The Brand Alignment Approach is about looking at the stuff that really matters, and building a robust business case based on deep and meaningful insights.
There’s no fluff. No nonsense.
It’s a realist’s approach to becoming more customer-oriented and paves the way to business success through your customer experience.
And this starts with Exploring; building a strong business case that defines the journey ahead and gives executives a reason to back the initiative from the off.
To do this, you must listen to your customers, your team and the data. Face the hard truth - what do people really think about your business?
Today I want to focus on customers and how you can discover insights from outside of your business...
Insights from the outside world
Every business has access to a sea of opinions about what customers think, why they buy, and why they stay loyal (or not).
But this is often based upon little real insight.
Instead, you should be pragmatic.
To stimulate customer experience and brand alignment from a realist’s point of view, listen to the facts and diminish the myths about your brand’s relationship with its customers.
In other words, you need to go into the jungle.
Get inside the heads of your customers and discover new and wonderful insights.
Take a look at the bigger picture
Going into the jungle refers to going deep into the lives of customers and finding out the right information that lets brands see the bigger picture…
Away from traditional research methodologies, the jungle will challenge you to take risks in how you gain insights into:
What your customers are doing
Who or what sets their benchmarks
How technology influences or drives their life
How they escape
What they say they do
What they actually do
The last two points being particularly important because animals operate differently in the zoo than they do in the wild!
It is an effective way to reveal real world insights into customer behaviour, and an inspiring approach to the Exploring stage.
But remember to dig deep and take risks. Don’t just rely on what your customers are telling you - get involved and look at the brand from their point of view.
You need to understand what they are experiencing - both online and off - and how this shapes their vision of you.
Inspiring jungle stimulants
To help our clients take risks, get inside the brand and work out where it could go, we use a handful of stimulants.
A picture can paint a thousand words.
Create a story about your brand that encapsulates the business case, and use pictures to bring it to life. Visualise it and allow people to express their feelings in a much more emotive way.
After all, we live in a world of people who love, respond and engage with all types of media.
This technique has been borrowed from the world of child psychology. It helps people articulate complex brand relationships in a simple and effective way.
Start by drawing out the customer journey and the relationship customers have with your brand, and then go back and question everything… Why is this the case and what does it mean?
Understanding how your audience learn and absorb information is essential for every business.
But how do you find this information out?
If your key audience is children and or parents, an easy and effective method is to speak to and work with teachers throughout the brand alignment programme. You’ll be given an insightful look into a modern child-led learning environment - an extremely revealing and valuable opportunity for operational teams.
If you’re struggling to work out why your customers react in certain ways to your brand and different touch points, speak to a psychologist.
Working closely with a professional will add valuable, scientific understanding to your insights and help you evidence your business case.
Every brand has advocates and brand sceptics.
Observing how the two interact often triggers innovative and creative conversations internally, as it sparks new viewpoints on the brand and its experience.
Pay attention to how the advocates ‘sell’ your business to sceptics, and how they respond to this.
Brand Vista in the jungle
This entire concept is about digging deep, further than before, to access real insights.
For a camping brand, we wanted to find out what is so compelling about living outdoors. To do so, we needed to understand the real meaning of ‘outdoors’ to those who loved and lived in it. So we spoke to an around-the-world yachtsman.
To learn more about the key touch points for a distribution company, we became a parcel for the day - travelling from touch point to touch point to identify anything causing friction.
It is not about fluffy feel-good exercises. It is about making changes that spark real, tangible value to the business.