The customer experience gets a lot of press and management attention these days. The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and other leading business publications are arguing right now about the relevance and value of NPS in evaluating customers’ satisfaction with their experience. (Click here to see our point of view.)
We believe that the way customers experience your people, products and services shapes their interest in and willingness to continuing to do business with you. And as brand strategists, THAT belief leads us to view Brand as the golden thread that can unify all of these experiences into a coherent, intentional whole. Too often, the Product, Customer, Employee and Brand experience are managed in silos, without the connective tissue required to deliver an experience that reflects the organization’s full potential.
Our Brand Vision Framework serves as the foundation for experience management across key stakeholders and the embodiment of the organization’s Mission, Vision and Values.
Source: Adapted from Jean-Noel Kapferer, Strategic Brand Management
The Brand Vision Framework helps align internal audiences around a common purpose and set of values. We use the Framework as a diagnostic tool to identify gaps where critical connections are required to manage experiences effectively. Once the gaps are identified and approaches to closing them are being rolled out, an Experience Council comprised of leaders in Product, Customer, Brand and Employee engagement can use the Framework to orchestrate efforts around a unified idea. The Brand Vision Framework can also be integrated with Qualtrics™ and other Experience Management platforms for tracking progress and generating insights from the data collected.
Activating the Framework in Healthcare
For a diversified healthcare giant, we used the Brand Vision Framework to identify a credibility gap between its Noble Purpose of “Supporting better health among employees, customers and their communities” and the way the Purpose was experienced by customers and employees. The “supporting better health” idea was big and energizing but not consistently reflected in the way customers experienced the company’s products or the way employees experienced their jobs and their benefits.
For customers, the company was chronically slow to embrace industry standards for technology interfaces, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction with the product experience. Customers often renewed because they felt “trapped” not because they felt the company’s products and services were the best available.
Among employees, the company got little or no credit for its wide range of content and incentives to encourage fitness and healthy lifestyles and programs to support community organizations and volunteerism. The data showed low employee engagement - they rarely visited the intranet sites HR spent so much time populating with information, and while they appeared to understand the company vision, they rated the company and their leaders low on living it.
Recognizing the importance of earning employee trust and belief in the Brand Vision, the change effort started with the employee experience. Through a concerted effort between Corporate Marketing and Employee Benefits, existing employee benefits programs were reintroduced with clear linkage to the brand’s vision, and new benefits were evaluated against this same objective., Product experience-related issues were among the most vexing, and longer-term initiatives were identified to track customers’ experience and address the gaps.
Brand is the Golden Thread
Aligning the product, customer, and employee experiences using the Brand Vision Framework helps the organization deliver a unified brand experience across these important audiences. The benefits of a strong brand manifest in increased customer purchase intent and loyalty, and enhanced talent recruiting, engagement and retention.