Going Beyond Branding

You know how you go to a conference and different presentations seem to coalesce and reinforce the same point?  That happened to me last week at the MRA Insights & Strategies Conference.  Thursday started with a great keynote speech from Derek Thompson.  It was about understanding Millennials, but one thing he said made sense for all generations: he made the point that brands are particularly important when customers have little information to help them choose among competing products – the brand reassures them.  But nowadays, customers are frequently inundated with information to help them choose (customer reviews and background information from experts, for example).  So branding alone isn’t enough.

Successful companies need to not only brand themselves, but also ensure that the customer learns about them from all the other information sources.  One way to make that happen is to ensure great customer experience… which just so happened to be the topic of the presentation I gave, “Taking Customer Experience to the Next Level.”  While my presentation focused on the importance of the customer experience approach to company success, in the following time slot, A.J. Drexler gave a great presentation about customer journey planning.  Her main point: companies should go beyond just mapping the journeys different types of customers make to the purchase decision; rather, they should work on ways to improve the customer experience all along those journeys.

The point of addressing the totality of inputs customers receive, including advertising, information gathering, word-of-mouth and actual experience with the brand, was reinforced by a presentation later that day by Caroline Smiley from Delta Air Lines and Catherine Rickwood from MESH The Experience Agency.  Delta is moving from focusing on Share of Voice to looking instead at Share of Experience and is finding that the quality of those experiences can be more important than the frequency of exposure.

When you look at all those presentations together, you could say it boils down to marketing more effectively by gaining a better understanding of the customer’s point of view.  Of course, that’s what good marketing has always done.  But the conference reinforced the point that there are new ways to do that nowadays, including obtaining a deeper understanding of how customers experience a brand and mining that data to improve those experiences.

Let’s find out how your customers experience your brand.  Call me at 818-752-7210 or email info at bureauwest.com.


Sources: MRA Insights & Strategies Conference 2016: “Inside the Minds of Millennials and…Plurals,” “How Qual Can Take CX to the Next Level,” “Customer Journey Planning as a Competitive Advantage,” “A New Experience Currency for a Changing Economy: How Share of Experience is Growing Delta Air Lines and Other Brands