New Book for Marketers – Customer Experience is the Brand

Alex Allwood Customer Experience

This is a new book that’s been written for marketers and brand leaders who value marketing and have an agenda to champion the customer in their organisation; those interested in not just keeping current but ahead of the curve.

They recognise today’s customers are now in the driver’s seat with everything at their fingertips; they’re global and super connected, with high expectations that their brand interactions will be personalised and device relevant.

These marketers also acknowledge the shift in their customers’ path-to-purchase. This is a time when online brand recommendation is used extensively in the customer journey and unlike customers of the past today’s satisfied customer continues to engage with a brand post purchase, driving a continuous loop of engagement and word-of-mouth recommendation.

In today’s highly competitive and commoditised marketplace customer advocacy is becoming one of the most powerful marketing levers; advocacy has inherent value, representing market share growth, future revenues and profitability.

With this in mind, marketers are perfectly placed to be the custodians of their organisation’s customer experiences; bringing together their expertise in the areas of brand, data, technology, innovation, marketing and digital design to positively influence internal alignment around the customer relationship with the brand.

Customer Experience is the Brand is an introduction to customer experience strategy using ‘The 7 Pillars of Customer Experience’ as the foundation for building strong customer connections and engagement, helping to galvanise customer value creation, strengthen brand preference and create sustained growth.

Great brand experiences that unlock customer value are the experiences that differentiate one brand from the next and drive competitive advantage. For marketers embarking on transformation the 7 Pillars of Customer Experience form the foundation to building deeper relationship connections across all areas of the brand to create higher emotional engagement that fosters customer satisfaction and advocacy.

1. Brand Purpose is the ‘why’ behind the brand, why it exists and what it stands for; its reason for being and its belief. Purpose provides meaning and focus within an organisation, it defines the brand’s role in culture, and how people will connect with it, and importantly purpose provides an authentic narrative, it unites the customer and the organisation’s culture in pursuit of its intention.

2. Organisational Alignment is the best way to ensure that all areas within the business are aligned in delivering great customer experiences. Alignment brings together marketing, customer, IT, HR and operations within a customer-first culture, ensuring there are no gaps between what is promised by the brand and what is delivered to the customer.

3. Customer Journey mapping is a powerful tool to understand the customer purchase journey. Mapping the brand touchpoints from the customer’s perspective helps marketers understand how customers are interacting with the brand. The process helps understand customers’ needs and expectations at each brand intersection. The process serves as a framework for designing and optimising the brand’s touchpoints to minimise gaps and customer pain points.

4. Keeping the Promise is what is expected in every interaction with the brand. A brand promise signifies the value that is created by the brand when the customer engages with the product or service. The more clearly the promise is articulated and folded into the experience the more likely the brand is to be perceived as authentic, true to its values and fulfilling its customer needs.

5. Technology is providing people with access to information anytime and anywhere they choose. Innovation is set to intensify, as smart, connected products emerge, triggering more innovation, higher productivity, sustained economic growth and a new era of competition. Technology and social platforms are driving new economic models around empowered consumerism called ‘collaborative consumption’, where goods and services are accessed rather than privately owned. Waiting in the wings are the early adopters of the latest technologies, such as robotics and 3D printing, where people in the not-too-distant future will design and customise products to suit their own personal preferences. The marketing reality is that people are continuously connected, using their smart devices to access and connect on their terms, and this is changing how people are experiencing brands.

6. Co-creation is the practice of engaging and involving customers and brand fans in seeking knowledge, strategic insights, problem-solving solutions, innovation and design. This is where customers are actively involved in product or service innovation and joint creation of value to deliver improvement in existing offerings or create new ideas from which both the organisation and the customer derives value. Co-creation draws together groups of diverse individuals with the potential to solve business challenges of all kinds and effectively encourages active participation to create richer experiences.

7. Experience Management and measurement necessitates deep understanding of the relationship between customer behaviour and the experience. Experience management aims to provide a single view of the customer experience across interactions, channels, products and services, and performance and business value generated from systematic improvements.

This is the digital era, a time when innovation is disrupting the marketing status quo. Marketing and technology are intertwined, and the pace of change continues to accelerate; when the customer journey starts with a click and when the ‘moment-of-truth’ when a customer makes a decision to buy or not to buy based on what they experience – welcome to Customer Experience is the Brand.

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About the Author

Alex Allwood

Alex Allwood’s focus is connecting customer and culture to empower customer-centric growth. Working with B2B2C, Alex helps improve experiences that enhance customer value and distinctively differentiate. With a 20 year track record in leadership, operations and marketing, Alex’s strength is developing customer experience strategy: customer understanding and empathy, experience vision and guiding principles and the customer narrative to enable collaboration and alignment. Alex is principal of the customer experience consultancy, All Work Together; has authored the book Customer Experience is the Brand, regularly facilitates Customer Journey Mapping workshops and is a speaker on customer-centric transformation.