How you make customers feel is the brand building tool of the future.

Andrew S - 1 st December 2014

Everywhere we turn we see the subtle changes to the way brands are being built through how they make us feel rather than what they physically do.

I found the new Lidl Christmas leaflet in my wife’s Mail on Sunday this weekend featuring an amazing range of very high value added offers on great wine and food delivered with a simplicity of choice that allows me to see value not as a compromise but as a positive benefit, they feel as if they are one my side and they keep it simple for me in store too.

At the same time the new bosses of two middle ground grocery brands struggle to find a way to make their offers and experiences match our changed demands and behaviours. Their predecessors obviously were keener on delivering short term gain ignoring the long term pain.

Michael O’Leary of Ryanair has finally woken up to the customer driven new world and delivered a 32% increase in profits following its new “nicer” customer experience strategy.

What these successful brands deliver is a customer experience designed to make us feel good about the brands we are transacting because they understand our needs and deliver this when we physically touch them. The better they make us feel the more we will reward them with our money and loyalty. Funny old world really!

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The key to success in aligning the brand thought-out the customer experience requires total commitment by the senior management team, real customer insights, a vision that inspires and excites the people of the business and that can be effectively operationalised.

I would argue that the “challenged” brands are feeling intense pain because they have focused too much on the internal workings of the business and have forgotten what they are really there to do – serve customers. They look for ways of increasing spend per head without delivering anything more for customers. They probably also measure the wrong things – shareholder return vs return on capital employed in Tesco’s case.

Tesco’s new boss seems to be impressing some in the City who are buying back into the brand as it returns to remembering what made it famous, re envisioned for today’s customer. He may well have read Jim Collins excellent study of the fall of famous brands – How The Mighty Fall, there are lessons for us all in this one.

Wherever our brands sit in the brand scape of our sector we must be absolutely clear that to win we must concentrate on how we make our customers feel when they experience our brand.

A little bit of humility and good brand manners go a long way, ask Michael O’Leary about that one.

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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.
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