01 Feb 2016

Good enough for you, or only just good enough for customers?

Mike Rigby, Managing Director of MRA Marketing, says a brand is as much about the person who answers the phone as it is about pretty logos and slick advertising.

Mike Rigby, Managing Director of MRA Marketing, says a brand is as much about the person who answers the phone as it is about pretty logos and slick advertising.

Pretty logos, cool looks and slick advertising may win awards, but do they tell a true story? Does your customer’s brand experience match your brand promise?

It’s not surprising there’s a lot of consumer mistrust of big B2C brands. Big brands invest huge amounts of time, resource and money into repeatedly drumming their message into customers’ minds, but do they put as much time and effort into customers’ experience of the brand? Do they do what they promise?

Many brands think style is the message; that it’s all about appearances. But a stylish advert or smart website are just surface effects. They’ll only get you so far. And you can come unstuck if the surface is not what’s underneath.

On brand, on target advertising can be powerful and effective if it matches the experience of customers when they engage with you. But if their experience tells a different story your marketing will be wasted.

A brand is as much about the person who answers the phone, makes your product with care, serves you over the counter or delivers your order, as it is about marketing furniture like logos and a lovely look.

Apple is a brand that does it beautifully. Clever adverts, wonderfully minimalist shops, lovely packaging, stylish hardware and intuitive software combine to tell a story that blends seamlessly into one overwhelmingly positive experience. Apple joins up the dots, and lives and breathes the brand in everything it says and does. Very few brands do that.

We’re all clued up enough to know when a deal is too good to be true. But as consumers we do expect a level of respect from the brands we buy from. Nobody likes to be lied to or cheated. The buying process, like Apple’s, should be thoroughly positive, or as pain-free as possible. So why can it feel sometimes like you’ve been tossed into a washing machine on the full spin cycle? Anyone who’s bought tickets on a budget airline website, and negotiated the traps and diversions to make you spend more than you want to, knows what that feels like.

You get what you pay for, perhaps. And while some of the bigger known names in the budget travel sector are making efforts to improve their customer service, the reality is, we don’t expect that much of them.
It’s the brands that do offer a lot and don’t deliver that disappoint the most.

If you advertise what you’d like customers to think, rather than what they experience, factor in the cost of their disappointment and frustration at being misled.

Become a customer for a day. If your customer experience delights you, your brand will grow. It it’s barely enough to stop customers complaining your brand experience should be your next project.

Need help improving your brand experience? Talk to Tom Rigby on 01453 521621 or tom@mra-marketing.com.

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