One of the most sustainable competitive advantages today is a positive customer experience. Organizations that have mastered the ability to design and implement a consistent, intentional customer experience, one that delivers on a brand promise, will outperform competitors and strengthen customer trust.
A branded customer experience® is a designed experience—one that is intentionally differentiated from other brands through consistent delivery of a well-articulated value proposition across all customer channels. The customer experience brings a brand to life. A customer experience is the result of interactions that occur through a series of steps, encounters and moments along a journey that influence a customer’s relationship with, and perception of, a brand or organization. Key moments of truth exist along the journey where customers may pause and evaluate the experience or make a crucial decision, giving them an opportunity to form or change an opinion about a company or band. These defining moments present ideal occasions to reinforce a brand promise.
A brand promise communicates to customers what they can expect at every interaction. The promise is reflected in ‘brand cues’ provided to customers throughout their experience, either overt or subtle, to reinforce the brand. Customer experience design is the process by which these brand cues are created and orchestrated as part of the experience to deliver on the promise. The brand promise is a reflection of the organization’s vision for its brand. A brand vision is the articulation of the core values that are inherent in what the brand stands for. It sets the identity of the brand in specific ways that produce tangible benefits for the customer. Senior leaders must have a vivid description of the brand vision and communicate it in fundamental ways that resonate with employees and customers alike.
The brand vision and promise must be reflective of not only in the rationale components of a product or service but also its emotional components. Customer experience is defined as how customers perceive interactions with your organization—what they think happened and how they feel about what happened. Behavioural scientists today recognize the impact of emotions and our ‘feelings’ on decision-making—what we feel, think and do as customers.
Scientific research reveals that over 90 percent of our mental activity is subconscious. Our actions are generally intuitive and we think more often in images, not words. We feel before we think, and we buy emotionally. In fact, our emotional responses happen five times more quickly than our sensory or rational thinking brain. Customer experience practitioners must consider both the rationale and emotional components when designing the ideal branded customer experience.