Updated: Nov 11, 2019
By: Heroes of Brand and Business Innovation
Gone are the days when companies could use a megaphone to broadcast a message with an attractive promise to build their brand and drive sales. Internet has given rise to an increased transparency and has transferred power into the hands of customers. Companies can no longer get away with poor experiences that are not aligned with the purpose of the brand. In this article, brand and customer experience experts, Åsa and Sofie, give their view on how this has changed the way companies need to interact with their customers to be relevant in the future.
Customers today are competent and engaged. We comment and scrutinize brands in social media in touch points that the company does not control and might not even be aware of. We are no longer passive consumers, but active collaborators or opponents (!). We have power to affect the perception of a brand and thereby, the business of the company! There is a constantly on-going conversation online that affect the perception of the brand.
We listen to each other and we know that we are important. We don’t make purchases without checking the testimonials from other customers. – We put more trust in the referrals from strangers than in commercials from brands. Experiences can spread like wildfire online. Good experiences drive sales and bad reviews cause enormous harm. As pointed out by Brian Solis, experiences that people share have become the most important touch points for branding and purchasing decision:
The experience of your customers defines your reputation on the market. – They become the brand. “Experience is the new brand. Experiences are the new branding”*
We expect companies to listen to us and value our opinions. To see us. To interact with us. And to provide great experiences.
For companies and organisation, this is both the bad news and the good news.
Companies today have less control of how they are perceived. At the same time, they have more opportunities than ever to engage with customers in meaningful and value-creating ways!
People today are constantly bombarded with information, messages, communication, and interactions. This information overload makes it hard for us to make decisions. So a strong brand might never have been more important than today to help us to make decisions. But the way to build a brand has changed radically!
There is a new and exciting world and sooo many new opportunities to take advantage of!
Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your organisation to understand to what extent you have adapted to this exciting new world. All related to things that we believe have changed radically!
What is your response when sales figures drop or churn increases? Do you make another campaign, or do you try to understand where the customer experience fails? Shift the focus of your efforts to the whole experience of your customer in the customer journey. Fix the basic problems and enable emotionally engaging experiences that customers chose to talk about and share with others.
Do you talk to your customers our with them? Do you use traditional media to send one-way messages, or do you engage in conversation with your customers? Increase mindshare through relevant presence when and where it is relevant to your customers. Online as well as IRL!
Do you make the same offer and communication to all you customers? Or do you adapt based on target groups, tribes or situation in the customers’ lives? In a world of endless possibilities and information overload, relevance is gold. If you try to be everything for everyone, you end up being nothing for noone.
Do you optimise or innovate? What is the main focus of your organisation – to sell what you have already put on the market? Or to continuously develop and improve services, products and experiences to stay relevant for your customers? Involve your customers in the development projects to ensure that you solve the right problem in the right way. Co-creation is the new black.
Stop trying to make people want things. Instead, focus on making things that people want. - John V Wiltshire
Are your main concern how to deliver the next quarterly report? Or how to deliver on your organisations purpose of being? The myriad of touch points with your brand are impossible to control. Only with shared values and a passion for your customer experience will you be able to ensure that you enable the right experiences for your customers and your brand.
How do you talk about your customers? As human beings, or as transactions or data points in an excel sheet? Your customers are your best marketing channel, your best collaborators in your development teams and your best sources of insights! Relate to them as equal parties of the relationship. Build trust through solving their problems, fulfilling their needs and engaging in meaningful conversation about things that matter for them.
Experiences are the new branding and it is not the issue of the marketing and communication department! The focus of branding needs to be on the total customer experience that ranges across all the touchpoints where the customer interacts with the brand. This makes it everyone’s business and the ability to adapt will decide the future of your business.
Judgement day is here and the customer is the judge.
Heroes of Brand and Business Innovation aims to help companies grow in a better way. Our core business is business and brand development within digital change. Our focus is to help companies with HOW they can develop and grow better based on the company's specific conditions and current situation. Whether we make big or small efforts for a customer, we always work from a holistic perspective - all parts of a company must work together to create sustainable solutions. Our efforts alternate between ongoing advisory services, workshops or to execute change.