We talk a lot about delivering the brand promise. It’s one of the most critical balancing acts in the business strategy. On the one hand, a very clear proposition so that everyone understands what they need to do and how. On the other, what it feels like as a customer to be on the receiving end of what they do.
They should, of course, be one and the same. The true test of whether a brand has been delivered and safely reached its destination is what customers say to each other, not what the strapline says it should be like.
Yet I share with you here three very recent examples of where a business has set out with good intentions but the execution has been inconsistent to say the least. The brands as such have all have been ‘delivered’ into my inbox.
A membership organisation with global reach wrote to me about renewing my subscription. They are a very well-known body representing professionals in business and were extolling the virtues of how much more I would learn about customer experience if I renewed. They say – that is, what they want us to believe the brand is all about – they are there to help companies grow.
The reality of the experience was somewhat different. They had already reminded me to renew a few months back, then apologised that they had got the dates wrong. And now, with an invitation to spend money on renewing my membership the email invitation was from someone called No Reply. Not personal, not helpful and hardly inviting. All the good effort that goes into creating the brand promise in the first place, undone in a simple email header. That’s a careless brand, not a global professional one.
I’m sure you’ve had others too like it.
Our attention spans are short and there’s no shortage of advice in writing compelling emails.
I had one email this week with a subject heading “Private invitation”. It looked intriguing but then the opening line was “ Hey guys…I’m a little surprised you haven’t taken me up on this yet “ – it was from a training company whose brand intention is all about engagement, learning and development. I checked and it was the first email I’d had from them. The brand reality as I experienced it is simply arrogant and contemptuous. Why would I now bother wasting more time and reading any further let alone respond. Meanwhile the Marketing and Finance Directors are wondering why their ROI isn’t looking good.
In a similar vein, another email arrives with the heading “Re: Our call tomorrow” . At a quick glance scanning through emails that is one I ought to take a look at. But no, it’s a sales pitch for an event, nothing to do with a call that I’ve set up with someone. Presumptuos and arrogant again. It makes me feel like they are trying to con me – and they did. I opened the email and so their click through rates will look great. But now far from believing they are as they say, the provider of the world’s leading conferences, my emotive reaction to their tactics just shot them in their foot.
Having a crystal clear brand proposition is essential. Sharing it with everyone around the business critical. Organisations have competitors; customers have both a choice and a voice. Having the governance to ensure that customers’ experiences match the intended ones should be treated as a matter of survival.
Thank you for reading the blog, I hope you found it interesting and thought-provoking. I’d love to hear what you think so please feel free to add your comments below.
I’m Jerry Angrave, founder of Empathyce and an ex-corporate customer experience practitioner. Since 2012 I’ve been a CX consultant and am also an official trainer for the CXPA’s CCXP exam. If you’ve any questions about improving customer experience or CX professional development do please get in touch. I’m on +44 (0) 7917 718 072 or on email I’m [email protected].