What Is the Difference Between Brand and Customer Experience?

Transform your company's marketing, sales, and service processes by merging the brand and customer experiences.

May 16, 2023

Difference between brand and customer experience


Customer experience.

Brand experience.

These two buzzwords run rampant in the world of business strategy. Yet there’s a lot of confusion around how they work together to help the brand meet consumer expectations.

While every business needs loyal customers to thrive in a saturated marketplace, building brand loyalty is becoming more complex. In a recent survey, roughly 1 in 3 customers said they would quit doing business with a company after one poor experience. Trends in current data suggest that customer loyalty continues to decline as marketplace competition provides consumers with more choices.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected customers’ expectations. Studies show over 75 percent of customers have switched brands in recent months. In addition, supply chain issues and inflation have profoundly changed the consumer’s purchasing decision process.

What this information tells us is that businesses have little room for error.

Customer retention has always been challenging. But meeting customer expectations is becoming more difficult. To be successful, companies must create experiences for each relevant interaction with the brand across all business channels. Outstanding customer service isn’t enough anymore.

Instead, businesses must focus on building the brand experience and the customer experience.

In this post, we’ll explore the difference between the two and how to develop each one to improve customer relationships.

Brand experience vs. customer experience
IMAGE: The impact of a positive or negative customer experience

What Is the Customer Experience?

The customer experience (CX) is created through a series of touchpoints called the customer journey. Customer touchpoints are defined as individual interactions with a business that usually occur through marketing and communication strategies. Customer service calls, emails, website visits, and paid ads are examples of touchpoints.

The immediate reaction to and outcome of each touchpoint influences how existing customers perceive the company’s brand. A series of positive encounters throughout the customer journey builds a stronger connection with the company, which makes it more likely that people will keep buying from them.

This is a simple concept, but not always easy to execute.

For example, when most people think of the customer experience, they think of service. But that’s just one component.

Let’s dive deeper by looking at a few illustrations.

A company’s marketing, sales, and service processes contribute to a great customer experience. But often, these processes are managed independently, with minimal interaction among them. This approach often results in a disjointed or misaligned customer experience.

I’ll use marketing as another example. An e-commerce website is just one marketing touchpoint. The website’s user interface creates instant reactions whenever a visitor lands on it. But will it generate a positive reaction or a negative one? Websites that lack visual appeal and are difficult to navigate will turn visitors away.

The website also communicates the brand story and value proposition, which is integral to how the customer perceives the business. In this way, the website helps communicate an organization’s brand identity.

But an e-commerce website is also a sales tool used to drive revenue. So, the site must also perform well to generate new customers.

Given that a company’s website is a primary tool used in marketing campaigns, the customer’s experience with the website should be carefully considered during web development, not after.

The main ingredient in a positive customer experience is consistency. Without it, there’s little chance of increasing the value of the overall brand experience.

Customer Experience - Customer Journey Map Slide
IMAGE: Customer Journey Map

What Is the Brand Experience?

The brand experience is more complex than the customer experience. It’s a long-term strategy designed to build emotional connections and customer satisfaction. In simplest terms, a positive brand experience encourages consumers to become customers, while a negative one pushes them away.

Companies can use quantitative and qualitative data to assess the brand experience.

Examples of qualitative metrics are:

Brand-level awareness

Customer perception

Competitive market position

These factors are subjective. So, businesses must make more effort to evaluate them. Social listening, surveys, and a brand audit can provide insight into these metrics.

Examples of quantitative metrics are:

Website visitors

Engagement on social channels

Sign up rate for free trials and demos

Market share

Quantitative metrics are easier to track, given their numerical value.

Brand Experience Health Metrics
IMAGE: Brand Experience Health Metrics

Brand Health

Brand health refers to how well a company delivers on its promises to customers versus their expectations. The metrics used to assess brand health include net promoter score, share of voice, brand reputation, unprompted brand recall, prompted brand recall, purchase intent, and brand equity.

There are several ways to measure brand health, but most are forms of customer feedback, such as focus groups, questionnaires, and social listening tools.

The health of a brand with a positive reputation and a loyal customer base is easier to differentiate from competitors. On the other hand, a weak brand with a negative reputation can struggle to keep customers and may even experience a decline in sales.

Improving your brand’s health requires a strategy that addresses all aspects of the company’s success, from marketing to product development. The process includes targeted marketing campaigns, exceptional customer service, and innovative product offerings to remain closely connected to customers.

What Is a Brand Analysis?

Find out how to use a brand analysis to improve your company's competitive position and create an actionable plan to grow market share.

Brand and Customer Experience Design Goals

Now that we’ve clarified the differences between the customer and brand experiences, let’s look how to leverage them to for long-term growth.

The first step is to establish long-term growth goals. But these goals should be tangible and measurable. If they aren’t, your brand team won’t be successful building experiences that make a difference.

For example, businesses often set vague targets such as “get 5-star reviews.” But defining parameters for customer reviews is a more effective way to drive results.

A goal to maintain a 4.5-star review rating is clear. Well-defined targets like this one leave little room for interpretation. Defined goals reduce miscommunication and keep the organization on track.

Brands can use scoring metrics to grade every facet of their growth strategy, including the marketing, sales, and service processes.

Tracking relevant health indicators is the first step in developing a positive brand experience. A company must also know how to apply the information to drive positive change. Not all scoring systems or metrics will be suitable for every business. What matters is finding the method that works best for your business and industry.

Once brand leadership has optimized the brand and customer experiences, they can develop effective marketing strategies.

Improve Your Brand and Customer Experience with a Brand Audit

Assessing your organization’s current health is essential to developing exceptional experiences. A brand audit helps you identify areas of improvement and opportunities for growth.

Here’s how:

Develop your brand: A brand audit helps you align your identity, values, and personality attributes with the target audience. This creates stronger connections with potential customers.

Gain audience insights: Learn more about your customer’s needs, wants, and preferences. This will help you develop a customer experience that exceeds their expectations.

Become more competitive: A brand audit helps understand more about your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses.

Develop a better growth strategy: A brand audit helps you develop a strategy that aligns with your brand’s goals and objectives—the key to higher profitability.

Improve Your Customer Experience: An audit helps you identify how to improve your customer experience. This enables you to develop a customer-centric approach, which increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.

If you would like to know more about how The Brand Auditors can help you, click on the button below to schedule a free consultation with a strategist.

Chris Fulmer

Chris Fulmer

Brand Strategist | Managing Director

Chris Fulmer is a professional brand development manager who provides expert insights on brand strategy, media channels, and other essential information required for marketing success. This includes market research, analytics analysis, and web design best practices.

Are you ready to find out how a brand audit can transform your business?

Our brand audit process is a comprehensive analysis designed to help companies increase ROI and reduce marketing expenses.

  • Increase ROI on lead generation and sales conversions.
  • Reduce marketing expenses.
  • Strengthen brand positioning to become more competitive.

We guarantee satisfaction or get your money back! Schedule a discovery call with a brand auditor to find out more.

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