I recently switched to First Direct for my banking. Its USP is that when you call up, you get through to a real person in a UK call centre without any “press 5 if you’re calling about…” nonsense.

It’s a clear, simple message that the bank has been pushing consistently for more than a decade.

But, unlike many brands’ marketing, it’s not just a lie used in adverts to get your money: First Direct has really taken on board the old mantra that marketing should be part of (and a reflection of) everything you do.

The service has been, without exception, flawless, just as the adverts promised. Every time I’ve called up, a cheerful, helpful and well-trained person has answered the phone within a single ring, taken a genuine interest in my question and solved it. The documents I’ve received have been just as clear, friendly and reassuring.

First Direct replies to my tweetObviously, I took to Twitter to share the experience. Within moments, I got a reply. How good is that? Gently humorous, totally human, joined-up multi-channel marketing: it’s clear that First Direct gets social, too.

I can think of far too many companies that could learn from First Direct’s example. Find one killer part of your service that’s both true and different. Stick with it and make sure it shines through right across the business.

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