touch point will communicate. The internal and external communication systems therefore need to be aligned, so that a coherent, well- integrated message is shared. Every customer touch point is a communication opportunity, or disaster – likewise with employees (Mitchell 2005). The essence is therefore that the brand Primi Piatti needs to be boosted through the entire employee journey to enable employees to deliver a brand experience that is powerful to their customers. Following the above-mentioned guidelines, Primi Piatti can achieve employee belief in the brand that will lead to a more credible brand, a successful delivery of service or customer-brand interaction, and ultimately a brand that many consumers are in love with.
  28. 28. 28 Methodological Approach The methodological approach chosen for this research follows a process advised by W.G. Zikmund and B.J. Babin that comprises of six stages. The stages of the research process overlap continuously and it is somewhat of an oversimplification to state that every research project has exactly the same ordered sequence of activities. (Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007: 58). The stages are: 1. Defining the research objectives 2. Planning the research design 3. Planning the sample 4. Collecting the data 5. Analyzing the data 6. Formulating the conclusions and preparing the report. The research objectives are the goals to be achieved by conducting the research (Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007: 59). The primary objective of this research is to define the impact of employee belief in the brand on the internal service quality of the brand. In order to achieve the research objective, a selection of exploratory research techniques is necessary so as to plan the research design, which is the second step. Exploratory research is conducted to clarify ambiguous situations or discover ideas. Usually it is conducted with the expectation that more research will be needed to provide more conclusive evidence. Using exploratory research can also make the difference in determining the usefulness of other related research (Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007: 51). The primary rationale of the use of this research type for our study is to discover and generate new ideas. The specific category of exploratory research chosen for this study involves articles, journals, case studies, and other published sources of relevance such as textbooks.
  29. 29. 29 In planning the research design, a selection of basic research methods is required (Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007: 60). For the purpose of this study, both quantitative and qualitative research is performed. Based on the evidence of Shiffman and Kanuk, quantitative research involves predicting consumer behaviour by understanding the effects various promotional inputs have on the consumer. These may be carried out by means of surveys, experiments and observations whereby the data collected is generally descriptive in nature. Qualitative marketing research is research that addresses marketing objectives through techniques that allow the researcher to provide elaborate interpretations of market phenomena without depending on numerical measurement; its focus is on discovering true inner meanings and new insights (Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007: 129). The qualitative research technique used for the purpose of this study was depth interviews. A depth interview is a one-on-one interview between a researcher and a research respondent conducted about some relevant business or social topic (Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007: 149). In planning the research design, we decided that we would start the research process with the quantitative research, and then proceed to the qualitative research. The quantitative research for this study was carried out by means of a questionnaire. The Western Cape is the province with the most Primi Piatti stores, followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal. Accordingly, we decided that we would use the Kwa-Zulu Natal stores as a trial process, and subsequently decide whether the questionnaire needed altering to precede with the Western Cape stores. Planning the sample is the third step of the methodological approach chosen. A sample is a subset, or some part, of a larger population (Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007: 403). For this research objective, nonprobability sampling will be used. Nonprobability sampling is a sampling technique in which units of the sample are selected on the basis of personal judgement or convenience (Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007: 411). The nonprobability sample technique chosen is a convenience sample due to its low cost and appropriateness.
  30. 30. 30 We defined the Primi Piatti waitrons as the brand s primary contact point with customers, and believe that they communicate the brand most powerfully, hence playing a fundamental role in Primi Piatti s overall image. For this reason we defined the waitrons as the planned sample for this questionnaire. The aim of the questionnaire was to attain the employee s level of belief in the brand through the questions asked so that we could determine the degree of Primi Piatti s internal service quality. Thus, to compile the questionnaire it was necessary to understand exactly what constitutes employee belief in the brand. We felt that our study would be most accurate if we obtained as many findings as possible, across all cultures and demographics within the Primi Piatti family. Forty waitrons in Kwa-Zulu Natal completed the questionnaire, and a further seventy from the Western Cape. Following the quantitative research came the task of planning the qualitative research, to be conducted with people in higher organisational roles at Primi Piatti, including managers, owners and the marketing manager. The chosen qualitative research techniques were depth interviews and conversations. Conversations are an informal qualitative data gathering approach in which the researcher engages a respondent in a discussion of the relevant subject matter (Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007: 150). Data gathering is the fourth step of this research process, and can also be described as “fieldwork.” We planned on conducting our research at times that were most appropriate to the Primi Piatti staff considering their active profession. This would enable us to attain their utmost attention when engaging with our questionnaire, and gather the most accurate results required. We also intended on spending as much time within a number of the Primi Piatti environments as possible, to gain a better understanding of the ethos and organisational culture that is unique to the brand. Conducting the research also meant considering the ethical components of the research process. As in all human interactions, ethical issues exist in marketing research (Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007: 85). Accordingly, we gained the necessary authorisation to carry out our research process that would pose no threat to employee safety. Moral standards are principles that reflect beliefs about what is ethical and what is unethical (Zikmund, W.G & Babin, B.J, 2007:86). Moral standards that we found ethical and applicable were communicated to all participants during this research process.
