Holla Agency CEO and first time author Alex Allwood was joined by four leading industry experts to discuss customer experience as a marketing discipline at an industry event in Sydney this week. The event marked the launch of her new book Customer Experience is the Brand.
The author shared her thoughts on customer experience being the new agenda for marketers and described how customer experience is the next stage in the evolution of the brand. To get in the game, marketers will need to focus on developing an organisation-wide commitment to brand/customer experiences where customer needs are consistently met, brand promises are kept, and every touchpoint in the customer journey delivers a positive experience.
“Today, the modern marketer needs to pay closer attention to the disparities in what the brand promises and what customers experience. The problem these days is that brands are great at creating promises in their ads and marketing – but in reality they’re not that great at keeping them. At stake are branded moments that fail to satisfy customer needs, giving them opportunities for amplifying their disappointment” Allwood said.
Speaker Errol Flanagan, Strategy Director at The Holla Agency, explored how purpose and authenticity helps brands to lead and inspire, how culture plays a significant role and how a strong sense of brand purpose can galvanise and inspire an organisation to translate bold ideas into memorable experiences.
Stanford Swinton from Bain & Company discussed how customer advocacy has moved from a balanced scorecard, metrics-based discipline into a system for listening to, learning from, and acting on customer feedback at all levels in an organization with a view to the past, present and future of customer advocacy.
Nielsen’s John Price shared the latest and unpublished Nielsen research. He stressed the importance of engagement, social connection and personalisation technology are key to enhancing digital customer experience. Additionally, having a clear understanding of the complementary use of multiple screens provides greater understanding of the context in which your customers experience your brand’s digital footprint.
Marketing Director of Ansell, Mitchell Mackey described how today, customer experience is the only sustainable competitive advantage. It requires a sophisticated, cross-functional orchestra of superior processes, business technology and engaged people aligned behind a common purpose and vision. The outcome must be a flowing, constraint-free ecosystem that generates real business value in the form of engaged and trusting customers who are willing to recommend and invest in your brand. Critically, they rate your company as easy to do business with. What they buy into is driving what they buy.
The book, due for release mid-July, sets out seven pillars as the foundation for building strong connections to deliver customer experience: brand purpose, organisational alignment, customer journey mapping, keeping the promise, technology, co-creation with customers and experience management. The book also discusses marketing of the experience including: mobile, media, personalisation, content and social.
“As the experience economy evolves, brands will shift their focus from product to customer-first where customer satisfaction leading to advocacy becomes a whole-of-business approach – this will be the point where customers will be recognised as the most important asset and their advocacy will determine the health of the brand.” said Allwood in her closing remarks.