Once upon a time, drug companies couldn’t advertise. Those companies marketed to physicians, not to the end user. Now television ad rotations are heavy with pharmaceutical ads – many of which not only list possible side effects but also include the sentence, “Don’t take this drug if you are allergic to it.” Seldom is a statement of the obvious SO incredibly obvious.
At the risk of sounding like a drug commercial, forgive me for disclaiming the following: Lots of branded customer experiences fail because of limited brand clarity, not because of inherently flawed experiences. In other words, you can’t deliver a branded customer experience without a brand.
Allow me to explain.
Successful brands involve five components:
- Value Creation
- Value Delivery
- Sustainable Revenue Generation
If you don’t have something of value to deliver to the marketplace, go back to the drawing board.
If you can’t find a way to get the attention of a large enough target market you are doomed.
If you garner attention but can’t get enough people to hand over money for your product, you had a trendy concept but not a viable enterprise.
If you get plenty of people to buy, but they don’t get the value you promised, you will see churn.
Finally, if you don’t make enough money to support the enterprise, you have a hobby, not a business.
Branding involves declaring and maintaining ones’ uniqueness through the first four components of business (value creation, marketing, sales, and value delivery) so that you can generate the fifth, which is revenue needed to sustain your business.
Most of my consulting services involve making sure a brand’s unique value proposition (UVP) is delivered throughout the customer journey from brand consideration to the point where customers happily return or refer others back to the business.
So, let’s take the next several blog posts to talk about brand and brand storytelling through all phases of your business.
What are they saying?
If a brand is what people say about you when you are not around, it is imperative that you know what you want them to say so you can communicate that message in all that you do.
It is equally imperative that your business attracts, hires, and retains team members who are capable of delivering experiences that will have your customers sharing your brand essence with their family and friends.
Let’s start with the optimal tweet.
Imagine seeing a tweet that begins with #yourcompanyname. What would you like the remaining 270 or so characters to ideally read? That is your brand essence.
From my vantage point, brand essence is shaped by your company’s:
- Products – Companies I’ve worked with and written about have reached a level where their brand becomes synonymous with the products that they deliver (e.g., People say, “Let’s go get a Starbucks.” When they really mean, “Let’s go get a coffee.”)
- Culture – For example, Zappos quirky culture which is “powered by service” shapes customer perceptions of the brand.
- Personality – These are the human-like attributes reflected in a company’s behavior. It is a designed approach to brand expression. As is the case with individuals, brand personality attracts some and repels others. It is the voice of the brand – the degree to which a brand consistently projects a set of characteristics such as an archetype. Archetypes can be thought of as characters that have played an enduring role in storytelling (e.g., the hero or rebel).
It’s been said that every company has an established brand – some have come about theirs by default while others have done so by design. I encourage my clients not only to think about how they how they want to be known but to also do honest introspection on ways in which they can credibly be known.
I might want to be viewed as athletic and artistic, but my core competencies make that a fantasy, not an aspirational brand objective.
I also spend time helping clients understand how they can distinguish themselves from competitors through brand personality, culture, brand behavior, product array, and brand presentation (logo, tag line, etc.). Ultimately, brand distinctions and aspirations must pass the CRUD test! They must be Credible, Relevant, Unique, and Durable.
More on brand identity and brand storytelling in the next blog.
For now, if you’d like a tool on how to drive optimal brand differentiation, reach out to us to set-up a time to talk as we’d be honored to help you along this noble journey.
Here’s to reading more tweets from customers suggesting you’ve delivered your optimal branded customer experience.
Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.
Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli
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