The Difference Between Brand and Customer Experience [BX vs. CX]
Successful companies know the difference between the brand and customer experience. Read this to find out how you can use both to increase customer loyalty.
October 30, 2023
These two largely misunderstood buzzwords run rampant in the world of business strategy. Yet, both play a critical role in a brand's success. In this post, we’ll explore the key differences between the two and their relationship. We'll also look at how to develop each experience to fuel business growth.
Brand Experience (BX): The Perception
The brand experience is the overall impression consumers have of your business. This impression evolves from a collection of brand signals and touchpoints.
The brand experience can be a vague concept. But you could say it represents the who, what, and why of your brand.
Examples of visual brand experience elements are:
Marketing assets (i.e., brochures, business cards)
Other elements of the brand experience are intangible, such as:
Why Is the Brand Experience Important?
The brand experience influences customer loyalty and purchasing decisions. A study by InMoment shows that 77 percent of customers have stayed loyal to their favorite companies for over a decade. This finding emphasizes the importance of an exceptional brand experience.
Brand Experience Examples
Several companies have harnessed the power of brand experience to build a devoted customer base. Let's look at one of them.
Tesla has revolutionized the automobile industry with its innovative electric cars. The brand focuses on its mission to "accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible."
Tesla's brand experience is built on three core elements: innovation, sustainability, and exclusivity. The company uses cutting-edge technology superior to its competition. Tesla also emphasizes its commitment to environmental sustainability. This is a key selling point for many modern consumers.
Tesla's marketing relies on word-of-mouth and the personal brand of its CEO, Elon Musk. The company doesn't spend money on traditional advertising. Rather, it leverages social media, high-profile events, and press coverage to remain visible. This approach reinforces the exclusivity and premium nature of the Tesla brand.
Crafting Your Unique Brand Experience
The first step in creating a memorable brand experience is to understand the audience. You must know their likes, dislikes, needs, challenges, and desires. Then, you can leverage these to build an experience that attracts those customers.
Conduct surveys and interviews to find out what customers like and don't like about your brand. It's best to ask direct questions because there is less room for misinterpretation. Be sure to ask the same questions about your competitors. This will give you an idea of how customers compare your brand to others.
Once you have a clear picture of your target audience, you can build out the brand experience. The customer journey is an effective way to develop an experience blueprint.
Start by mapping out every point of interaction between your customer and brand. The website, social media, and emails are examples of online interactions. Physical stores, events, or customer service interactions are offline examples. Mapping the customer journey helps you develop a smoother brand experience. It will also give you a chance to correct any existing gaps or problems.
The final step is to align the brand identity and experience. Consumers have specific expectations of how a brand should look and conduct business.
For instance, people usually expect to see a doctor in scrubs or a white coat. They've been conditioned to associate this attire with the medical industry. Likewise, consumers have similar expectations for companies in your industry. Assess your logo, imagery, and tone of communication to make sure they align with customers' expectations.
Customer Experience (CX): The Fulfillment
While the brand experience is about perception, the customer experience is about delivery. This process begins with brand awareness and continues through post-sale service.
In a recent survey, one in three customers said they would quit doing business with a company after one poor experience. Trends in current data suggest that brand loyalty continues to decline.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected customers’ expectations. Studies show over 75 percent of customers switched brands during the pandemic. Supply chain issues and inflation have changed the purchasing decision process.
These studies tell us that businesses have little room for error.
Customer retention has always been challenging. But meeting customer expectations is becoming even more difficult. Outstanding customer service isn’t enough anymore. Now, companies must do more across all channels to keep customers happy.
Understanding Customer Experience
The customer experience is the end-to-end journey people have with a business.
An optimal customer experience focuses on delivering solutions to the customer's problems. Like the brand experience, it begins with understanding their needs and wants. Companies must then make it easy and enjoyable for customers to interact with the brand.
For instance, good website design helps the customer find and understand your offer. Content that tells a story and is backed by statistics can show that your product is the solution they need. Effective use of industry-specific terminology reinforces your brand's authority. An efficient and empathetic customer service can make a positive impression.
Looking at all these interactions, we can see that each one builds on the others. Yet, if a customer has just one poor interaction, it undermines the entire experience.
The Impact of Customer Experience on Loyalty, Retention, and Revenue
The customer experience plays a key role in attracting and retaining customers. Recent research showed improved CX can increase company revenue by 10-15 percent.
Statistics highlight the correlation between customer experience, customer loyalty, and revenue growth. It costs five times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. And returning customers are likely to spend 67 percent more than new ones.
