Relationship Marketing: Why Are Marketing and Customer Experience Strategies Often In Two Conflicting Organizational Boxes?
Customers can engage with brands in more ways and places than ever before. As a result customer expectations are higher than ever. We expect consistent and continuous products and services with instant access on any device.
We often find branding/marketing and customer experience strategies in two conflicting organizational boxes.
-Branding, or the marketing department, is often focused on delivering messages about the brand employing marketing and communication strategies to build consumer expectations.
-The customer experience is focused on delivering the customer experience, primarily through service.
We believe that marketing is about what the brand ‘is’ and customer experience about what the brand ‘does’. If the customer experience is where the brand comes alive physically, emotionally and virtually in its interactions with the customer, shouldn’t the two be part of the same DNA strand? It’s important to tell a cohesive and organic story; and the customer experience needs to stay true to that story, consistently across all touch points.
“Less than less than 20% of companies use their brand as the base for their customer experience strategy.”
This offers organizations the opportunity to more closely align brand and customer experience and to alleviate any issues that arise from a disconnect between the expectations set by your brand and the experience that it delivers.
Brand or Branded Experience?
A branded customer experience is where the brand’s essence, promise and values come alive through its customer experience. Customer experience delivers on expectations with a crafted framework so that the experience that customers encounter stays true to the brand.
A branded customer experience goes a step further where the experience itself becomes unique and leaves a lasting impression. This positive customer experience becomes a source of competitive differentiation.
Aligning Your Brand with the Customer’s Experience.
There are some marketers who are not yet committed to delivering the brand through its customer experience. There is a belief that consumers are to be ‘influenced’ through marketing communications as opposed to the customers brand perceptions being an outcome of the customer experience.
The degree to which this last point is true can be determined by these questions.
– Is your brand delivering on its brand promise to customers through your customer experience?
– How and where do your customers interact with your brand?
– What do they say about it?
– How do they feel about your brand and the experience that it delivers?
– Is the experience the same at any point in time, at any touch point?
– How would customers describe the customer experience themselves?
– How would customers explain the promises that your brand is making to them?
– How does this fit with the core brand values?
– Is the brand consistently represented through the behavior of people?
To align your brand and your customer through the experience, companies should look to align three areas of what we called an ‘Aligned Experience.’
– In depth understanding of the brand and its influence on the overall customer experience
– Intimate understanding of the emotional and rational customer journey
– Integration of and access to all sources of proprietary customer data (structured, unstructured, formal, informal, requested and unrequested)
– Articulation of the brand story and establishment of the brand narrative to be told through the customer experience
– Translation of the brand promise into experience with principles and rules
– Optimization and improvement of the experience based on customer value that follows these rules
– Consistent delivery at each touch point
– Collaboration of marketing, brand, insight, research and the customer experience
– Employees are highly motivated, they mirror the customer and brand promise in their interactions with customers
– A sense that everyone is equally responsible for ‘representing the brand’ both inside and outside of the company
– A high degree of cohesion between brand, products, services, sales, marketing, IT and operations
Two of the greatest assets an organization has are
– Your brand
– Your relationship with customers.
Your brand must understand all aspects the customer experience and continuously motivate both your employees and customers.
“Your brand is a narrative that is evolving across all customer touch points”
In our highly digital world, it is essential that corporate leaders work to align a singular and alluring brand promise with a consistent, satisfying customer experience wherever and whenever your brand meets and interacts with your customer.