If every aspect of your customer experience does not support, or even exceed, the promise of the brand then you’re limiting your business and its growth.

In 2008 a Chicago based marketing man Jonathan Salem Baskin wrote a best selling book: “Branding only works on cattle”.  The argument in the book was that if you focussed solely on building a brand in a silo, separately from customer service and pricing, then you would never optimise the full commercial potential of that brand.

Jon and I followed up with my first co-authored book, “Tell the truth, honesty is your most powerful marketing tool”, in 2012, with dozens of case studies proving the efficacy leveraging the brand power across the whole marketing experience. 

In 2023 the necessity of making sure that every aspect of a user experience is easy and smooth is more crucial than ever.

In fact, the better the brand impression the lower people’s tolerance of substandard experience.

Let’s use an analogue example to illustrate this.  I really like reading paper magazines occasionally over breakfast.  There’s lots of screens in my life, sometimes its good to have something to spill your coffee on without cataclysmic consequences.  I love the FT and its always there on my phone as a constant companion, but it’s good to be broad in information gathering.

Last summer, after buying a copy at a travel hub and enjoying it, we made the slightly anachronistic decision to subscribe to the print edition of a prestigious UK current affairs magazine.  Which we enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table.  Then the postal strike happened and the magazine stopped coming.  Weeks later it still hasn’t turned up, and  the subscriptions department has (according to their latest email exchange) lost all our details.  They’ve suggested I look at the packaging from the last issue and send them a number from a corner of the envelope.  Unfortunately, since I had no idea that the last magazine was the last I would see, I failed to preserve the envelope and it is long since in the recycling bin.  In fact, I imagine that by now it has been recycled into something new and exciting.  (Perhaps a paper hat?) Had I known I would of course have kept the packaging with the reverence due any such relic.

Anyway, as you can tell, the whole thing is more annoying because I hold the product and the brand in high regard.  Its an intelligent read.  I expect the subs team to know what they can do to solve things.  Sadly, it may soon be farewell to the whole experience.  Had this been a more frivolous magazine, Private Eye perhaps, or Viz, then my expectations would be much lower.

If every aspect of your customer experience does not support, or even exceed, the promise of the brand then you’re limiting your business and its growth.  As Andy Nairn writes here, this includes how your employees are feeling.  Not just the ones that are customer facing but all the ones with friends and families to whom they will report just how they are feeling about the workplace (ie all of them).

Perhaps if someone had picked up the phone to me from the subs team it would have been better?  Perhaps the editor could have got in touch?  After all he “sent” an email when I took out the sub.  People have a lower tolerance of poor digital experiences as this IPA study proved where IBM’s former partner Bridget van Kranlingen commented: “The last best experience that anyone has anywhere, becomes the minimum expectation for the experience they want everywhere”.  Not just want, expect.  Especially from a brand with high quality associations.   

Every brand needs to take every opportunity to optimise and drive customer value with a joined up experience to fulfil the expectations driven by the best brands.  Any siloes, whether they originate in legacy agencies or internal politics, will risk your brand losing out to the competition.  A token effort to bridge siloes doesn’t work.  Organising and building for one customer experience is crucial.

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