Supercharging your brand alignment strategy

Gary - 28 th June 2017

Aligning the needs of the customer and your business isn’t all that easy. But when done correctly, it’s definitely worth the effort.

It’s the difference between making a powerful, lasting impact on your market to differentiate your brand, and being a total flop in the eyes of your people and your customers.

And this is why it is such a pivotal point in the Brand Alignment Approach.

Besides acting as the driving force behind significant moments of transformation, Aligning brings this entire approach to life throughout the experiences you build.

We recently discussed how to hit the brand alignment sweet spot, and how to balance the needs of the customer with the needs of the business, all while keeping the cost of improving at the heart of what you do.

We established the platform you need to build a well-articulated business plan and now we’re going to take a closer look at two key assets needed to execute it…

Brand Basics

Getting your basics right is the foundation needed to deliver a truly effective and differentiated brand.

In short, they are those essential experiences that customers expect you to deliver. But they should be delivered in a recognisably branded way.

Think about the purely operational and generic elements customers expect from you day in, day out. These are brand basics.

But not many businesses successfully deliver them, or do so consistently.

It is brand critical to build these basics into your envisioned customer experience map, right from the start.

Forget the ‘wows’ and the ‘magic moments’ - for now. Instead, concentrate on powering up your brand basics and demonstrating that you really care about your customers.

After all, done well, they can quickly become your point of difference. For example, let’s discuss Premier Inn…

They - without a doubt - nail their brand basics by keeping brand at the heart of what they do. They are a living, breathing example of delivering a universal customer experience - in this case, a good night’s sleep - in an on brand way.

Their Good Night Guarantee is simple, scalable, consistent and most of all, aligns to the brand. All of which help towards delivering financial return to the business.

You might have to head back into the jungle, but supercharged by facts and valuable insights, you’ll be able to recognise and deliver on those purely operational moments your customers expect.

Once these are present at every touchpoint, you’ll be ready to transform your brand with brand amplifiers…   

Brand Amplification

Brand people have been consumed by the overwhelming buzz of ‘magic’ or ‘wow’ moments over the past few years. But why?

What are they?

What impact do they have?

What do they give back to the business?

Magic and wow moments - or, as we call them, brand amplifiers - describe those few stand out moments within the customer’s journey where the brand can impress.

But again, this should be done in its own, unique way.

Choosing the right moments is key. Otherwise, you’ll be left with indulgent interactions that often have very limited longer term value for your business.

Identify your opportunities to innovate - those few really special moments - and use them to build powerful and worthwhile brand amplifiers.

These moments should only really exist if they amplify your brand, inspire your customer to become a part of the communication effort, and deliver tangible business benefits.

They need to leave positive, lasting impressions and create great memories that your customers want to share.

Fuelled by facts, not fluff

The entire Brand Alignment Approach  is based upon gaining real, meaningful insight into the business. It’s the perfect approach for the customer experience realist - and this stage is no different.

Armed with insights and knowledge from the right people, at the right level, mapping out your brand amplifiers should be straightforward.

Remember, your front of house - the people who interact with the customer every day - know more about your customer experience than you do. Use them to make a list of all the brand basics and brand amplifiers you could have.

Break rules and think creatively.

Once you have your list - and this could be hundreds - narrow them down to the ones you should be delivering.

“Verify what is most important to customers and also validate these with costings.” - Rosie Du Rose, Executive Director of Operations at Home Group

Stick to the evidence based approach you’ve adopted throughout this approach and test the envisioned experience with your customers.

  • Bring these moments to life using text or digital prototypes

  • Probe your customers and dig deep into what does and doesn’t work for them

  • Listen to what they have to say and develop further

They might be brutal. They might not agree with your people. They might think your ‘brand amplifiers’ are actually ‘brand basics’.

They might rip apart your envisioned customer experience.

But everything they have to say is valuable; you’ll only be able to build an experience that is both compelling and motivating if you collect, listen and act on the facts.

Onwards and upwards

Over the past few weeks we’ve been guiding you through the Brand Alignment Approach. So far it’s given you:

  • The evidence and data to see the balance between customer and business needs

  • The brand vision which offers the lens from which you can build the customer experience and informs you what to do and what not to do throughout the CX

  • The envisioned customer experience, designed by the right people at the right level

And now add to this the brand basics to help you meet the customer’s basic needs at each moment of their multi-channel customer experience - and the brand amplifiers which support real innovation and differentiation.

With all of this in your back pocket, you are equipped and ready to lay the groundwork with moments that will amplify your brand, inspire your customers and promise tangible benefits to your customers and your business.

Backed by a strong team and empowered by a clear objective, you’re in a fierce position to build a well-articulated strategic plan…

  • Bring it to life through film, illustration and storytelling

  • Help the senior team envisage how the programme is going to maintain momentum

  • Highlight how successes will be celebrated

  • Show how learnings will feed back into the improvement process

Remember, this is a continuous movement.

It’s a learning process that never rests, because your customers never rest. They evolve, changing their habits and expectations - and brands must do the same…

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Gary is the chairman and one of the original founders of Brand Vista. With over 20 years of brand experience both on the client and agency side he loves finding out what customers and consumers are really thinking and turning this knowledge into compelling brand propositions that succeed in the real world.
Find out more about Gary