Customer Experience Examples at Different Touchpoints
Every interaction between a company and a customer is an opportunity to build a long-term relationship. Here's how businesses can make an impact across various touchpoints:
Online: Having a user-friendly and intuitive website makes navigation easy for customers. Incorporating live chat support can provide immediate help, which enhances the online experience.
Offline: Exceptional customer service, on the phone or face-to-face, makes a positive impression.
In-Store: An enjoyable shopping environment can elevate the in-store experience. This includes the proper layout, signage, and friendly staff interaction.
Delivery: Prompt and reliable delivery services show respect for customers' time. This enhances brand perception.
Customer Experience and Company Branding
Your company's branding is a part of its customer experience.
Let's start with the visual aspects of branding. These include your logo, website design, product packaging, and even social media graphics. A visually appealing brand is essential in creating a positive first impression. But, visual branding that is inconsistent or outdated signals a lack of professionalism.
Your brand message communicates your company's values and promises to customers. Companies that clearly communicate a compelling brand message foster trust and credibility. For instance, Patagonia's sustainability messaging has made it a favorite with eco-conscious consumers.
A consistent brand identity is essential to the customer experience. Consumers value transparency and authenticity. You can use each touchpoint of the customer experience to show them that your brand has both.
Strategies to Improve Customer Experience
Creating an exceptional customer experience requires more than just a customer-centric mindset. There are specific strategies businesses should adopt:
Personalization: Experiences based on individual customer preferences build brand affinity. This could range from personalized email marketing to AI-driven product recommendations.
Omnichannel Strategy: A consistent experience across all channels (online, offline, in-store, or mobile) reinforces the brand's value.
Listening to Customers: Routinely getting feedback keeps brands in touch with their customers. You can use insights from feedback to improve your customer experience.
Leading by Example: Excelling in Customer Experience
The marketing, sales, and service processes contribute to a successful customer experience. But often, businesses manage these processes independently, with minimal interaction among them. This approach often results in a disjointed experience.
Imagine this scenario: A potential customer discovers your brand through a paid ad campaign (marketing). From there, they decide to buy your product (sales). Then, they receive excellent post-purchase support (service). This is the ideal customer experience that every business should aim for.
However, there is often a disconnect between marketing, sales, and service teams.
These three teams usually operate in silos, each focusing on their specific goals. This siloed approach often results in disjointed customer experiences. For instance, a customer might receive promotional emails for a product they've already purchased. Or, a sales rep may lack crucial information about a customer's past interactions with the brand. This can lead to customer frustration and a bad online review.
The solution is a collaborative approach.
When marketing, sales, and service teams work together, they can create a superior experience. Collaboration allows for the sharing of valuable customer data and insights across teams. The result is effective marketing, informed sales reps, and proactive customer service.
Let's look at how teams can collaborate using one touchpoint.
An e-commerce website is a marketing touchpoint. The website should enhance the visitor's experience. But will it generate a positive interaction or a negative one?
The website also communicates the brand's value proposition. This influences how the customer perceives the business. In this way, the website contributes to an organization’s brand identity.
However, an e-commerce website is also a sales tool used to drive revenue. That means the site must also perform well to generate new customers. The company should plan for the website's user experience before development, not after.
Meanwhile, your service team can help you make sure there's a responsive support system in place for post-purchase queries. The result? A holistic website experience that keeps customers coming back.
Measuring and Adapting: The Key to Continuous Improvement
To enhance the customer experience, it's essential to measure customer satisfaction levels. Tools like surveys, user testing, and analytics can provide valuable data. Metrics such as Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) can gauge customer sentiment and guide improvements.
Remember, improving customer experience is not a one-time initiative. It's a continuous process of learning, adapting, and improving.
Merging the Brand and Customer Experience
Brand experience and customer experience are not isolated concepts. They're two sides of the same coin. A compelling brand experience attracts customers. But without a solid customer experience to back it up, the initial allure will fade.
Businesses need to weave their brand and customer experiences together. This creates a synergy that builds a solid foundation for engagement and drives repeat business. The process goes beyond making a sale. It builds enduring customer relationships rooted in trust and mutual benefit.
Improve the Brand and Customer Experiences with an 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.
Develop your brand: A brand audit helps you align your identity and values 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: An audit helps you understand more about your competitors so you can improve your brand's market position.
Develop a better growth strategy: An audit helps you develop a strategy with higher profit potential.
Improve Your Customer Experience: An audit helps you identify how to improve your customer experience.
Do you want to build better brand and customer experiences? Click the button below to set up a free consultation.
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