When you see a brand logo, what sort of expectations come to mind?
Let’s take a look at Apple, a brand that successfully brings the brand promise to life in all incarnations of the experience. When you think of the way Apple delivers on its experience, do you agree that they focus on these three things?
- Design & Innovation
- Ease & Simplicity
Design & Innovation, Ease & Simplicity, and Quality – these are Apple’s Core Values. This is what fundamentally drives every decision that impacts their customers. It’s their brand promise. No matter what aspect of their company you interact with, you should feel the embodiment of these Core Values in every piece of the experience.
How You Bring Your Brand To Life Through Experience Delivery
In order to bring your brand to life, you must first understand what your brand represents. If you’ve already gone through this exercise, great. If not, then let that be your next project. In short, you should be able to describe your brand in a few words or sentences. As yourself the same question I asked you:
When you see your brand logo, what sort of expectations (should) come to mind?
I inserted “should” there, because it’s now time for you to create the story of your brand. There are a lot of agencies that do this part for a very good reason, so don’t get frustrated if you find this challenging to accomplish. Get a team of your employees (and maybe customers or friends) who are creative, smart, and insightful into a room and try to put together a set of universal characteristics of your brand.
As an example, let’s work with Apple’s Core Values – Design & Innovation, Ease & Simplicity, and Quality.
Every company is different, but everyone follows a similar pattern for their Customer Lifecycle. It looks something like the image to the right.
Each of the aspects of your Lifecycle represent a set of interactions, emotions, assets, and assumptions that define that period. For instance, during the “Identify” period, this is what exists for Apple:
- Interactions: Web Site, Online Communities (both owned by and not affiliated with Apple), Apple Store, 800 number, other retail web sites, other retail brick & mortar stores. A big interaction is also other Apple customers walking around with the product “out and about” – clipped on their bags or belts, or out on the subway catching up on the day’s news while you’re bored looking out the window.
- Emotions: Prospect is trying to understand if s/he identifies with and feels comfortable with the brand and its products. Prospect is also trying to decide whether s/he feels so compelled by Apple that it’s “worth it” to spend the extra money for the brand. (a more practical application of emotion)
- Assets: Commercials, billboards, magazine/newspaper ads, Online Communities, Web Entities, Reviews, Other people walking around using Apple products.
- Assumptions: Prospect is in the market for a new “one of these”.
Now you essentially have a defined set of “tools” to work with to bring your brand promise to life.
For each of the pieces of the “Identify” piece of the Customer Lifecycle, ask yourself – “Does Apple’s Web Site embody all of its core values?” When you get to Emotions, ask yourself – “Does Apple provide an experience that allows for the Prospect to overcome any emotional holdup?” Assumptions are a reference for you so no additional questions need to be asked other than – “Am I making the right assumptions about my target market?”
When you run through this exercise for your company, stop whenever you answer “No” to “Does my company’s xxx embody all of our core values?” Ask yourself and your team why, and what it would take to get to “Yes”. Now you have a list of experience improvements to make. Prioritize by speed of completion, impact, required internal support, and cost. Then, Go.
Next, we’ll discuss Customer Experience Truth #8 – Oftentimes, The Most Impactful Experiences For Customers Are Not What You Think They Are.
For more information on Apple’s Brand Experience, check out this fantastic SlideShare presentation.