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July 5th, 2016

It’s Halftime. How’s Your Customer Journey Holding Up?

We’re halfway through the year. How were the fireworks, by the way? Did they delight the senses and imbue the soul? How about your brand’s customer experiences? Are they holding up at the midway point? Are they delighting your customers? Or do you feel something is lacking in your brand’s reach? Are you missing opportunities to communicate your brand’s promise, your product’s attributes, or your service expertise? Is there a reason that you’re not always where your customer is at the right time, or are you missing a key component to the integrated brand communication? Are there gaps in your brand’s ecosystem? A hard quiz to ace, for sure.

One major ingredient to building brand value is valuing your customer. Empathy. Understanding his or her needs and desires is essential in building long-term meaning and value in your brand. Delivering that value through “moments-that-matter”—true brand experiences that reflect those needs—can delight the senses and imbue the soul. And secure preference. Simple, right? But how?

You may have a great brand and you may have great products and services. But unless you’re reaching all your various customers in a way that is meaningful to them, you’re just another label. Your product, your message, and your brand experiences must be fully integrated—with every touchpoint, from initiation throughout the entire transaction.

For example, it’s market and tradeshow season for a lot of our clients. How your brand and products present themselves to those customers could be the difference between a good year and a bad one. Make sure your booth or showroom presents your brand in its most relevant light and reflects the promise of your brand. This is key to communicating how your products and your brand will perform for those customers and their consumers or end users. Tell a story through visual merchandising and demonstrate how you will enhance their customer’s journey through these brand experiences. Two critical steps to gaining customer confidence.

Building and maintaining a customer-centric brand requires deep and continuous understanding of how your brand interacts with your customers during these experiences. Customer journey mapping can be one way to help define any gaps in your brand relationship with customers. Visualize and act on your brand’s opportunities to interact with customer through various brand experiences all along their journey. This will build a visual, verbal, and emotional relationship with them. It offers you a unique understanding of how and when to be a part of their everyday life.

Develop customer personas to help you understand what is motivating your customers and their consumers or end users. Understanding how and where brand interaction is needed for these various personas helps create a brand ecosystem. This will continually touch the customer and influence behavior. It also allows you to align your business goals and product development plans with your brand strategy.

It’s only halftime. Take the opportunity to see if your game plan needs adjustment. Make sure you’re covering the gaps and fully understand your customer. Make sure your business goals and brand strategy are aligned. And make sure you’re doing everything possible to value your customers through your brand experiences. Then get in there and give it all you’ve got. It will be a great second half!

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