Customer experience - a brand’s most powerful communication channel

Andrew S - 24 th November 2015

Many years ago (1999 to be precise) we came across a quote from Archie Norman who was then not a Sir but he did run ASDA. 

He said "The challenging thing in retailing is that your customers experience your product directly. They actually walk through the store for an hour every week. That has much more impact than any amount of media advertising. What they experience in the store is the brand. So stores have to be both internally and externally coherent."

This was one of our original pieces of stimulus that got us really thinking about what the new era of branding looked like as we started off on the Brand Vista adventure, back in 2000, and it is amazing to think that it is even more relevant today than it was back then.

I am reminded that we need to make sure that we never lose sight of the fact that we not only align brands and create irresistible customer experiences but we also seek to create a communication channel through which the teams who deliver the brand help build the brand, by becoming part of the communication channel that is experience.

This morphing occurs when irresistible customer experiences are powered by totally engaged people. Just ask the team at Aintree about the impact the new experience on Ladies Day at the Grand National had, it lit up the social media channels. The team was hand-picked from across every department for their passion and drive as well as their desire to do the right things, differently.

We always say that key to successful Alignment is how we make customer feel, well some of the amazing gestures the front of house teams make for the brand fulfill this role brilliantly. So finding ways of inspiring and engaging them is as brand critical as any other part of the Alignment approach.

Engaged and inspired people become a brand amplifier in the new era as they are right at the very touch points where the brand collides with its customers. If they are uninspired we all know that they can be brand destroyers, so it’s a no brainer! We are all brand builders now.

I sometimes think that we must be careful not just focus on the “process” aspect of the customer experience but find great examples how teams of people have so “got the brand” and ultimately become legends of the brand, like these:

The McDonald’s employee who closed his till to help a disabled man eat

Ritz-Carlton’s exemplary example of customer service with the stuffed giraffe

The LEGOtastic letter that delivered massive social and traditional media coverage 

The Sainsbury’s employee and tiger bread (or giraffe bread, now)


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For more opinions on the world of Brand Alignment, make sure you check out the ‘Food for Thought’ area of the Brand Vista website.

Andrew is the CEO and the other founding partner of Brand Vista. With over 30 years of brand experience both on the client and agency side, what gets him up every morning is a passion for helping clients grow through building genuinely differentiated brands that deliver a customer experience that becomes irresistible.
Find out more about Andrew S