In my career, I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some iconic brands in varying industries:  food and beverage, hotel, travel, and now, consumer electronics.  What I always find so fascinating is that, across industries, there are far more similarities than differences.  The goal is typically singular:  we are all seeking to serve our employees and our customers, well, in a way that is consistent with our brand.  Period.  In theory, this makes sense.  But in practice, it’s more complicated.  So, how do you go about doing this?  Where do you even start?  Look no further than your brand purpose.

Most brands have some type of purpose or mission statement, with perhaps even values and principles that help to ‘bring your culture’ and purpose to life for your employees.  This is your starting point for building a brand experience that resonates for your customers.  You may ask, does this matter?  Yes!  It absolutely matters.  Your brand purpose is not unlike your identity in a nutshell, and it becomes the ‘north star’ for which you can build your brand experience.

You may also ask: What’s the difference between a ‘brand experience’ versus a ‘customer experience?’  I hear this question a great deal, each time I have the pleasure of speaking as a keynote or otherwise for various organizations.  And the answer is this:  the brand experience drives the employee and the customer experience.  And if you don’t think it does, you aren’t looking at it through the right lens.  The lens being this one question: does this feel ‘on brand?’  Meaning, is this aligned with our core values?  Is it aligned with our brand purpose and/or principles?  If the answer is no, then you aren’t creating a customer or employee experience that is on brand.  This is important because at the end of the day, your ‘brand’ strategy informs your customer experience.

So, I realize this is a lot, but it doesn’t have to be.  (There are even agencies that build their business on crafting this experience journey for you and can help you bring it to life.)  But that’s another conversation for another day. What I really want you to think about is once you’ve done the great thinking to build your brand experience, how do you then go about creating your ideal customer experience and in a way that feels branded?  This is where simplicity is key.  If you have a brick and mortar business, then you can bring your brand to life simply by choosing careful wording in your messaging, selecting a visual identity that resonates throughout, and oh by the way, think about the service level decision making.  Wait….WHAT?  Decision making? Yes, you heard me.  If you are considering what your team says, and whether they have the ability to decide in the moment to please a customer, then YOU are thinking through a branded lens.  Not kidding.  And if you aren’t then, well… you know, you are likely vulnerable within the marketplace.  And again, I’m not kidding.

Take a look at brands that you are loyal to, brands that resonate with you, brands that you ADVOCATE.  These are the brands that have successfully threaded the experience throughout each stop along the CX journey.  AND, the same is true for those who have not successfully done so… and perhaps with whom you have had a negative experience.

So, I implore you to consider this question again:  do this feel on brand?  Does your CX journey feel on brand? Does it resonate… or better said… does it drive advocacy?  If the answer is no, or worse yet, if the answer is that you don’t know, then I would highly recommend that you pause and revisit the voice of your customer data.  Understand and know your customer first, for therein lies the truth of your ‘branded’ path forward.

Rachelle has been a global Customer and Brand Experience leader throughout the entirety of her career.  She is a hospitality veteran and industry influencer who believes that a customer’s experience will never exceed that of an employee.

Rachelle is presently the Vice President of Member Care for Cricut, the world’s leading ‘smart’ cutting machine innovator.  In this role, she is responsible for leading the brand’s global contact center along with the CX strategy, measurement, and customer journey. Previously, Rachelle served as Vice President, Customer Relations and Brand Experience at Signature Flight Support, as Global Brand & Guest Experience Director at InterContinental Hotels Group, and as Head of Global Guest Experience, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Incorporated.