As marketers and brand builders, we are fiercely protective of our organizations and the customers we serve. Whether it’s striving to provide value at every turn, demonstrating transparency and authenticity or contributing meaningfully to the causes that matter to our stakeholders, we are the guardians of our corporate promise.
But, if you feel as though you’re spending a considerable amount of time, effort and energy battling misconceptions about your brand, or that it seems as though your audience doesn’t fully understand you, it may be time to evaluate your brand experience.
According to the American Marketing Association, brand experience is defined as the sensations, feelings, cognitions and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications and environments. In simpler terms, a brand experience is all of the elements that affect consumer satisfaction and loyalty directly and indirectly through associations.
The good news is, identifying the areas where your brand may not be delivering on its promise doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here are a few key indicators to look for within your organization to help you determine whether or not your brand experience could use a brushing up.
1. Pay Attention to Reviews and Comments
No business or marketing leader wants to see bad online reviews, comments, or social media flare-ups. However, fully exploring and properly addressing negative reviews or comments has the power to not only teach you where and what your pitfalls are, but how you can elevate consumer experience with your brand.
First things first, though. If and when you do get a bad review—whether it’s from a customer with a legitimate issue or an online troll—being prepared to deal with it is essential. Ignoring the situation can leave consumers thinking that you don’t care, while mishandling the situation almost always escalates into a bigger problem.
That’s why it’s important to listen actively online and on social media and develop plans for dealing with negative reviews or comments in a positive way. In addition to quickly identifying and taking steps to rectify a potentially bad situation, listening and planning often minimizes additional backlash from others.
The rewards for handling negative reviews properly can be plentiful. In addition to winning over once disgruntled customers, and possibly encouraging others to engage with your business, you’re showing consumers that your brand is authentic and that you care about them. All essential elements for delivering a great brand experience.
2. Strengthen Your Customer Service
We’ve all heard of customer service slip-ups that have escalated into angry consumer tirades. Though any number of factors can contribute to a customer service collapse, consumers often indicate that representatives’ lack of listening to and/or empathizing with them, and not being empowered to fully address their complaint are the leading causes of brand experience breakdown.
The best way to ensure that your customer service team is having a positive impact on your brand experience is providing comprehensive initial and ongoing training. It’s just as important to arm your customer service representatives with an arsenal of solutions they can deploy to address a consumer’s issue, without needing to transfer them to a supervisor or another department.
3. Provide Helpful Information and Answers
Another way to evaluate your brand experience is to sit down with your sales and customer service teams and identify if there are any questions they field on a regular basis. Of course, receiving questions from prospects and customers is essential for the sales and service process, but if consumers are continually asking the same questions of your sales and service staff, it’s likely time to take more action.
Incorporating a Frequently Asked Questions section within your website, developing blog posts and other content that provides key insights, and including enough information in your sales and marketing toolkit (presentations, brochures, etc.) are a few of our favorite ways to address common questions at the outset and bolster your brand experience.
A Great Brand Experience Equals Great Customer Experience
While taking steps to evaluate and enhance your overall brand experience involves time, effort, and resources, the majority of marketers report the investment is well worth it. Why? Because when marketers are focused on delivering a great brand experience they engage more meaningfully with their customers, which is more rewarding (and fun!) than battling misconceptions, combating negative reviews, and cleaning up customer service issues.
If you’re wondering where to begin to evaluate your brand experience but you’re concerned that doing so may up-end your business overall, let’s chat.