It’s all about the brand at the end of the day. We see very strong brand guidelines within companies, but they crumble. Do they crumble because of the customer?
Let’s have deeper look into what’s Brand Management about. It has different directions and the focus can differ from brand to brand. We see 5 main directions.
The brand will be seen as an integral part of a complex system which integrates differen elements. This includes potential customers, employees, the corporate management as well as the different markets capital, labour and opinion. Target is to change and shape coherent different aspects like corporate identity, brand mission, puplic relation or corporate image to reach a possitive peerception through all markets.
The brand is will be seen as a bunch of benefit of value and quality features. Typical customer benefit, quality features of the products as well as the USPs will be communicated because certain customer groups are focusing on valence, longevity and product features. They only request products who fits into this requirements.
It is believed that self and external perception is a key element of brand management. The focus is on the customer perception. He will commit on the brand if the brand will be seen as authentic, attraktiv or innovativ. To reach this comompanies will try to build mental structures and memo values. Thiswill be reached through a familar acting (corporate identity) or a special mission (corporate mission) which the company fullfills.
Differentiate from competitors through dedicated values, a targeted communtion and corporate behavior (behaivioural branding) to emphasize intangible assets as a point of reference.
This is focussing on market and competitors to focus on differentiation with he own portfolio. Such compes will typicy act specific and will be more attraiv through this for customers. To do so it is important to implement this kind of brand management through all levels within the company.
Brand management is mainly focused on the brand and less on the customer. Wrong? Yes and no. It is always about “implementing” something into the customer instead of looking into his interests, needs and pains. There is less focus on helping customer on the point where he is. It is just about building the right point for the brand.
On the other side we have Customer Experience Management (#CXM) which is placing the customer in the center. This is shaping the brand around the customer, not vice versa. Compared with Brand Management which has several different directions, Customer Experience Management has just one direction.
Brand messaging is more or less just clapping on the own shoulder and saying: "We are the best". Personalization must relevant on a personal (1:1) level. Relevant at the right time and place with the right information (content). Personalization ist't any longer saying "Hello Andrea(s)" in a newsletter.
Customers don't want to addopt any longer on a brand because the brand is giving them a good feeling. The switch from one brand to another is getting quicker and quicker. We are getting more and more compettiors and products & services are getting more and more comparable... so the expectations are growing.
Just to give an example. As we know, the automotive industry is fighting for people not only 18 years or older. Even junger people are interesting for them. The decission if they like Audi, BMW or Mercedes is done years before they have a driving licence. Often they keep this decission for the rest of their live.
One friend of me is a big fan of Audi. He is using speed cruise control in his car when he is driving on a highway. Once a day he got a Mercedes from his employer. This car have had also the speed cruise control but also a limiter which is setting the max speed. If he is driving in city he can a accelerate and slow down manualy but he never would accelerate higher then set speed. If 50 km/h is allowed, you set it exactly this speed to avoid getting a ticket.
This friend told me then he would never buy a car from now on without a limiter, so no Audi which hasn't such a limiter.
Using the limiter was such a great experice for him that he was throwing away his preferences. As we see expectations are growing while the behavior and and loyality is changing. The speed of this change is growing.
The title is saying everything. We all know this 3 phases. What a brand needs to to is give everone the rigtime and placehe right information... depending if he is just interested in a new product or if he has a need or pain.
Customer Eperience Management is taking place at all these 3 staged also the stage before and after.
Interest can be developed and after someone bought a car for example he is maybe interested /douring summer time) to buy a top-box maybe... and if it's getting this interest is changing to a need or pain.
Many marketing channels are just a one way communicaion... from the brand to the customer. This has changed. First of all through channels like social or apps, but also through data people share. This is an indirect communication.
Communication is just one part, there is much more which is influencing the customer. They get in contact with our products & services, they read reviews, talk with friends, etc.
If we want to understand the customer we shouldn't only focus on our understand through some channels about his interest, need, pain. What we need is to understand what is stimulating him. Here we talk about physical, cognitive and emotional stimuli.
So let's change our approach from a one way communication to a two way holistic interaction.
Trust is the key element to build an experience which must be premium, connected and personalized… and it is based on logic, authenticity and empathy. We interact with our customers through marketing, client services, products & services and more.
What do you think is the most important common ground you should focus on? Is it the common message, the strategy, the right placement (time, place person) or… ?
I have written an entire series about trust with 4 articles:
- Goal & Elements of Trust
- Trust within Marketing
- Trust within Vision, Mission and Values… which are the base for the Strategy
- Trust within You
One word about the often used “Customer Journey” and the “Funnel”. This are constructs used by marketing to idealize it. In real there is not only one journey, there are millions. Each customer is acting different and he is jumping forward, backward and crosswise. Brian Solis named it: “CX is absolutely vital. Customers are most likely hacking your journey to work for them or worse, exploring more intuitive journeys of your competitors.” 1)https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/funnel-doesnt-care-customers-only-cares-brian-solis/ You should read his article “The Funnel Doesn’t Care About Customers; The Funnel Only Cares About The Funnel“
Coming back to Brand Management vs. Customer Experience Management. Two big directions… Are they fighting against each other? If so, who will the winner? Can someone whin such a fight?
For sure there are fighters for each of these directions. If you follow this blog since a while you know which direction is my one. Customer Experience Management is currently getting a huge power but should we throw away everything we have done great in the past within Brand Management? Fore sure not!
Looking into the topics we see that we a often talking about the same, just from a different angle and with a different final goal. Both for example are about trust, it’s just the way reaching it is different. The final goal is growing the brand vs. growing the customer. Long term both goals will save the company revenue stream, but this should be the focus within Brand Management and Customer Experience Management.
Can we do a hard switch from Brand Management to Customer Experience Management?
The answer is no. First of all brand Management is set in mindsets (within marketing departments) and we need to pick people up where they are coming from. They wouldn’t throw away what they have done for many years and do it different now. It’s a transformation and both sides have great advantages, so why not combining them? The wave of CXM is great to implement CXM in mindsets, but the wave will go down and then we need to develop something new with the best out of both.
So whats the next evolution?
Lets see what we have and find a common topic to comb them and stop acting in channels. I have played long time around with cards and the mind mapping technology to visualize it.
What we need is a solution to bring these topics together and build a common experience…. and here we have it:
Solution Experience (#SX) and Solution Experience Management (#SXM) will be the direction of the next decade.
We see the topics Customer, Company, Brand, Market and Competitor. The topics around are not that important, we all know them and can extend them. Some are important and some are the same, these I have named. For the others I have placed placeholder.
Important is the real common solution for these 5 topics and that it is not just a solution with a common denominator. What we need is to build a great experience for all parties with this solution.