  31. 31. 31 The primary research conducted always followed the particular participants consent. The purpose of the study was briefly explained to them in handing them the questionnaire, and the respondent was informed that they would remain anonymous. Honest cooperation was the main obligation of the research process and so the participants were all informed that their responses would remain confidential. We established that confidentiality was the only means of obtaining truthful responses. During the June/July holiday we visited the five stores in Kwa-Zulu Natal, and spent approximately two hours at each store completing the questionnaires and talking to each of the managers. We found that at two of the stores the manager was also the owner of the store, which allowed us to gain further information about the store, more specifically about the franchise. This conversational approach was almost completely unstructured, and we entered into these conversations with few expectations. We then met with Sean Holmes, the Marketing Manager of Primi Piatti at their head office in Cape Town, to conduct the depth interview which lasted an hour and a half. The primary objective of this depth interview was to gain insight into Primi Piatti s internal systems and structures. We were able to form a structured discussion session that allowed us to gain detailed insight into the training, recruitment and reward systems; as well as some constructive information regarding the brand s philosophy. Some of this information contributed to the content of the questionnaire. Our role as the researchers was crucial during this interview as we needed to encourage Holmes to talk freely without influencing the direction of the conversation, yet still ask relevant, specific questions. Although we had established particular questions before the interview, the flow and atmosphere of the interview allowed us to ask several more insightful questions. After collecting all this data, we were finally able to proceed to the fifth step of our research process – analysing the data. In analysing the qualitative data - the information gathered from our interview with Holmes, it became clear from the start that he has great enthusiasm towards, and in-depth knowledge of the Primi Piatti brand. A topic that regularly came up was the importance of taking pride and ownership of ones work, and this related to every person employed by Primi Piatti. Employees are encouraged to always give of their best and collectively pursue their goals, which is essentially achieved through strong teamwork
  32. 32. 32 and motivation. One of these goals is to strive towards delivering a “perfect Primi day,” whereby waitrons are expected to consistently deliver on the brands promise in everything that they do. However, Holmes pointed out that this was the most difficult and challenging obstacle for Primi Piatti, as it entailed constant monitoring and training to achieve the desired results. Next, the quantitative data was analysed. Having initially compiled a trial questionnaire, where we collected data from the five Kwa-Zulu Natal stores, including Gateway, Ballito, Hillcrest, and Pietermaritzburg; we came to realise in analysing the data that the questionnaire was too long and that the questions weren t specific enough. We realised that the questions weren t accurately aligned with our objectives and that our planning of the process was problematic. In conducting these questionnaires we found that the waitrons would have to hand their tables over to another waiter to be able to answer our questionnaire and therefore only one waiter would be able to answer it at a time. We also established that each waiter spent more time completing the questionnaire than expected, meaning that the average time spent in each store was too long (approximately two to three hours). We then decided to send the questionnaire for external assessment to Brendon Bussy and Carla Enslin, Vega Brand Communication School Navigators. This was helpful as we were able to narrow it down to a more precise, clear-cut questionnaire, with eighteen questions as opposed to the previous forty questions. The final deduction made from the first questionnaire was that we gathered too many detailed answers to the wrong questions and would at least now be able to get clear answers to the right questions. Succeeding this, we finalised our second questionnaire, which we then took to the Primi Piatti s of the Western Cape. The final questions chosen for the questionnaire were derived directly from Enslin s article, Building an Organisation of People who believe in the Brand. This would allow for us to examine the level of Internal Service Quality of Primi Piatti. Once this was complete we were able to move on to the next step of the research process – analysing this data. Analysing this data meant tabulating our findings from the quantitative research and reviewing the information recorded from the qualitative research. The final stage of the
  33. 33. 33 research process consisted of interpreting the research results, describing the implications, and drawing the appropriate conclusions. The tabulated findings from the quantitative research are revealed below. The seventy waitrons responses have been recorded below as a percentage.
