The voice of the consumer has never been so powerful. Social media and online reviewing have given customers and their experiences a phenomenal opinion platform, a value and status that cannot – and isn’t – being ignored.
As consumers we all put certain brands above others and in return expect them to deliver on their promises. That means consistent interaction at every touch point whether it’s on the shop floor, over the phone or online. But how can organisations ensure their employees – or brand representatives – are able to transfer the values of the brand to the customer clearly and confidently?
To understand what’s happening here, Brandworkz joined forces with CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) to conduct an in-depth study amongst 2,200 marketing leaders working within international organisations. Our brief was simple: to explore the challenges, opportunities and leading practices that connect brand promise and customer experience.
So what have we discovered?
Brand experience is promoted but not prioritized
81 per cent of our respondents believe customer experience is a better way to build brand performance than communications. However, the research also showed marketers are no more able, or empowered, to deliver leading brand experiences than leading marketing communications.
Aligning your staff behind your brand is crucial
Beyond the marketing department, within the organisation as a whole, there appears to be a fundamental disconnect between the internal brand culture and their customer-facing brand values. In fact, only 53 per cent of those we asked claimed an internal-external brand alignment in their workplace.
Around half of businesses are operating without a positive alignment with their brand and teams work in isolation to each another. If marketing is busy communicating high quality and sustainability, while the sales team is trying to reach the lowest possible price-point and HR is struggling to find and retain the right talent, it’s no wonder brand values – and customer experience – come unstuck.
Great customer experience is everyone’s responsibility
As customers increasingly dictate the agenda when it comes to their relationship with companies and products, the line between brand, marketing and customer experience has blurred. As these definitions have shifted so too has the question of responsibility.
The marketers we asked clearly support the assertion that delivering the brand promise consistently across the whole customer experience is a truly cross-functional undertaking – every department in the organisation needs to be accountable – not just marketing.
However, there’s a hitch. Over two thirds of marketers believe departments outside of marketing have limited understanding of their role in delivering the intended brand experience, let alone a clear directive for putting brand into practice. As troubling as this is, an organisation-wide stalemate isn’t that surprising when the problem can be traced right up to the top.