How to link brand, CX and digital to drive measurable results

Now that we've reviewed the Value Platform and Value Archetype™ concepts, let's see it in action. I originally designed the Value Platform™ to address a common problem that I saw in the brand strategy world: the lack of connective tissue between the brand strategy and everything else. 

What I learned after delving deeply into the CX and digital worlds at Forrester was that a) I had made the mistake of not ensuring brand strategies I designed in the past were actionable, and b) nearly everyone else is making the same mistake today. I see three reasons for this: 

  • Expertise: Most brand firms don't delve into customer-centric operating models -- governance, culture, processes, metrics, etc. -- and CX and digital firms are usually too deep in the weeds on execution. 
  • Empowerment: CMOs are often not empowered to operationalize the brand promise across the organization, and CX/Digital leaders aren't empowered to set the customer-centric direction for the company. 
  • Silos. Enough said. 

The massive drawbacks to this siloed nature of brand, CX and digital include:

  • The customer ends up getting a fragmented experience that doesn't deliver on the brand promise.
  • Employees are often left wondering, "I don't know how to use the brand promise in my daily activities." The CMO's peers wonder that as well, and therefore the CMO doesn't gain the credibility to get a real seat at the table. 
  • Enormous inefficiencies and lost revenue result by pouring money into the top of the funnel where brand has influence, without strengthening the bottom of the funnel (loyalty and advocacy) by operationalizing the brand promise in CX. You end up replacing the customers leaking out the bottom instead of being additive. 
  • The organization typically doesn't know what to measure, so they boil the ocean. Done properly and seamlessly, metrics that are aligned across brand, CX, digital and the entire business will focus employees on what matters most for driving attraction and retention-based loyalty based on the brand promise. 

How to connect the dots

We start with the Value Archetype. Why? It's essential to define value in the customers' terms. What will motivate them to buy from you, love you, and advocate for you? It all comes down to how you make them feel and how you meet their needs, as well as what differentiates you from other options. 

The below chart shows two very different directions that a hypothetical Financial Services firm could go. Feeling secure and confident is a tablestake in the FiServ sector, so how could you combine Security with another Archetype to create an ownable, differentiated brand concept? 

  • Security + Freedom appeals to the customer who wants to delegate to the expert. They don't really understand finances, and they don't want to know. They'd rather have someone take this worry off their plate so they can focus on other parts of their lives. 
  • Security + Control appeals to the opposite type of customer: the one who wants to take control of their financial future and make the decisions with some support. 

Think of these universal archetypes as "cheat codes" for strategy. Depending on how you combine them, you can build value platform options that lead to very different ways to operationalize, as you can see from the chart.

The critical step is to define the right attributes. Most brand strategy projects will define a personality for the brand, but it's very difficult for digital, service, ops, etc. to action on a personality. By prioritizing the actionable attributes that are most likely to motivate your priority customer, you give the rest of the organization a foothold -- something in the brand to grab onto for direction. 

What I haven't defined here is what it means for the operating model, but you can see where I'm headed. The culture, decision-making, processes, and resource allocation will all be quite different depending on which direction you head with the Value Platform. Perception metrics should focus on only what's shown in this grid, which eliminates the need for 'boil the ocean' customer surveys. Operational metrics are then chosen based on what's important for driving the intended brand perception. Everything else is optional. 

Fiserv example brand cx.png

And now, dear reader... what do you think? What are the common challenges you face in integrating brand, CX and digital? If I haven't addressed them here, I'll do it in the next post.