  34. 34. 34
  35. 35. 35 Findings The results from question one and two therefore reflect that the employees feel that their work environment allows them to deliver urban energy to their customers very well. We believe that their work environment has a critical role in enabling employees to deliver on the brand promise of urban energy. As Enslin s article states, “for employees to believe in the company brand, it must be seen to deliver on its brand promise in all that it does – at each and every point of contact, both internally and externally.” The employees obviously feel that their environment supports them in their jobs and is well aligned with the brand promise. As the services triangle shows, unless service employees are willing to deliver on the promises made, the services triangle will collapse and the brand will not be successful. In short, that what is promised (urban energy) through external marketing should be the same as what is delivered by the waitrons; and the enabling activities inside the organisation should be, and evidently are aligned with the duties of these waitrons. The third question s figures show that the employees strongly believe that a consistent delivery of urban energy is experienced by customers. With Primi Piatti being a franchise it is of upmost importance that consistency and regularity occurs so that a uniform brand image can result. The emphasis of this question are the words every and whenever, as we felt it important to test the stability of the brand. Again, as Enslin states, “brand integrity and credibility requires coherent brand contact performance.” Enslin also states that “a brand promise executed merely at a superficial level is likely to meet with employee ridicule and does not lead to a growth in internal brand pride.” The fourth question also related to the first element of employee belief in the brand – when the brand “walks its talk, both internally and externally.” This was an interesting finding as 92% of respondents felt that the same level of “urban energy” that customers experience is both lived and felt by them (the waitrons). This again indicates that Primi Piatti delivers their brand promise even-handedly to their own employees as they do their customers. This synergy of the brand promise between the brand and its employees, and the brand with its customers certainly contributes to the integrity of the brand. It was also interesting to find that 67% of employees felt that they are treated in the same manner as the brand s most valuable customers. There were only 7% of employees who felt that they were treated worse than their most valued customers, leaving a substantial 26% of respondents saying that they are treated better by management than what their most valued customers are.
  36. 36. 36 This was an impressive finding as we believed that if the waitrons felt that their needs are taken care of (as customers needs are), and if they feel valued then the employees are more likely to stay longer with the organisation. From these findings we deduced that Primi Piatti has in fact adopted the idea that employees are also customers of the brand/organisation, and that their basic brand strategies can be directed at them as well as at customers. This enabled us to conclude that the brand Primi Piatti does walk its brand talk, both internally as well as externally. After establishing that the Primi Piatti employees are both willing and able to deliver on the brands promise, we questioned the employees on the second element suggested by Enslin on employee belief in the brand. Enslin states that employees believe in the brand when “operational systems guide, encourage, recognise, and reward on-brand behavior; and recruitment systems create natural brand- fit.” The first question that we felt suitable to ask here was whether they know exactly what is expected of them in their daily work. We felt that if their job description was clear and focused they would surely be more confident in their daily routines as they would know what they are supposed to be doing, and this would eliminate any unnecessary job uncertainties. This was an interesting finding as it was the only question of the questionnaire where 100% of the waitrons answered positively – that they do know exactly what is expected of them in their daily work. This also indicates that the waitrons extensive training is effective in ensuring that their daily responsibilities are fully understood. The next finding was that 95% of waitrons are aware that their actions are monitored by management. Management s role is essentially to engage in the waitrons activities and to assist them in their ability to deliver the required service. Teamwork is an important part in service delivery and as question sixteen also proved; the Primi Piatti employees treat each other remarkably well at work. The nature of the waitrons jobs also suggests that customer satisfaction will be increased when the waitrons work as a team, which is evidently the case with the Primi Piatti employees. In addition, because their jobs can frequently be frustrating, challenging and demanding of their attention, the Primi Piatti teamwork environment obviously assists in alleviating the pressure. From this we can conclude that the Primi Piatti employees feel supported by one another and by their management, assisting them in providing efficient service delivery and enabling them to maintain their enthusiasm.
