Advertise with fastmoving.co.za
 
 

Winning customer experience visions should be centred on authenticity and delivering on the brand promise.
Winning customer experience visions should be centred on authenticity and delivering on the brand promise.

Customer experience and the brand need to become two parts of the same equation

MARKETING NEWS

By Lynette Dicey - Sep 19th 2018, 13:19

Winning customer experience visions should be centred on authenticity and delivering on the brand promise. 

According to a Forrester report on customer experience (CX), companies that deliver authentic experiences to their consumers, which are anchored by the brand and its vision, outperform not only competitors within their own categories, but also gain the trust of their customers – a feat that is becoming increasingly challenging in today’s climate.

The report, entitled “Root your CX vision in your brand” by Ryan Hart and Dipanjan Chatterjee, emphasises the importance of aligning CX strategy and the brand saying: “CX vision must link the brand promise and the experience that substantiates that promise.”

Consumers’ need for authentic brand experiences is not new; however, increasingly, authenticity is the result of a CX vision that takes its tone from the values that describe the brand and its purpose in the lives of its consumers. According to the report, the leaders in Forrester’s customer experience index are those brands that deliver experiences that link to their values and are guided by authentic, inspiring and mobilising CX visions.

Another survey undertaken by Forrester in 2017 (the Forrester Data Global Business Technographics Marketing Survey), revealed that 57% of marketing decision makers globally don’t focus on aligning their brands with CX – in fact, they don’t regard it as either critical or high priority.

The CX report highlights this statistic, calling it alarming, and adding that CX and brand alignment go hand in hand. Matt Watkinson, the author of “The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences”, says: “The ideal gap between the brand image (what customers are promised) and the brand reality (what they actually experience) is zero.” The reality, however, is that all too often there is a disconnect between what a brand promises to deliver to its consumers and what is actually the case.

This disconnect, the report points out, can be attributed to a number of factors. For example, many brands have what is termed a vague CX vision. As a result, customers develop a correspondingly vague relationship with the brand, coming and going as experiences go from being aligned to the brand and its values, to completely off-brand. This can be the product of a brand that is poorly defined, or through a lack of planning in terms of how the brand will translate into an experience.

Another reason for the dissonance is caused by a gap between the brand promise and the brand experience. A good example of this, the report says, is in the case of channel partners that use agents or distributors to sell many different brands, without differentiating between the experiences each brand offers.

Unrealistic brand promises – overpromising and underdelivering – is an age-old problem where consumers are provided with unrealistic expectations that cannot be upheld – leaving employees frustrated and consumers dissatisfied.

The report explains that the first step in the all-important alignment between brand and CX vision is for customer experience professionals to immerse themselves in the brand promise, gaining an in-depth understanding of it that can easily be translated into the CX vision. The Forrester report emphasises that the promise should be rooted in the company’s values.

Ultimately, it can be viewed as storytelling, the report says, with CX professionals seeking out the narrative behind the values and translating the brand’s values into attributes. “CX professionals can infer attributes from the brand’s values, look for them in existing research and strategy documents or check to see if they are measured by a brand tracker,” it says, adding that it is important to remember that consumers attribute human characteristics to brands, perceiving and engaging with them as if they were people.

The final step, according to the report, is to collate the attributes to tell the brand’s story, one that is consistent across all communication platforms and brand expression. It is this story, rooted in authenticity, which becomes the launch pad for the CX vision.

It’s vital, however, for CX professionals to consider that, like all products and services in today’s environment, effective CX visions cannot be created in silos. Creative, collaborative thinking across the organisation is what is required to develop a CX vision that will lead to greater brand performance, says the report.

Finally, CX visions should authentically and accurately represent the brand’s values; be inspirational (by motivating customers and employees to take action) and mobilising in order to unite the entire organisation around a certain course of action. This is represented in the report by the acronym AIM (authentic, inspiring and mobilising).

All CX professionals urge the report, need to consider authenticity as the backbone of the brand and its CX vision. “Companies have a responsibility to their customers, employees and shareholders to be authentic,” it concludes.

Business Live 

Read more about: marketing | cx | customer experience | business | brand

Related News

Richemont lifts dividend 5% as online platforms boost sales
17/05/2019 - 08:52
Richemont chair John Rupert says group sales rose 27%, 'reflecting growth across all business areas and distribution channels.'

Egg Films' & One Show awardee creates nostalgic new TVC for Cadbury
16/05/2019 - 09:45
Hot on the heels on a spate of accolades for his short film ‘Vuka’, including a merit certificate from the prestigious One Show, Egg Films' Zwelethu Radebe has drawn on memories of his childhood to create a new TVC for Cadbury that will tug on South Africa’s heartstrings.

Brand engagement and the seniors' market: golden truths about the golden years
13/05/2019 - 11:19
It’s no secret that we live in a youth-obsessed society. This is perhaps no more evident than in the contemporary branding, media, marketing, and entertainment industries. Page through any mainstream publication, peruse the advertising screened on prime-time television or consider the media personalities that are held in the highest regard to see just how much youthfulness is lauded. Even from a strategic perspective, there is hardly a brand in existence today that is not affording consideration to attracting and engaging the “youth market”.

Motivated employees drive business success
13/05/2019 - 09:26
With only 15 percent of employees globally engaged with their jobs, according to Gallup, executives are finding it tough to get people more actively involved in the business. The days of simply doing a job and getting paid for it are long gone. In the digital workplace, employee engagement is vital to boosting productivity, reducing staff churn, and improving customer satisfaction and company culture.

The importance of BC and DR
10/05/2019 - 15:44
According to Shaun Searle, Country Manager - African Regions at Redstor, organisations need to realise that business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) entail entirely different strategies with both being vital to keeping a business operational in a globally competitive marketplace.