By Mathilde Lauriau-Tedeschi for strategies.fr
For many years, the definition of a brand essentially amounted to a promise, but what is a promise worth if it is not kept, which is to say, if we fail to deliver it through customer experience and services? With the advent of digital, trust in brands has waned and customers are much more demanding in terms of transparency and the standards they expect, so more than ever brand promises must translate into tangible experience.
Nowadays, “a brand is what it does”. It is much more about what it delivers than the promises it makes, and experience has become the essential yardstick. Experience is the route to keeping brand promises and enabling brands to emerge in a highly digitalised world.
It is through focusing on their brand experience that new companies have succeeded in ‘disrupting’ long-established sectors to become leading players in their chosen domain. And the key to their success is you and me, which is to say their ability to take our expectations and our frustrations into account. These emerging businesses understand that the standards of service we demand are always based on our best recent experiences. At Fjord, we call these ‘liquid expectations’ because they flow between the various categories and transcend them.
So it would seem that there are two components: a focus on a customer experience which is fluid, relevant and engaging, and a focus on the brand which is restricted to storytelling. In which case, the danger clearly lies in separating the two approaches. One approach is seen in innovative brands like Uber, Netflix and Airbnb, which have positioned themselves on the experience they offer, while the other is seen in well-established brands whose image is founded on their roots, values and identity.
Both new and established brands still have work to do in order to reconcile these two approaches. If digital companies focus on the experience while neglecting the brand, they run the risk of creating a generic, non-distinctive experience which a new player on the block will soon surpass. Working on one’s brand is the best way of developing customer loyalty and preference as well as forging a reputation which will see the company through a difficult period.
If established brands ignore user experience, they are exposing themselves to disruption and a lack of relevance and they are also missing out on an opportunity for genuine digital transformation, because resolving the new problems faced by their customers inevitably involves operating in a flexible and agile way. The latest BrandZ study conducted in the United Kingdom confirms this: by developing their ability to make people’s lives easier through new technologies, established brands will continue to be relevant and appreciated.
Read the full article on strategies.fr.