Brands must match experience to marketing

Brands risk losing customers by failing to create customer experiences that match up to promises made in marketing campaigns, according to a study by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).


The report found that the problem stems from a “damaging disconnect” between boardroom, marketing departments and customer experience.

It says that marketing and brand leaders’ priorities should be to take a more active role in “educating ‘up’ in the organisation” and to build brand understanding across all levels of employees.

Seven out of ten (69 per cent) marketers believe that investing in customer experience is more effective than investment into marketing communications when it comes to building brands, but only 13 per cent believe that their company “excels” at delivering a day to day brand experience that matches up to what the brand promises.

The findings on brand delivery echo those of The Promise Index, which examines the gap between the perception of a brand and a consumer’s actual experience. The Index’s findings are the basis of this feature.

The CIM report found that while customer insight and research are being shared across business units, and senior leaders, it rarely permeates the ranks of the organisation. Only 14 per cent of the marketers surveyed said it was the main driver of decision making.

A third of organisations were found to not use the brand guidelines that are in place, while half of organisations that don’t use customer experience or employee brand behaviour guidelines.

Thomas Brown, head of insights at the CIM says: “Essentially, brands are built on promises but it’s the experience you have of an organisation that constitutes reality.

“This study shows that leadership and belief have the greatest impact on successfully delivering a branded customer experience … this suggests you can lead your way to a branded experience, but not manage your way there.” 

The Branded Customer Experience Benchmark, supported by Lippincott, surveyed insights from 100 senior marketers at international organisations. Senior marketing figures including Elizabeth Fagin, marketing director at Boots, Markus Kramer, global marketing director of Aston Martin and Mike Harrison, chief brand officer of Timberland, also contributed to the report.

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