I’d like to think that in a couple of years, we will look at the Volkswagen scandal as the end of “marketing brands”, brands acting like a gloss to get consumers in. It’s over. It makes no sense to keep thinking brands can be built, gain trust and grow if their purpose and ideas aren’t brought to life through services and real-world experiences. No content strategy can make it for a poor customer experience.
Modern brands are built through actions not words, they are communicated through an experience not a slogans.
Growth won’t come from a slick brand visual but from a market proposition that is useful to customers and perfectly executed. The reason why Uber is winning over the old-fashioned taxi industry is not because of technology, it’s because they over deliver on the experience.
Marketing teams have an opportunity to shift their approach to focus on building brands through customer experience and deliver tangible brand assets like customer relationships, NPS scores, velocity rate… An approach that sorts the debate on how much is a brand worth.
When building a unique customer experience, a brand can capture market opportunities instead of trying to create needs for the “new thing” or the “best feature” like in the old days. There’s no need for a USP if you don’t have a deeply anchored reason to do it that way. There are tons of untapped customer needs so why wasting money trying to invent new ones? That’s what insurgent brands are doing, they listen and fill in the gaps.
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology.” Steve Jobs
This a fundamental shift in the marketing function that forces teams to create new capacities, including:
- creating customer feedback loop to solve pain points
- cross function collaboration to deliver rapid change from the data collected
- real-time customer experience mapping
- fast prototyping of new services to improve the experience
With such new capacities to create a full view of the customer experience, marketers can provide the business with a tool for growth through innovation ; under existing brands or through a portfolio strategy.
This is business in 2016.