Ask yourself these two questions:
- Is your customer journey holding up to the rigors of being an ongoing concern?
- Are you doing everything possible to value your customers through those customer journeys?
Let’s look deeper at how those customer journeys become brand experiences—for both internal and external customers. We believe that the most successful companies have created a brand ecosystem. This is an environment in which the brand is constantly evolving to nurture and feed the business from the inside out. Simon Sinek said, “The employees must love the company before any customers ever will.” Our conviction is that your employees are customers. Customers of the brand. Brand ambassadors begin and end with converting your customer journey into a brand experience.
I was visiting a former client the other day and as we walked in together to meet an hour before the larger meeting, we were greeted by five or six associates standing in the lobby. They all had a warm “Good Morning!” for us. And we immediately reciprocated. What an exchange of abundance! The customer journey [mine and his] had immediately transformed into a brand experience. One brief exchange and we were emotionally attached to everyone there and the brand they represented. (And I’m happy to report that following that meeting 10 days ago, they are no longer a former client.)
I often brag about our long-time receptionist, Barbara. Many clients, suppliers, and vendors call in to chat with her, rather than with me. Her genuine love for people and their importance in our lives shows just how much we value them. There cannot be a more visceral brand experience than feeling valued.
Think about how your brand connects [or should] with your consumers or end users. Is it an emotional connection? Have you done everything possible to make their journey to your product or service a positive and emotive experience? Did they find the product they were looking for? Was the packaging thoughtfully designed and did it celebrate the product? How about the merchandising? Was it easy to maneuver? Was the user experience online reflective of the pillars of the brand? Was the product intuitive? If you answered no to any of these, your customer journey is not yet building optimum value in your brand. Perhaps because you’re not valuing your customers as much as you could be.
Now what about your recruiting practices? How is your HR set up to evaluate potential employees? Do potential colleagues feel the emotive qualities of your brand with the first ad, the first direct response piece, the first phone call? Do prospective employees feel valued at their first interaction with your company? If not, their customer journey is not yet a brand experience. But it should be.
Aligning your business goals with your brand strategy at every touchpoint—both internally and externally—will foster a positive culture around your brand and influence behavior profoundly. Much like being a good person begins with character, so does being a good brand. Make sure your brand’s character is valuing every customer you have—at every opportunity.