How To Integrate the Brand and Customer Experience

By: Adam Carpenter on July 27, 2023
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Marketing professionals and business leaders often struggle to deliver customer experiences that align with their brand's promise. Any gaps between the brand's offerings and potential customers' wants can negatively impact sales.

To avoid this hassle, small business owners can garner their target audience's trust by offering a better customer experience (CX) than their counterparts. Integrating customers' wants with their brand experience (BX) can help businesses improve the effectiveness of their marketing goals.

In this article, we'll discuss customer and brand experience (BX), learn four strategies for integrating BX and CX, and discuss key considerations to know as you align the two.

What are the definitions of brand experience (BX) and customer experience (CX)?

Brand experience refers to how people think and feel about your brand due to your business initiatives. Creating your desired brand experience centers on some long-term strategies that you plan to drive brand equity and eventually convert prospects into customers effectively. 

Customer experience involves customers' interactions with the physical and digital touchpoints of your brand offerings. Meanwhile, brand experiences consist solely of how people feel about your brand.

For instance, suppose you have a web app you sell on a subscription basis. You could use it to show positive imagery featuring young, confident, happy people using your product. Such a visual may convey an initial brand experience that appeals to an energetic, optimistic demographic.

However, if someone using your web app faces slow page loads or complex navigation, they may not relate to the brand image you wanted to create. In such cases, the lack of interconnect between BX and CX may imply a drop in your sales and market value. Consequently, your reputation may take a hit, leading your prospects to choose your competitors over you.

You can overcome these challenges by understanding BX and CX through a different approach.

  • Brand experience is inside-out and answers the question, "How are you presenting yourselves to improve your brand’s image for the customer?"

  • Customer experience is outside-in and focuses on the question, "How are you serving your customers to effectively boost their satisfaction and overall experience?"

Businesses need to interconnect brand and customer experience to avoid the trap of claiming X but delivering Y. Integrating BX and CX to ensure transparency in the brand"s promises and results helps them build trust and loyalty with their prospects. 

With the help of the strategies in this article, you can align your brand and customer experiences to make them complementary partners instead of two different—even opposing—sides of your marketing coin.

4 Strategies to integrate your brand and customer experience 

1. Use customer insights to build your brand promise

When your brand promise aligns with customer benefits, you drastically reduce the risk of over-promising and under-delivering with your brand collateral. The most straightforward way to accomplish this is to build your brand promise using customer insights.

For example, in your initial testing or early-release phases, you can take subjective notes to understand how your product impacts your customers" daily lives. If having a web app eases navigation for your customers, then you have an effective starting point.

With the app as brand collateral, people can easily choose their desired products on your e-commerce platform and check out anywhere, anytime. The app's remote online ordering online option will help you promote your brand to a more active, busy demographic. 

For example, you can showcase people taking a break at work and purchasing your product via the web app. You could also feature people smiling and sharing their screens with friends as they create their shopping cart in your easy-to-use app. 

Using customer experience data can help you avoid painting a false brand identity—and reinforce a consistent brand experience.

2. Focus on personal instead of functional or societal benefits

Another effective strategy to integrate your BX and CX is to focus on the customer's personal benefits instead of the functional and societal benefits. This is because personal benefits contribute about 30% to brand commitment, and societal and functional benefits contribute 9% and 11%, respectively.[1]

Functional benefits include those that underscore the effectiveness of a solution's operation, and societal benefits include the perks that your solution may bring to society as a whole. However, personal benefits impact your customers on a personal level and hence, resonate better with your target customer. This will help you win your customer's trust. 

3. Design brand-oriented customer experience initiatives using your brand’s personal benefits

You can connect your BX and CX by highlighting elements of your offering that directly underscore its personal benefits.

For example, suppose your company manufactures efficient microchips that make computers powerful enough to process machine-learning algorithms across vast data sets. The societal benefits of your product—faster advances in the machine learning sphere and reduced power consumption—are obvious, but they may not help you integrate CX and BX.

On the other hand, faster processing times can save data engineers hours of work. Also, the reduced power consumption can lower the monthly energy bill data centers have to bear.

Promoting these attributes in your branding will help you integrate your customers' experience with their thoughts about your brand.

4. Facilitate collaboration and coordination between customer experience and brand teams

Collaboration across brand teams is important to gather the information you need for integrating BX and CX. Each team's day-to-day professional lives center on what makes customers happy or evokes the most effective emotions. By bringing both parties to the table, you can glean helpful insights toward helping BX and CX work together.

Also, collaboration between CX and BX teams can eliminate miscommunications or misperceptions that could result in disparate experiences.

Let's say the CX team feels that the desired BX prioritizes convenience and ease of use. But, in reality, the BX team's goal is to convey a feeling of comfort or reliability in the security a solution offers. While the two can be complementary, they're still different. Collaborating around elements contributing to achieving the BX goal can clear up confusion. If both teams work towards the same, shared, crystal-clear objectives, it will become easier to achieve desired business results.

To formalize and facilitate collaboration between CX and BX teams, you can:

  • Set up periodic meetings instead of those that only happen before notable project launches. By making these meetings regular and predictable, you'll weave them into your teams' weekly work experiences.

  • Formalize these collaboration sessions by planning leaders ahead of time.

  • Change leaders occasionally to diversify the voices and ideas that surface.

  • Announce meetings and session leader(s) well ahead of time to build anticipation and allow sufficient preparation time so the presenters can prepare to put their best foot forward.

Key considerations as you integrate brand experience and customer experience

Here are some important thoughts to consider as you integrate BX and CX:

  • Overcome BX/CX disconnect. Recognize and bring your team’s attention to the fact that BX and CX often work independently. Also, underscore the importance of bucking this trend in your organization.

  • Posit BX around personal benefits. Developing a systematic approach to focus BX around personal benefits will help you drive brand commitment effectively. 

  • Partner with brand strategy teams. Removing friction from the purchase funnel isn’t enough to attract and retain customers. You should aim to partner with brand strategy teams to elevate the value of customer experience in your organization.

Promoting these principles may result in some resistance, at least at first. Hence, it is crucial to concretely outline the benefits of your CX/BX integration. You can do this by walking stakeholders through what customer experiences and feels at various stages of their interaction with your branding and products. As stakeholders see how fluidity can build traction and improve customer loyalty, they may be more likely to get on board.

Next steps

Using the above-mentioned strategies and key considerations will help your business avoid misaligning brand promises and customer needs or wants. Further, crafting your BX around personal benefits will help you stay true to your promises, reducing any chances of damaging your reputation. 

Also, understanding the independent nature of BX and CX will help you to foster formal, regular collaborations between the BX and CX teams. Consistent connections across teams may increase the chances of them feeding off of and supporting each other.

As you plan your next steps to craft effective BX and CX, choose the right software to help your business achieve desired results. Check out some resources that may help you get there: