One of the key indicators of branding success is how customers experience your brand. If their brand experiences don’t match your brand promises, the disconnect can truly hurt the brand and the organization’s ability to reach its strategic objectives.
A 2016 study by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK gives us insight into the relationship between senior leaders and the brand, employees and the brand, and customers’ brand experiences and the brand promise.
Here are some findings from the Brand Experience Statistics report:
- 75% of respondents believe that brand positioning and values are always a consideration when making major commercial or organizational decisions
- 77% believe their senior management team have a high impact on the delivery of their brand promise through customer service
- 67% believe leaders think brand is about communications.
- Only 37% believe all employees understand their role in delivering the brand promise.
- A little over half (55%) believe their internal brand culture is aligned with external brand values.
- Less than half (48%) of marketers say they consistently measure brand, customer-related and non-financial metrics of success.
- Only a third say brand performance and metrics are regularly discussed at the most senior levels.
- Only 43% feel employees understand the vision for the organization and brand.
I thought that organizations would be further ahead in their brand experience work in 2016 than in years past. What this report demonstrates is that we still have a long way to go.
One major area for improvement lies with senior management. If 67% of respondents believe that their leaders think brand is about communications, that’s a big problem.
“A brand is more than its logo, look, and colors. It emanates from the mindsets, attitudes, and behaviors of anyone and everyone involved in it. And, since success depends on its brand reputation, it’s critical that you do everything possible to ensure that your customers’ experiences are amazing.”
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Any organizational change begins at the top. There’s no point in developing employee brand standards and branding workshops if senior managers aren’t part of it. Senior leaders must role model brand experiences internally before they can do it externally.
If there’s no internal branding program, where internal customers (employees) feel the brand love and promise, then how can we expect them to deliver on the brand promise to external customers? To me this is a duh!
“Internal branding is more than promoting a company’s brand to its employees. A brand is really a reflection of the internal organization’s culture and activities. The brand must be incorporated from the very top to the bottom and woven throughout the entire organization, including organizational vision, mission, identity, objectives, strategies, training, work style, employee interactions and even in its facilities if it is going to be able to deliver quality customer experiences.”
Rodger Jones, Bader Rutter
Believe me, I’ve worked on the “inside” where I did what I could to enlighten staff about branding and their role in “living the brand.” But, my fellow senior management team members did not attend my sessions. I suppose they thought they had a good handle on it—which they unfortunately did not.
Once senior leadership is on board, it doesn’t end. There must be a continuing focus on brand experience measurement and discussion at the top levels.
Engage employees in the brand and provide them with ongoing training to help them learn about the brand and their roles in brand promise delivery. They need to incorporate it into their daily activities every single day.
The marketing department has a responsibility to monitor the brand and enlist influential staff to serve as brand advocates. Following brand standards and guidelines, including brand behaviors, are important to improve and sustain customer (brand) experience results.
Do your organization’s brand experiences match its brand promises?
How are you delivering your desired brand experiences?