Why Communication Professionals must help build a Brand Experience

Pedro shared a video about why “Experience is the New Product”, his presentation at NEXT Berlin.

You should watch it or at least read the slides.

His point is clear, products can be copied while a true experience can’t. He makes a strong case to why companies need to invest in Experience design but I feel the method he proposes can be improved.

From a Design to a Communication Approach

Pedro is asking all the right questions:

  • Who are our Users/Customers
  • Which are their Contexts?
  • What do they want?
  • What do they need to accomplish the tasks?
  • What do we need/wish from them?
  • Where will those actions take place?
  • Which channels are involved?

The problem is that this approach focuses on a few key external factors, and although they are in fact the most important there are a number of other things to consider.

Lets start from the inside out. First, what are the key departments in your organization that impact customer experience?

One of them will no doubt be customer support. Do they have the right tools, can they solve customer requests easily and most of all do they provide you with information to improve your product/service and experience?

You will no doubt find out that there are a number of people inside your company that impact Experience and at the same time have a number of obstacles to deal with in the day-to-day. As communication professionals we need to be alert to these and other issues and bring these departments on board to help design the customer experience.

Not all stakeholders are internal

You probably have a number of suppliers and other key partnerships to help deliver your product or service. These can be whoever delivers your raw materials, customer support service, handles your deliveries or showcases your product online or offline. Ask yourself who handles this relationship and to what extent you can work with external stakeholders to improve the overall experience.

Meet your customers half-way

Don’t just ask who your customers are, they can’t be a distant entity. Instead, get the demographics, find out where and how they communicate, find ways to get feedback on what they love and hate about the Experience you’re trying to build.

Also, don’t think of your customer as “Everyone”, or “the demographic of people male and female from 18 to 60 years old”. You are either trying to sell more to your current customers or looking to expand your customer base. Either way, your resources are limited and you can’t communicate with “Everyone”.

More often than not, the whole Experience ends in the sale of a product, but that is actually when a new phase of that same Experience begins.

The Experience Brief

The relevant departments of an organization should all be given an “Experience Brief”. This brief should outline challenges and aspects to improve, giving an overview of the whole Experience the customer goes through and setting a six to twelve month deadline to improve.

This does not mean that the brief should be solved by the end of the year. It should in fact be a work in progress with learning shared between everyone. Most of all, the Experience Brief should be a compromise to improve the relationship with key stakeholders and build a true Brand Experience.

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