How Savvy Brands Can Stay Relevant in the Experience Era

Posted by Mitch Duckler
Staying Relevant in the Experience Era: Key Steps

Disrupt from within by embracing constant innovation to maintain relevance, remain competitive, and meet ever-shifting customer expectations.

It’s hard to argue that the customer experience gap isn’t currently one of the most significant challenges in brand marketing. In today’s on-demand economy, our tolerance and our attention span as consumers is significantly shorter than ever before. Customers desire not only personalized content, but also experiences that are frictionless and based on where they are and what they’re doing in the moment.

Insights from Deloitte’s February 2018 CMO Survey showed customer priorities are expected to continue shifting from “superior product quality” to “excellent service” across industries in the next 12 months. Although business leaders say CX is a top-two differentiator for their business, just half of them said they perform well in it.

Review your brand promise

Align your business practices and offerings with that brand promise. Empower your teams with the skillsets and tools to deliver on your commitment to customers at all times.

Create and use an integrated platform to manage customer profiles, incorporating new channels and technologies as they emerge. Identify your customer segments and pinpoint the most loyal and valuable customers. Use predictive and prescriptive toolsets to understand their loyalty and shifting expectations, then apply that knowledge to create delightful customer experiences.

Reevaluate your value proposition

Is it built around a unique selling proposition (USP) that addresses the needs your competitors aren’t meeting? USP has always been imperative. But in today’s omnichannel world, where brand promotion is often out of a brand’s control, it has never been more critical for brand managers to do the legwork and ensure their brands really do have something fresh and motivating to say and a personality and message that has a chance of cutting through the noise.

Have you articulated how your customer experience should look and feel at every point of engagement in sufficient depth–particularly in digital channels? This typically requires creating brand standards, operating procedures, and manuals that will guide delivery at each customer touchpoint and ensures that employee training focuses on supporting the right behaviors. Failing to do this and reinforce it with persistent communication and monitoring, is likely to result in an inconsistent customer experience that falls well short of your brand promise and your customers’ expectations. 

Utilize customer insight

What do you know and understand about your consumers that your competitors don’t? Great vision based on an in-depth and visceral understanding of what drives buyers within a segment is a powerful source of competitive advantage–it is the source of differentiation and value for any brand. However, many brand managers settle for research that stops well short of this gold mine and fails to reveal subtle nuances in emotional and behavioral response that really drive our brand decisions. So much invaluable information resides within the data cubes, research, and spreadsheets of our data and analytics teams yet it appears that marketers and analysts continue to speak a different language, fail to engage, and leave money on the table.

Ensure a seamless user experience

Are your brand marketing, digital, customer experience and analytics teams engaged in a turf war or paying lip service to each other? Alternatively, are they really collaborating to deliver a tightly defined brand strategy and execution plan?

Unfortunately, as brand strategy consultants, we encounter rivalry and silo-based dysfunctionality all too often, and the impact on the brand’s bottom line is usually easy to see and is recognizable by those within the organization—yet it persists in undermining brand performance. In such a volatile and precipitously shifting digital environment, flexibility, and response time are usually the victims. 

The one word that perhaps characterizes the impact of digital on brand management is ‘change’; fast, furious and unstoppable. The bar has never been higher for brands. To truly differentiate, brand marketers need real-time experience data; the brands that are the most successful today obsess over product and customer experience.

“If you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevance even less.” That’s what former U.S. Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki said, and it applies to all of us regardless of our business.

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