How Do You Know If Your Brand and Experience Are Consistent?

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell whether or not you’re delivering a branded customer experience. The best way to find out is to rely on feedback from your customers. They’ll let you know if you’re not delivering on your promises.

Here are a few things you can do to help ensure that you’re living up to your brand image:

  • Make sure that all employees and management understand the brand well and how to communicate it. In other words, make customer expectations clear. Create protocols to ensure that your employees are providing the right customer service.
  • In your research, try to find out what your customers feel about not only your brand, but your competitors’ brands as well. By comparing you with your competitors, you can more easily see which areas are your natural strengths; in other words, the areas where you’re delivering a branded customer experience.
  • With your brand in mind, brainstorm a list of every touch point you have with customers and make an honest assessment of whether or not you’re conveying your brand at each point.
  • Monitoring your brand and customer experience is ongoing, so make it a regular part of your routine. Keep gathering and analyzing feedback so that you can refine.

Why You Need a Branded Customer Experience

Your brand tells your customers: “This is the unique thing we do that nobody else does.” It sets you apart from your competitors and, in the customer’s mind, expresses why you’re the best at what you do (the only one that does what you do).

Your brand and the experience you offer your customers are intimately related. This is a bit of an oversimplification, but the brand sets the tone for the overall experience. It’s instrumental in setting expectations, which is a key part of the experience. The actual experience should live up to the expectations set by the brand.

Let’s take the example of a restaurant. Let’s say that its website makes it look wonderful and it has rave reviews on online review sites. Everything about the brand sets the expectation for the customer that they’re going to have a great dining experience.

But if the actual dinner is a train wreck and the restaurant isn’t anything like it was represented to be, you’ve created a terrible customer experience. The brand sets the tone and makes the promise, but the experience has to deliver.

Accountability

During a recent weekend event I watched multiple teams of creators pitching products to a group of judges, with the hope of being the next big thing. Through out the presentations one key thing stood out to me in several of their presentations … a lack of accountability … or at the very least that was my perception.

To understand this we first must understand what accountability is, and what does it mean to be accountable.

Accountability is:

  • … taking responsibility before the fact, rather than after the fact.
  • … taking a stand, and standing by it.
  • … when those who are accountable are right, take credit.
  • … when those who are accountable are wrong, take the blame.

Now you have a basic understanding of what accountability means; let me explain my perception. Throughout the presentations there was a common thread amongst several of the teams.

During each phase certain teams could be heard muttering things like; “I didn’t have time to make it the way I wanted”, “I couldn’t find any information about {item}” and “We weren’t ready”, “The team wasn’t committed” and several others. This was even more prevalent when handfuls of these same teams used those responses when queried by the judges. Let me be perfectly clear, this mindset was held only by a handful of groups, most certainly not the norm however as negativity goes it has the potential to be toxic and grow.

It is that growth potential I want to nip in the bud now.

Remember the old saying, “No matter if you succeed or fail in life, it’s your fault.”, never is this more true than during a challenge of entrepreneurial wit. The less excuses you have, the closer you are to success in whatever area of endeavor you are involved in.

Let’s look closer at some of the feedback:

  • “Didn’t have Time” – More often than not when working on a project for either yourself or a client the timeline has been clearly established. This goes for the recent challenge event as well, each team was provided a timeline for the event as well as how long they had to work on each component. Time management is key here and may have solved or at the very least helped the teams understand what they could create and how to use that time to its fullest.
  • “The people on my team are not really committed.” – We all make people mistakes or set expectations too high. So you made some bad partner decisions. Now is the time to face up to these issues and reset your expectations or move out the people who don’t fit. The sooner it’s done, the happier you all will be.
  • “I’m not sure what you mean, the people we talked to loved it” – This my friends is fake traction and I see too often early stage founders and creators get trapped within it. This happens when only highlighting what looks good and effectively hiding what looks bad. A great example I hear all too often; “everyone we talked with thinks our idea is great / awesome / incredible and want one as soon as they are ready.” However when I ask how many people they have spoken with the answer is normally below ten to which my response is, “I think we need a bigger sample.”.
  • Consider any situation in your life: is there something for which you can be accountable? If you feel that you are at the mercy of something bigger than you, think again. What was your part in getting or allowing the situation to become that way?

    Can you “own” the steps you took or didn’t take that got you there?

    How might you make better choices and more appropriate responses to life’s circumstances?

    After all, you are the only person responsible for your own actions. Be aware of the impact you make–and stand up for doing the right thing.

    While there are quite literally a thousand places you could go to read more about why excuses shouldn’t stop your creative flow, I have one that I personally recommend by Stephen Key, cofounder of InventRight.

    The title sums it right up 5 Excuses That Shouldn’t Stop You From Bringing Your Ideas to Life