Your branding will never truly succeed if you can’t deliver a positive customer experience. In general, branding begins with a solid foundation of market research and a well-crafted image including a logo, font, and color palette. From there, it extends to intangibles like personality and voice. These are all building blocks of a compelling brand but without a happy customer, it all falls apart.
A Holistic Approach to Branding
When we took a look at channel marketing, we discussed how we need to take a customer-centered approach to our entire value chain to practice effective marketing. This thread continues as we look at effective branding. We must prioritize how we make our consumers feel and what kind of experiences we deliver at every touchpoint. In the words of Simon Sinek, yes, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, but, a massive part of that equation is how you make them feel.
So how do we go about delivering a positive experience at every touchpoint? We can break this up into two main categories, Products and People, to help us organize a plan for making our consumers happy.
There are two simple questions that we can ask ourselves about our products:
Does the product fulfill a need or desire?
Does the product deliver on its promise?
Regardless of whether your product is a feature-length, multimillion-dollar film or family moving service, you will need to check these two boxes to achieve at least a basic level of success.
Nike isn’t just the largest shoe company in the world, it’s also one of the biggest brands in the world, according to Forbes, regardless of industry. It’s easy to think of what Nike is today and what it represents as a brand, but founder Phil Knight and his collaborates were first able to establish the brand because of the value and experience its running shoes were able to deliver to customers throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Nike simply wouldn’t be what it is today without a truly transcendent product.
Every successful brand has, to some extent, its humanizing quality, which logically often comes from the people who actually interact with your customers on the front lines.
There are two questions you can ask yourself about the people who represent your brand:
Are your people helpful or memorable?
What kind of customer service do they deliver?
The people who give your brand a human face are one of the most critical ingredients for securing an effective branding strategy.
Chick-Fil-A may be the home of the chicken sandwich, but a massive chunk of their brand equity is tied to their exceptional customer service, which we discussed when we looked at the importance of internal branding. While their food may be quality, especially when compared to quick-service competitors, it’s truly their human touch that differentiates Chick-Fil-A from other restaurant chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King.
Branding Is Who Your Customers Think You Are
Ultimately, every branding strategy is at the mercy of its target audience. Your brand simply is whatever your consumers say it is. Therefore, it’s critical that even after you’ve done your homework in developing a solid brand aesthetic that you focus on what experience your product and people are delivering to your end consumer.