Brand experience is sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioural responses evoked by brand-related stimuli. Such stimuli appear as part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments.
A brand is not what a company says it is but what its customers feel about it. Drawing on executive interviews and over 37,000 customer evaluations of 151 brands this is a clear message from the people of Ireland in the *CXi CX survey 2015. The analysis of survey results demonstrates we now live in a culture of experience branding.
We have established that, as a whole, Ireland is lagging behind. We are vastly overpromising and failing to deliver an experience to match. Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of meeting customer’s expectations. If the USA forwards have the ball and are aiming for the goal, the UK are midfield and we are clearly in defence.
As the economic upturn starts to take hold, purse strings are loosened and money is being allocated to marketing and sales activities. However the same cannot be said of the operational sides of businesses. Recession era cost-cutting is still the norm in the production, fulfilment and customer service areas of Irish business. Hence the rift between the ‘story’ and the ‘reality’, resulting in poor brand experience and own goals for business in Ireland.
According to CXi, this problem is amplified by the fact that very often marketing and operations are not talking. In order to align what you say to what you do there must be constant communication between these teams.
The Irish are a well travelled nation and have seen the ‘state-of-the-art’ of how experiences and products are sold and delivered. When they return home they compare Irish experiences to those they have seen abroad and not to the other local experiences. The minority smart brands balance the art of branding with solid business fundamentals. And they reap the associated financial rewards of successful experience branding.
The organisation with the highest rated CX this year, the Credit Union is to it’s very roots an experience brand. It is driven by powerful face to face experiences. Similiarly, *Aldi rose from the embers of recession to rescue a nation economically paralysed. Both came to the assistance of the financially bereft and emotionally shattered. What more impactful brand experience can be offered to an impoverished nation than an assurance that your basic needs will continue to be met? In the same vein *Boots have changed the pharmacy customer experience game, by bringing the pharmacist into the shop and offering extra services normally associated with GP visits, at a knock down price. These brands establish an enviably deep connection with their customers.
This is also true at *Rabo Direct. It’s distinctive brand, it’s customer oriented brand values and its focus on consistent brand delivery across every touchpoint, differentiates them from the other banks. Their brand personality is evident throughout in their friendly tone of voice. What the brand stands for is delivered every day across channels and communications. These brands actively manage the customer experience to deliver consistent brand messages, feelings and perceptions across every touchpoint.
Companies such as these teach us how to harness customer experience to drive commercial performance. They provide engaging brand experiences for their customers and this is what Irish companies must do when competing in the new age of brand experience.
*CXi CX survey 2015 results available in the CX Ireland Report here http://cxi.ie/cexi-report
*Aldi came 4th in the CXi CX 2015 survey
*Boots came 5th in the CXi CX 2015 survey
*Rabo Direct came 6th in the CXi CX 2015 surveyTweet