Sean Brierley’s article about avoiding the “Bland trap” during times of recession (MW October 24) reflects a growing understanding of the importance of customer experience in creating successful brands.
As Brierley makes clear, successful brands develop customer relationships by living their brand values and ensuring that they are reflected in every experience customers have with the brand across all channels and touch-points. What is rarely discussed, however, is why companies fail to deliver consistent and brand-true customer experiences.
The tragic truth is that most brands fail to live their own brand truth, relying instead on marketing and advertising messages to attract customers without understanding how to live their values in their own behaviour as an organisation. Customers experience this gap between the promise and reality of their lived experience with the brand and become increasingly cynical, frustrated or even angry enough to choose a different product or service entirely.
To create compelling customer experiences, a company needs to be able to translate its values into unique and rewarding customer interactions that are both true to itself and resonant with customers. Simple and obvious as this may appear, it is, in practice, incredibly hard to achieve.
It is difficult because, to live its brand, a company’s brand values need to be present in the very culture and processes of the business itself (the cultural and economic DNA), not just in the marketing communications. This means creating and sustaining processes which inspire everyone in the organisation to live those values and believe in what the company stands for. It also means understanding the goals, aspirations and behaviours of customers so that the brand can actively help them live their lives.
Successful brands talk the talk and walk the walk. When a company lives its brand, the experiences that customers have with the business become authentic. The brand lives up to its promise, thus creating a level of trust and loyalty with customers that is extremely hard for competitors to beat.
Brand experience director