Customer Engagement Blossoms when Brand Personality and Tech Are Aligned
Technology impacts how consumers perceive and interact with your brand. In fact, from this time forward, it will likely be the driving force of every connection. That means any inconsistency in the experience across channels or in a single path, can dilute, weaken and ultimately destroy your brand-despite having the perfect position and personality for your audience. Technology is the voice of your brand; don’t let it distort your message.
How you present your personality to the world is absolutely impacted by technology, from the where, to the when, to the voice. When the conversations were one-way, brands had complete control and fewer options. Now communications are decidedly two-way between individuals and brands, if not between various groups of people and brands. From the consumer’s perspective, it’s simple. They just see your brand. But not so much in the reverse: where brands are trying to stitch together multiple contacts to aggregate a holistic view of the customer.
Where and When
One of the first and most critical things to consider for your tech decisions are where and when are you going to connect with your audience, i.e., where are the points of contact? Will it be in a brick- and-mortar retail environment? Will it be in the field with sales? Will it be remote and mobile 24/7 around the world? All of the above? Knowing where and how the customers want to interact with your brand, and what ways are consistent with your brand, are key to creating an authentic brand experience.
Not every channel is perfect for your audience; something you should discover as you go through the five gates of branding. For example, just because everyone in your audience has a mobile phone, doesn’t mean your entire audience is mobile. If you’re a sandwich chain, do you really think everyone wants a text from you every day? If you’re going to do that, it better be worth their time-and we suggest it better be hilarious.
On the other hand, some audiences will have a relationship with brands where they expect a two-way dialog in real time, whether it’s with a chatbot, live person, or even an interactive advertisement. People traveling are a great example. They want to know when they will arrive, depart, possibly what’s nearby between here and there-and they need to know quickly.
Like it or not (and you should like it) your brand is inextricably tied to its visual identity. This is the primary identifier for many consumers. The issue is that often tech can get in the way of presenting the experience that is consistent with the customer’s expectation of your brand. This could be any number of things, from mobile user interfaces that are too difficult to use or can’t match the desktop experience, or systems that don’t allow for the specific inputs an engineer might need. Understand what is possible and at what cost.
Don’t Forget about You!
Yes, the customer experience is critical. There is no business without customers. It’s also critical to consider what information you need to continuously improve the customer experience, ensure that your associates have the information they need to make that experience happen, and guarantee that your business is sustainable (not-so-code for profitable). That means you are likely to have a variety of technology requirements, and that all those tech systems are going to have to work together. It also means that somebody is going to be responsible for making it happen. Beyond that, who is going to translate the data into actionable information for both the customer and the organization? It’s key that organizations have an extendable and agile roadmap that can grow with them into the future. Few things are more frustrating than investing in a platform only to quickly outgrow it or to find out later it doesn’t play well with technology that would make a difference for your customers and business.
Beauty in Growth
When you throw in all the possible channels, devices and countless locations, the tech challenge for brands is real. When you get it right, it will appear natural and organic, blossoming into a strong identity and defined personality. When it’s done wrong, everyone is reminded that it’s not as easy as it looks, and nothing grows in the wrong environment. To start, consider the customer expectations as your environment and go with solutions that enable you to thrive there.