  37. 37. 37 The next two questions were linked – the first was to determine whether waitrons feel that they were rewarded at all for good performance, and the second was to determine whether they feel that they are rewarded enough for good performance. We believe that if Primi Piatti wants their strong performers to stay with the organisation, significant reward systems need to be implemented. The first finding was that only 51% of the respondents believe that they are rewarded for good performance, leaving 49% maintaining that they are not rewarded for good performance. More interesting, is that 72% of the waitrons believe that they are not rewarded enough for good performance. This was the only finding in the questionnaire with a negative result. This result may be problematic for Primi Piatti, as we believe that even the waitrons that are essentially motivated to deliver great service will eventually become despondent if their performance is not recognised and rewarded. With teamwork being such a prevalent subject, we would recommend that Primi Piatti introduce a peer reward system, where employees are able to recognise and reward one another. We further recommend that the empowerment opportunities already available within Primi Piatti be better communicated to employees. The reason for this is that employee empowerment is part of the brand s vision and values and could therefore be aligned with the reward systems. 79% of waitrons are aware of the opportunities for them to improve in their position at Primi Piatti. Examples of these opportunities are for waitrons to be promoted to store managers. Store managers are seldom recruited externally. Instead it is rather the waiters that have performed exceptionally well in their roles that are then promoted to managerial positions. The greatest opportunity available is that an inexperienced person may walk into the restaurant and have the right brand-personality fit to then be trained into a waitron position. If this person succeeds in their role, they can over time be promoted to for example a managerial position. Primi Piatti s staff motivation is achieved through a ranking system with a performance based structure, where every employee has the opportunity to grow in their position and develop themselves. They are continuously pushed to improve their rank, responsibilities, and income. The next two questions asked still relate to Enslin s second requirement for employee belief in the brand. As Enslin states, there is a “need for brand sessions aimed at
  38. 38. 38 emotionally engaging employees, and a need for projects dedicated to building the employee-brand relationship.” 64% of the employees answered yes to the question of whether they have organised sessions where they can express their emotions about their work. In looking further into this we realised that the 24% of employees that had answered no, was because of the short time that they had worked for Primi Piatti. We would however recommend to Primi Piatti that more regular sessions are organised so that more feedback can be attained from the employees, and the organisation can learn of any needs or issues that need to be addressed. Enslin also writes that there is “a need for company recruitment and interview models that create employee brand-fit, thus avoiding an internal brand condition described as trying to squeeze new employees until they fit or are fit to burst.” This is an area where Primi can be commended, as the overall feel as well as the individual interactions experienced with the waitrons demonstrated the natural personality-brand fit. The hiring procedures at Primi Piatti focus specifically on the individual s personality as Primi Piatti recognise that the right personality can then be trained to be a competent waitron. However, if the individual has experience in the delivery of service, with the wrong personality for the brand, the natural personality-brand fit mentioned above will not occur. Individuals need to be passionate, energetic and enthusiastic. They are then sent to the training centre where extensive training procedures have been established to enable staff to practice the code of behaviour. The third element of Enslin s article refers to the point that the brand vision, identity, actions and employees roles in brand building are fully understood and felt to be worth believing in. Although this point is relevant to attaining employee belief in the brand, we felt that the employees had a clear idea of what they are a part of – which was adequate for this brand. As previously mentioned, the waitrons fully understand their roles in brand building, and form a significant part of the brand identity. The final two open-ended questions of why they think Primi Piatti exists and what they aim to achieve as a business also proved that their existence and vision is well understood.
  39. 39. 39 The fourth and final element of employee belief in the brand refers to “leadership living the brand.” Enslin explains that the “the notion that employee belief in the company brand requires the executive to live the brand values and behave according to the brand code in all that they say and do.” 77% of the Primi Piatti waitrons felt that their management behave the way that they are expected to behave, and 87% believe that management is a good example for them to follow. After completing the questionnaire we discovered that the first of these two questions was not worded accurately enough, as many respondents misinterpreted the question. The majority of them that answered no argued that the reason for this is that management has a more formal role to fulfill in the restaurant. The final conclusion from these above findings is that the level of employee belief in the brand at Primi Piatti is exceptional: • The Primi Piatti brand walks its talk internally and externally, • Primi Piatti s operational systems create natural brand-fit, • Primi Piatti s brand elements are well understood and felt to be worth believing in, and • Primi Piatti s leaders live the brand. Reinforcing Enslin s conclusions, “building an organisation of people who believe in the brand and coherently deliver its promise, internal brand building must be integral to business and brand strategy.” Thus, Primi Piatti s high level of employee belief in the brand results in a high level of “internal service quality” – revealed in the service-profit chain. As previously discussed, and experienced firsthand with Primi Piatti, the subsequent effects are immense. In summary, Primi Piatti s internal service quality is strong, resulting from the employees belief in the brand. Following from this, the employees are satisfied in their jobs, which make them work effectively, efficiently, and employee retention is enjoyed. These satisfied employees then make for satisfied customers, leading to loyalty from customers, thus making the brand profitable and furthermore generating revenue growth.
  40. 40. 40 Conclusion Our chosen topic enabled us to remain motivated and dedicated throughout the research process due to the gradual yet ongoing developments of the research findings. The decision to co-invest our time, energy and skills proved beneficial in achieving our desired results. We also aim to make a positive contribution to the brand Primi Piatti by providing them with our research findings and model developed. Should this research topic be taken further, it would be interesting to investigate the external service value element of the service profit chain resulting from the brands internal service quality. This would involve gaining the insight and opinions of Primi Piatti customers towards the brand. From our findings we were able to develop a new model of thinking within the branding environment, which was the ultimate aim of this research document. This new model of thinking is revealed in the practical submission of the research, and can be summarised as follows: Employee belief in the brand is of vital importance in the services industry. A high level of employee belief in the brand will result in a high level of internal service quality. The three major benefits of a high level of internal service quality are; employee satisfaction, employee retention, and employee productivity. These factors will comprise a strong level of service delivered to customers resulting ultimately in both revenue growth and profitability.
