A lot of companies work hard to build a brand that stands for a particular set of values. Usually, the process to establish your brand starts with defining the values that are most important to you and then communicating them to everyone who works with your organization. But building a brand that consistently delivers on your core values along every part of your customer experience, requires you to build a culture that incorporates those values into every part of daily work.
Your brand is really just your reputation. And your reputation is established by how you show up consistently to the customers who are encountering you across various aspects of your customer journey. It's in the way you show up on a consistent basis that will shape the way people who encounter your work will perceive your brand.
The customer experience you deliver must align with your values
Over the last few days, I've been in the midst of a series of interactions with my bank. I needed to make a specific type of transaction and couldn't figure out how to do it. After reviewing their frequently asked questions, emailing, doing a chat on Facebook, calling the customer service line, reaching out on Twitter, and talking to someone at the local branch, I was finally told there wasn't a way for me to complete my transaction without physically coming into the bank, which I can't do because I live outside the country. Ugh.
The whole ordeal left me frustrated. Aside from having to explore other options separate from my bank to accomplish my task, I was especially annoyed because the slogan for the bank is all about how convenient they are. My experience from start to finish in trying to complete this transaction was anything but convenient.
Based upon the encounters I had with the bank, for me there was a major disconnect between the values they claim they stand for, and the experience they were actually delivering. Thus for me, their brand promise doesn't hold true.
You can make claims all day about characteristics that describe what you want your brand to be. But unless you consistently demonstrate those behaviors throughout both your employee and customer experience that prove those characteristics to be true, then you're setting yourself and your customers up for an experience that is incongruent with expectations. That disconnect will derail your ability to earn customer loyalty. It will also jeopardize your ability to retain top talent. No bueno.
A similar thing happens with diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Many companies tout their commitment to these principles, especially as of late. But when it comes to actually living these values in their day-to-day employee and customer experience, many organizations fall short.
Here are three ways to ensure your brand delivers on its promise throughout every part of your employee and customer experience.
1. Fund it
I've had several calls with potential clients of late who have been interested in work to build inclusivity into their employee and customer experience. The challenge that a few of them have had is they don't have adequate funding to make the changes their organization needs to make positive change.
There are times when your organization may need to operate on a shoestring budget. But when it comes to executing on principles that are core to your brand and or your company's success, you've got to invest.
What you fund is a key indicator of what is important to you.
2. Make it everyone's job
Building and nurturing a brand isn't the job of just a few people in the organization. Everyone throughout every part of your company plays an important role in enabling you to live the values that impact your employee and customer experience.
When you incorporate the values into how everyone on your team performs their work, it keeps those principles at the forefront of their minds. It also allows you to hold your team accountable to showing up in a manner that is consistent with your expectations.
3. Focus on continuous improvement
As times and culture evolve, the experiences you deliver will need to evolve as well. To ensure you are continuously delivering experiences that are aligned with your brand promise, audit every touchpoint on a regular basis to see where there are areas for improvement.
This will allow you to stay ahead of the game to make sure your brand continues to show up in a manner that meets and exceeds your customers' expectations based upon your brand promise.
You can build a strong brand that your ideal customers flock to and are loyal to. But to do that, you have to deliver on your brand's promise. Consistently. Use the three steps above as a starting point to get started.