Ever have an experience with a brand and you were left feeling betrayed by an “old friend” you thought you knew? A brand’s promise, like your relationship with that old friend, is that consist level of integrity and behavior you’ve come to expect from them.
With today’s technology permeating all facets of our lives, it’s getting more challenging to uphold those “old friend” or “trusted friend” experiences. In modern brand experiences, applying technology in the innovative ways is essential to ensuring a successful customer moment and simple competitiveness.
So, what does it mean to effectively apply technology to enabling and keeping a brand promise? You are already doing this is some ways, yet, technology is ever-changing and requires a long-term strategy aligned with the customer and employee experience of your brand to guide your decisions and path ahead. Yes, employee’s have experiences with your brand too.
There are plenty of market-disrupting technology brands to laud – with the likes of Tesla, Apple, SpaceX, and others – yet it’s the significant way that they apply innovative technology to keep their brand promise to their respective customers that is most interesting.
Tesla, for example, has a promise to help rid our dependency on fossil fuels and work towards a sustainable society. In addition, aiding an even grander promise to solve the sustainability challenges to become interplanetary. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?
To enable their promise with consumers, they needed some of the best technologies on the planet (and some possibly derived off the planet) to work together in approachable, intuitive, safe, elegant harmony in the form of brand-authentic vehicles and energy products. A completely reinvented automobile experience that drives an emotional bond. Tesla went even further by creating a network of charging stations on major pathways to begin to make it real and accessible for the masses. It’ll be one brand of many that will be fun to watch as they continue to create new ways to leverage technology, in addition to business and marketing strategies, to keep their brand promise.
Very aspirational indeed, but what if your not a market-disrupting technology brand? Well that’s where things get interesting. Whatever industry you may be in, there are many facets of applying technologies to enable your brand promise. Perhaps you need integrate multiple data systems to provide your employees an effective customer-facing sales tool that has product, promotion, inventory, transaction history, and weather information. Some of these are internal systems and some external providers, the customer experience should drive what you integrate and why. When these backstage systems are integrated, the employee and customer will be empowered to engage deeper with your brand and perhaps even exceed expectations.
This may all sound daunting, however, know that with the right support you can accomplish this with your brand as well.
In order to understand where to begin, you have to examine how well you know your customer experience through their point of view and how well your technology enables that experience. Breaking that down even further is looking at technology that your customers use to experience your brand and the technology your company uses to support those experiences behind the scenes. I’m sure you have heard of customer journeys by now, but this is an essential map to the experience kingdom that provides a unified view of the experience over time with on and off-stage activities and technologies at play. More importantly it will help you see where your customers are having challenges with your brand and your ability to keep your brand promise in those moments.
Once you have your customer journey mapped out and identified your pain points; you can begin to understand how to apply technology to address those moments and turn them into delightful moments.
Some of the challenges today’s brands face are business technology silos, lack of marketing automation, lack of mobile-first experiences, lack of actionable insights from analytics, poor ecommerce experience, and poor cross-channel experience including customer support having the information necessary in a timely fashion.
Let’s say your promise includes stress-free service and your journey map depicts an ever more impatient customer getting frustrated by the lack of status information via mobile while awaiting the service to be completed. You further uncover that helpful status data exists within several of your business systems, yet they aren’t integrated at all with the customer experience. By revising your technology strategy to include a data-aggregating API that shares the status information across disparate systems, you can better keep your brand promise by setting expectations with waiting customers and reducing the stress of not knowing at that moment.
You may very well learn from your mapping activity that your brand needs to revise its technology strategy in many transformative ways. You’ll need to prioritize and work them into your budgets based on ROI including customer experience improvements.
Whatever the situation, ensure that your brand promise to your customers is driving your technology strategy.
May you be a true “old friend.”