The Importance of a Branded Customer Experience

I read the following article today and it really got my ‘juices’ flowing!:

Why A Brand Matters by Lois Gellar

The opening line reads “In one sense, perhaps the most important sense, a brand is a promise”.

There are many different definitions of ‘a brand’, however ‘a brand is a promise’ is the one that I use time and again with clients. It is absolutely true. Many of us, when we go to the supermarket to do our weekly shop, will automatically be drawn to the recognisable brand names we see before us. We will often be prepared to pay anywhere between 10-50% more for a manufacturer brand compared to a cheaper own-label version of the product. So, why do we (or at least many of us) do this?

Branded Customer Experience

We do this, of course, because of the promise that the brand make us. The brand creates an expectation as to the quality we should expect to experience upon purchasing and using the product/ service. For those people who are slightly more risk averse; or for those people who have taken a risk and been let down with a own-label brand purchase, the brand plays a very important role in building confidence/ expectation. Expectation holds the key.

Expectation is one of the cornerstones of Customer Experience Management. Considering the work done by Parasuraman, Zeithaml & Berry on the Gaps Model of Service Quality, they identified that the key to delivering good quality service was by reducing the gap between the customer’s expectation and their perception of the service. They identified that expectation is built up from four factors:

  • Previous experience
  • Strength of Customer’s Personal Need
  • Word of Mouth
  • External communications to customers…including branding!

The four gaps that the business that the business needs to control are:

  • Company’s understanding of the customer’s expectation (via insight & research)
  • Company’s translation of their understanding into policies & procedures (via process)
  • Employees adherence to these policies & procedures (via people)
  • The difference between what the business promises to deliver and what the company actually delivers (via product, price, place, promotion & physical evidence)

So…as we can see, branding and Customer Experience belong very much hand in hand. Branded Customer Experience is the way forward!