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How to align your brand delivery to the promises you make.

You’ve worked out your brand promises, but do you keep them? In the totally connected world we live in today keeping your brand promises has become more and more important and yet more and more difficult.

We all know that brands help customers find their way through complex decision making processes so getting yours right and keeping your brand promises is critical to your business.

Paying lip service to “customer centricity” (or whatever people like to call it) can be a very risky route to pursue, and if not done well can lead to dangerous negative brand behaviours such as saying one thing and doing another.

In Brand Vista’s experience, the transparent world we live in means that you can’t stop the inside activities and attitudes of the organisation and its people leaking out. I have set out a guide to prevent this happening and indeed get your brand working for you right at the point of contact with your clients and customers, whatever sector you are working in.

The most important thing to start any process with is the insight that even if you don’t think you have a brand, the facts of the matter are that you do. Your customers have views about your products, your people and the service you provide, how your processes work with theirs and every aspect of how you do business and transact with them. These are all aspects of your brand- it is not just your logo!

A business can develop all the sophisticated communication plans it likes but if the customer experience differs from what the brand is promising there is a real danger of disconnection with the brand- tipping your customer into searching for alternative providers.

Over the past 11 years Brand Vista has come to learn so much from our clients, working across a healthy mix of private and public sector organisations ranging from logistics to professional services and from theme parks to City brands. Vitally important to all of these brands, be they B2B or B2C, is that if they align their brand vision to their customer experience they will deliver their promises more effectively and consistently, reinforce repeat business and recommendation and drive the differentiated position we all seek to own in our customer’s and client’s minds.

There are a number of simple tips, beyond just getting great insight, building a vision for the brand and getting the team on board etc, that can help any business find and deliver an effective and unique position in their customer’s sights.

These will help you keep the promises you make to your customers and your reward will be repeat purchases, and vitally, peer group recommendation.

1. Understand your unique Customer Journey

It is essential that you understand all of the points where your customers touch the business- before, during and after their transaction. You must map them out and use this to guide activity in order to make a brilliant on brand experience for them.

This map can be used to analyse whether you are keeping or breaking the brand ideas. It is business critical that each of these points of contact is bang on brand and aligned to your vision. This is where you can really make a competitive difference, not just through grand gestures but also 1000’s of small gestures that will delight, inspire and stimulate customers to carry on their journey into your brand. The cumulative effect of getting these points on brand and delivering the promise consistently is a customer experience they will want to repeat and recommend.

However, it is at these points where it can go very wrong.

Ask yourself- do your employees know what they need to do? Have they helped you build the brand at each touch point? Are your processes working effectively for or against great on brand behaviour? Are you making the right promises? Is each contact adding to or taking away from your brand vision? These are a few of the critical questions you must ask at each stage and then do something effective with the answers you get!

2. Get on brand, and give it a sense of urgency

Most of these will be identified in your customer insight work- if not then you should probably change your insight people!

In order to improve your brand experience a real sense of urgency must come from the top of the organisation; otherwise the whole alignment process will drift and loose impact. Without pressure the tyranny of the urgent takes over. However, the alignment of the brand to the customer experience should be the tyrant!

Continuous reminders of progress are great and what your team will want to see. A celebration when milestones are reached help build the momentum. After all you will be celebrating making your brand stickier for customers and they will come back more often!

Therefore you need to act as if the future depends on it - as it probably does.

3. Measure your progress outside the business, not just inside it.

Too many companies develop “KPIs” that focus on internal efficiency and not external effectiveness. Very few combine the two into a simple dashboard that can identify progress, find the problems and tell you where to dig in order to sort it out.

In the modern world of brand building you need both internal and external perspectives on your brand and how well it is aligned to its vision. They must involve the customer, your competition, your team and your business performance. In other words you need to monitor your brand’s progress in a way that replicates how it is built through the impact of all these influences – we call this the Brand Alignment Monitor.

It may sound complex but it has been proven to be effective in financial & professional services, transport & distribution, shipping, SME’s and larger business.

Try it, you know it makes sense.