Recently, it’s become increasingly clear to me that sales and marketing executives are both facing the same challenge: differentiation.
Because crowded markets and increasing commoditization have made it harder and harder to compete on attributes and qualities, thus driving a movement toward the brand experience as the new competitive frontier.
However, the problem I’ve noticed is that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what “brand” and “brand experience” actually are. Rather than focusing on color, logo, or tagline, companies should realize that the brand exists in the mind of the customer (or potential customer).
Therefore, these experiences – both online and offline – must be coordinated, consistent, and considerate of the specific individual’s time and needs. The catch is that while the solution might be easy to articulate, most companies get the execution completely wrong.
There are the three steps I recommend taking to overcome this challenge and effectively communicate your brand message.
1. Reach across departments
Many brand experience initiatives are doomed to fail because they still operate within the traditional organizational structure of the business, where each separate department looks at the singular experience they deliver and tries to make it as good as possible using their own resources.
This approach is flawed; since the customer doesn’t see their experience with a brand through the lens of separate departments, companies shouldn’t approach it in that way, either. If the piece-parts from different departments don’t converge, the journey breaks as the customer crosses the border into the next adjacent department in the process.
2. Select a leader
Companies should consider appointing a brand experience czar or executive council that is responsible for correlating the analysis and improvement of experience throughout the entire customer journey. The ideal result: coordinated elements that can be implemented quickly, measured easily, and integrated seamlessly.
3. Encourage participation
True success only arrives when every single employee identifies as customer-centric. Attaining this achievement requires each employee to know the customer and the customer’s journey, to know their role in the journey, and to understand the KPIs that map back to customer success.
When you put the pieces of this action plan together, you end up with a customer-centric brand experience strategy that is broken down into manageable pieces, coordinated across the entire business, and that involves and engages every employee.
For more on branding best practices, see How To Build Better Customer Loyalty With Authenticity.