Why brand experience matters more in a digital age

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Brand experience in a digital age

The future is here prematurely. And while it has come as a bit of a shock, it’s remarkable how both businesses and consumers have pivoted. The sharp transition to a digital-only relationship has not stabilised to one that is now resolutely digital-first. 'Global Business Director Ian Howlett explains why that makes a unified brand experience more important than ever.'

In 2019, 70% of companies had a digital transformation strategy or were working on one, but only 7% of them had fully implemented them. We all know what happened next.

Suffice to say, 2020 saw both businesses and consumers pivot to a digital-only existence out of necessity, and timescales collapsed. Even before then, complementary megatrends such as urbanisation fuelled the acceleration of digital.

Our relationship to digital may now be more intense than ever, but it has also matured. We have, for the most part, become naturalised. It is perhaps this increased level of comfort, combined with the acceleration in the digital transition, that has encouraged consumers to experiment with new ways of accessing products and services. Broadly, brands can be understood as having been ‘born digital’ or ‘become digital’. ‘Born digital’ brands can sometimes lack brand depth, remaining overly transactional and more prone to substitution. ‘Become digital’ brands have the benefits of legacy in terms of brand strength, but also the disadvantage of sometimes cumbersome and poorly integrated channels, systems and operations.

While each faces different challenges, transformation is levelling the playing field. In an age of digital dexterity, customer and user experience have become essential pillars of business strategy. Whoever you are, a focus on creating a unified customer experience that spans all touchpoints, channels, platforms and mediums should be mandatory.

In Deloitte’s words, customers want a ‘single source of truth’. However, its research found a profound disconnect between customer expectations and the reality of their customer experience. Some 75% of consumers said they expected consistency in their interactions with a company, but 58% said they ‘felt they were communicating with separate departments and not one company’.

‘Brand experience (BX) focuses on how both employees and customers judge your company as a whole. Not technology, not data, not platform, not necessarily service on its own. Not siloed, but connected and integrated.’

Either you or the customer has to make the effort to integrate experiences across different channels. We feel that the burden of that work is better done by the brand than being left to the consumer. So, whether we talk about customer, user or brand experience, we’re really just talking about experiences that are good, rather than hampered by the tools and devices we use to get things done.

CX and UX aren’t new and have become the norm (and expected by customers). This is why you’ll find most businesses now tying them into their digital strategy. To differentiate, you need to focus on brand experience to set you apart. With only 15% of companies prioritising digital transformation, you’re at an advantage to set your brand apart with your BX strategy.

AlfieBoyley 2022 v2

AUTHOR

Alfie Boyle

Senior Strategist

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