With each engagement The Page Group feels it is critical to identify all the key brand promises to be contained within the clients brand silo. By clearing knowing what those commitments are we all have the ability to be honest with our consumers and deliver on the brand promises that we want to make to our audience. In doing this we build highly loyal consumers that are comfortable with the brand message, and that feel that we are fulfilling our brand commitment to them. Your brand promise is central to your ability to convince consumers of your commitment to them in delivering what they need from your brand.
10 Ways To Provide Customer Experiences That Deliver On Your Brand Promise
by Michael Hinshaw
Recognizing that your customer experience is an integral aspect of your brand isn’t a new notion. For years, companies ranging from Ritz Carlton and Starbucks to USAA and Costco have consciously used customer experience as a way to deliver on the promises their brands make.
- The link between what customers expect and the experiences they get is unbreakable.
- Know what you stand for, and make sure your people know as well.
- The more authentic your brand, the stronger the emotional connection with customers.
What’s more recent is the broad recognition that customer experience is both a major driver of customer loyalty and a powerful competitive differentiator across virtually all industries. And as the body of knowledge around how to create this advantage grows, the connections between brand and experience are drawn in increasingly sharper focus.
That’s because the linkage between what customers expect from your brand and the experiences they actually get is unbreakable. Simply put, the brand sets customer expectations. Experience is how those expectations are met–or not.
By no means exhaustive, what follows is a short list of things we’ve seen companies do to help ensure the experiences they are delivering are, in fact, the experiences their customers expect and want.
1. Create a vision that inspires your employees: Most employees expect fair pay for their contributions. But what really drives them isn’t usually money; it’s the knowledge that what they’re doing matters. They want to be inspired by a shared vision and work toward a common goal. Customers “feel this” when it’s present, and they love it. You cannot fake it.
2. Make your brand values explicit: Know what you stand for, and make sure your people know as well. For example, if you stand for integrity, innovation, flexibility, and reliability, there should be no question that this is exactly how your firm will behave.
3. Start your brand marketing internally:Your brand and your customer experience starts with your people. Make what you stand for and what you promise explicit, then make sure it’s clearly and consistently communicated and that the implications are understood.
4. Articulate what it means for employees to “live” your brand:By translating your brand–your promise, your values, and your vision–into a clear set of expected behaviors for your people, it’s much easier for you to articulate their responsibilities. It’s also easier for employees to improve their capabilities because they’ll know what their performance will be judged on.
5. Measure yourself against your brand promise and your values: It’s been quoted so many times by so many people, I cannot confidently point to a single source. Which doesn’t change is the truth of it: What gets measured gets improved. Regularly “listen” to your customers and your people to learn exactly how well you’re delivering on what you promise–and then do even better.
6. Identify, engage, and nurture your brand advocates: When it comes to improving customer experience, many companies focus on those that score lowest on the loyalty/satisfaction scale, those who are their captives, detractors, or runaways. While you can’t ignore them, the most successful companies also focus on (sometimes even more so) their brand advocates. They do this to better understand and serve the customers that love them most–and learn how to make more customers like them.
7. Recognize that your brand is no longer just yours: It used to be that companies could control their brands. No more. Today there are hundreds or even thousands of others in the crowded relationship between you and your customers. Social influence means that control of your brand is in the hands of others. Experiences that don’t align with customer expectations your brand sets will be quickly, broadly, and mercilessly communicated.
8. Ensure that your business, brand, and customer experience strategies are aligned: I talked a bit about this at the top. It’s important enough to say it again. Simply put, the brand sets customer expectations. Experience is how those expectations are met (or aren’t). And these both need to tie back to–and support–your business strategy.
9. Don’t discount the power of emotion in your brand–or your experiences: When customers come into contact with your brand or your company, they “feel” a certain way as the result of that contact. Good, bad, or indifferent, each interaction evokes a blend of emotions each customer intuitively measures against his or her expectations at each touch point and across each journey. Simply put, you must understand how customers feel as a result of interacting with your firm.
10. Be “real:” Authentic brands deliver authentic experiences:The more authentic your brand, the stronger the emotional connection can be between you and your customers. That is to say, the more and more consistently you deliver on the promises you make, the better your customer experiences and more positive customer perceptions will be. Authenticity creates customer loyalty and drives confidence.