Coherent brands don’t let CX play alone
In a matured customer marketplace, coherent brands drive consistent messaging across brand stakeholders, aligning CX with EX and other branding initiatives.
The field of brand and branding has matured in order to keep up with the ever-evolving needs of today and tomorrow’s customer. Once lured by the glitz and glamour of grandiose advertising and aggressive compelling marketing, customers globally now seem to refuse being emotionally manipulated, duped, conned, hoodwinked or deceived. The somewhat grown-up sobriety of the modern customer has compelled brands to keep it real, be consistent in their brand messages, and make promises that they know they can keep.
Brand guru Martie Neumeier summarises it well when he says:
“A brand is no longer what you say it is, it’s what they say it is.”
The “they” in that quote is more pivotal than we think. Brands were built in the past through the isolated genius of advertising creatives, who were skilled at tailoring messages that would capture the hearts of the target market customer. Catering through and to this one-dimensional “they” caused disjoint and misalignment inside organisations and led to many customer experiences that were jarringly different from their expectations.
Brand stakeholder theory suggests that there are many “they” stakeholders in a brand, ranging from customers to employees, suppliers and even the community that is touched by the brand. Brand Coherence is the new holy grail of brand-building. Simply put, a brand will be perceived as a coherent, consistent and strong brand if the brand-building initiatives are aligned across stakeholder groups. “They” are all branded to with consistent messaging – both inside and outside the company.
Global support for brand stakeholder theory and coherent brand-building underlines 3 key considerations for Customer Experience (CX) professionals that wish to stay relevant in this matured brand and customer marketplace:
CX needs to break out of the silo:
Customer Experience can no longer be viewed in isolation from Employee Experience or even CSI initiatives. Messaging or experiences aimed at the customer needs to be aligned with other brand stakeholders, especially employees as they are often the medium through whom brand messaging is conveyed to customers.
Brand Coherence fuels CX:
Brand Coherence should be the strategic driver behind CX initiatives. Whatever we do to improve the customer experience should stem from a clear, strategically aligned goal that unites leadership across Operations, Marketing, Human Resources and so forth in the quest for Brand Coherence.
Spread the resources across CX and EX:
Time, energy and money spent on CX will be wasted if a comparable amount of time, energy and money is not spent on consistent branding to employees. CX simply won’t stick if EX is not aligned and on the same page.
Strong brands align their internal and external brand-building initiatives to create coherent brands that positively impact both customers and employees. CX and EX are two inseparable drivers of brand coherence.