Marketing has long clung to the notion that a brand is mostly composed of the communications it puts out into the world. We do our due diligence and develop these lovely brand strategies. We sit and work out our brand DNA, or our brand eggs, or our brand onions, or our brand keys.
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Brands' number one priority should be customer’s objectives
These multi-levelled multi-faceted documents filled with jargon and acronyms that the consumer never sees and the brand team barely touches after the initial presentation.
These things are necessary, of course. When you’re crafting the next big campaign, referring back to the original brand documents is an important starting point.
Customer experience is the brand
However, the consumer doesn’t care.
Your latest omni-channel masterpiece slips right through their awareness. They don’t see the connection between the billboard and the Facebook page. They don’t care about your metrics, your reach, your engagement, your conversions.
What they care about is their customer experience. In short, customer experience is the brand.
This changes things dramatically because first and foremost it’s a space that many agencies don’t play in.
Most agencies are pretty good at the big campaign, some even fairly good at collecting the all important first-party data. Those campaigns certainly do contribute to customer experience, so their role is not negated. But still, there’s a bigger picture.
There are some agencies that are beginning to test the waters of customer experience. They do the big campaigns, but they also look beyond that, at the entire journey.
The relationship with a brand may begin on Google, but what about the rest? Marketing often stops at that moment. We got them to notice you, maybe even smile at you. Maybe we even got them to go a bit further. Our job is done.
Where the real magic takes place
But the real magic of the relationship doesn’t live in the first kiss, it’s much more and much longer than that. What happens in-store? What happens during purchase? How did the sales clerk treat you? Did you get the item in a nice box? What happens if it breaks?
A brand like Apple doesn’t have to do a lot of marketing because it has nailed down customer experience.
Say what you will about the hardware, the experience of purchasing a Mac is really cool. The reason is simple, Apple has mapped out the entire journey with the customer at the centre of it. Sounds a bit obvious doesn’t it? Well, for a lot of brands, it isn’t.
Number one priority: customer’s objectives
Marketing conversations usually focus on two different, but overlapping things, the brand objectives and the marketing objectives.
Our number one priority should be the customer’s objectives. Once we start talking about those experiences, then questions like what we do with all this first-party data answers itself.
A new type of agency requires their clients to think about their brand differently and to open themselves to conversations not just about that first kiss, but how big should the wedding be, and how many kids you’re going to have.
Stop having one-night stands and grow up.