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  44. 44. 44 Practical Rationale Taking our lead from life itself, we understand that everything consists of elements. And it is observing these elements, we realise that everything is connected and to turn chaos into orders we need to share energy and exchange creativity with each other and our surrounds, which gives way to inspiration. It s a simple fact that energy is what keeps things moving, operating. And at Primi Piatti, we identify this vital force as Urban Energy: connection and inspired interactions with others and the environment. The above statement is a common feature when one comes into contact with the Primi Piatti brand. It appears on their pizza boxes, website, brochures and menus, and shows the level of commitment they have towards their customers, staff and the environment. It is this approach that inspired our decision to bring our research study to life in a digitally animated format. We felt that because the Primi Piatti work environment consists of an active, energetic, and lively atmosphere, we would capture the spirit of Urban Energy most effectively through a combination of fast-moving visuals, up-beat music, in store footage and engaging interviews. The focus of our research is to show the impact of employee belief in the brand on Internal Service Quality, with specific reference to Primi Piatti waiters - a crucial component in the businesses success. For this reason, the practical execution provides a visual and auditory explanation of our topic. The concept of Urban Energy (the brand s promise) is brought to life. Furthermore, the impact of employee belief in the brand on internal service quality is portrayed. The visual identity of the animation is consistent with the branding used by Primi Piatti throughout their portfolio, allowing the viewer to connect with the brand and relate it to any experience they have previously encountered. The visuals effectively reinforce the theme of Urban Energy, together with the various systems and models that are used both in the operation of the business and those applied in our study. Through this format of documentation, we wish to achieve a means of communicating our findings in the most engaging, entertaining and informative way possible, with the intention
  45. 45. 45 of the animation to stand alone and show the exact process we have gone through to reach our results, without having to refer to the document.
  46. 46. 46 Bibliography Aaker, D.A. 2002. Building Strong Brands. New York: Free Press. Enslin, C. 2008. Building an organisation of people who believe in the brand. From: The Encyclopaedia of Brands & Branding in South Africa. Auckland Park: Affinity Advertising and Publishing CC. Keller, K.L. 2008. Strategic Brand Management: 3rd Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. Lawrence, D-L. 2007. What s the Big Deal About Internal Branding? From: The Encyclopaedia of Brands & Branding in South Africa. Auckland Park: Affinity Advertising and Publishing CC. Shiffman, L.G. & Kanuk, L.L. 2004. Consumer Behavior. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. Superbrands (2005). Zeithaml, V.A.; Bitner, M.J. & Gremler, D.D. 2006. Services Marketing: 4th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill. Zikmund, W.G. & Babin, B.J. 2007. Exploring Marketing Research: 9th Edition. USA: Thomson South Western. Zondi, S. 2007. Brand-Building is a Team Sport. From: The Encyclopaedia of Brands & Branding in South Africa. Auckland Park: Affinity Advertising and Publishing CC. Journals and Articles Bridle, P. 2008. Paul Bridle s Thoughts on Leadership: Work is Love Made Visible. Coyler E. 2003. Promoting Brand Allegiance Within. Brandchannel. Enslin, C. 2007. The Company, the Brand, and the Contact Council Harris, P. 2007. We the people: The importance of employees in the process of building customer experience. Journal of Brand Management, 15, pp. 102-114.
  47. 47. 47 Hatch, M.J & Schultz, M. 2001. Are the Strategic Stars Aligned for Your Corporate Brand? Harvard Business Review. Heskett, J.L; Jones, T.O; Loveman, G.W; Sasser, W.E & Schlesinger, L.A. 2000. Putting The Service Profit Chain to Work. Harvard Business Review. Mitchell, A. 2005. Employee Engagement: Building Brands From The Inside Out. Enterprise IG. Mosley, RW. 2007. Customer experience, organisational culture and the employer brand. Journal of Brand Management, 15, pp. 123-134. 2002. Beliefs: The Key to Employee Loyalty, Brand Membershp in your Organization. Auragen Communications, Inc. Yaniv, E & Farkas, F. The Impact of Person-Organization Fit on the Corporate Brand Perception of Employees and of Customers. Journal of Change Management, 5, pp. 447- 461.

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