The relationship brands have with their customers is becoming more and more complex. Constantly changing technology, shifts in how customers interact with your brand, and the role that brands play in our everyday lives translates into brand behavior that doesn’t always meet customer expectations.
Aligning your brand to your customer’s expectations is priceless. However, if you really want to get there, your customers first have to understand who you are. And before that…you need to know yourself.
Having a well-executed brand strategy is a critical first step for any business that hopes to find relevance with its customers, or differentiate on customer experience. Your brand is what will evoke emotion. It’s what your customers will connect to.
A successful brand strategy is comprised of three important things:
Your Brand Promise
A well-thought-out and clearly communicated brand promise begins to set a customer’s expectations on how they will interact with your business. If your brand promise is poorly defined, inconsistent or poorly delivered, your brand can lose its integrity and customers may lose trust.
Your promise should be measurable, but at the same time, meaningful – both inside the company and out. Employees are responsible for upholding the brand promise and delivering a consistent brand experience to customers. Your employees and customers should be able to put into words the key characteristics.
Consider Geico and its promise that “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance.” Measurable? Absolutely. Meaningful? You bet. Customers can expect that every interaction they have is going to be simple, easy, and will ultimately save them money.
In practice, creating a great brand promises is easy. But keeping your promise and fulfilling those expectations? That can be much harder.
Your Brand Values
Brand values are what you believe as a company. They are what you stand for, and the purpose behind everything you’re working towards. They are the core of your brand, and the center from which everything radiates – your design, your message, and the relationships you build.
Customers want to do business with brands that share their values. If you want to create deep and meaningful relationships that last for years, you need to clearly define your brand values so that your audience can have something to connect to; something to stay loyal to.
Nintendo is one of the nation’s most emotionally connected brands. That’s because it has always stayed true to its brand values of originality, flexibility and sincerity.
To establish your brand values, you need to understand what matters to you and what you stand for. So make a list. But be careful to avoid running with basic values (i.e. reliable, trusted). These don’t evoke emotion or help you stand out from competition, and they won’t help you build loyal customers.
Your Brand Identity
Your brand identity is the device by which you communicate your promise and your values. You may be thinking, “I already have a brand identity. I have a logo.” A logo is not your brand, nor is it your identity. It’s part of your identity, but there’s so much more.
Your identity is multiple elements – logo, typefaces, colors, aesthetics, photography, attitude, voice, and more – all working together to convey what you stand for. It’s the stage for your brand’s personality.
Disney’s brand identity is one of the most recognized in the world. From the logo to the typeface, to the “magic is real” tone of its messaging, you know the brand when you see it. It’s a brand identity with centuries of reinforcement. So much that a simple symbol of three small circles can evoke emotion from customers young and old.
Like you see with Disney, reinforcement and consistency with your brand is as important as the creation of the brand itself. Consistency allows your audience know who you are, what you have to offer, and what they can expect from you. So with any brand identity should also come brand identity guidelines. How is the identity applied throughout a variety of mediums? What are the approved color palettes, fonts and templates? Guidelines will keep the identity of the company cohesive, which makes you familiar and recognizable to your customers.
Creating a great CX starts with you. Your promise, values and identity. What you believe and what you stand for. Once you’ve found yourself, it’s time to get out there and find your customers.
To read more about how to align your brand and CX, take a look at our interactive guide.