Guest Post: A Different Perspective on Customer Experience

This is the first of what will be many different perspectives on Customer Experience.

Today we have a post by a very accomplished brand expert.  He is currently leading his own firm (Brandfields) where he works with leading clients creating brands that connect people and companies.  Prior he was the Creative Director for re-branding UPS and branding Air Canada, as well as several high-profile projects while working with FutureBrand.

He is also my twin brother, Diego Kolsky.

Time to stop promising and start delivering

Despite all the talk about the brand supporting customer-centric relationships, most companies still use their brand as a promise of delivery, and not as the delivery of service itself.

The fact that brand has transcended its long-established roles of reflecting a company’s identity and becoming a platform for integrating communications has been widely accepted. It should be hard to justify then, much less defend, marketing campaigns that use the brand simply to make noise or boast claims. Companies should embrace the larger role brand can play in creating new and richer connections. How?

By expressing a compelling value proposition, not a vision. Many brands are still aimed at communicating a competitive position. Focusing on customers means taking an extra step in understanding how a company’s “strategic advantages” can be used to enable its customers’ aspirations and start a meaningful, rewarding relationship.

By using media to fully activate the brand, not only generate visibility. The speed and scope of change in how people connect with brands demands a thorough evaluation of marketing practices. In a market in which customers see  content as confirmation of value, companies must look at both traditional and non-traditional channels as opportunities to make the brand available, and put it in motion.

By aligning all resources to deliver an experience, not just to sell.  Those that succeed in building relationships understand that the core of their business has expanded to include services and programs aimed to engage customers, and use resources and channels accordingly.

The fundamentals of branding still apply. The best ingredient for building richer and lasting customer relationships resides inside the company, and customers still trust best those that deliver ingenious solutions to their needs with an attitude they can identify with.

What’s changed is the context. Brand is the message, media is the stage and experience is the currency. When working together, they make engaging with customers  the first step to delighting them.

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