The truth can be hard to tell

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 the article makes clear, successful brands develop customer relationships by living their brand values and ensuring that those values are reflected in every experience customers have with the brand. What is rarely discussed, however, is why companies fail to deliver consistent and brand-true customer experiences.

The truth is that most brands fail to live their own brand truth, relying instead on marketing and advertising messages to attract customers. Customers experience this gap between promise and reality 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 which remain true to itself and resonate 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, 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.

Ian Worley

Brand experience director

Brandhouse WTS

London W2

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