Have you ever been very excited about a product or service based on the advertising you’ve seen, only to be extremely disappointed and confused when you actually became a customer? It can be incredibly difficult for the strategies of the boardroom and marketing team to actually be executed on the front lines of customer experience.
Brand and Product Stories
In order to demonstrate this concept with a real-life example, take one of the many major, household companies out there that use contractors. Let’s use the example of a home improvement company. This company likely spends lots of money branding in a variety of different formats, like digital ad campaigns, ads on HGTV, or images in home magazines. They are a consumer brand that is telling the consumer, “we are going to help you make your home and your life better in these certain ways.” When a customer sees the product being used on an HGTV show or sees the spread in their favorite magazine, they are internalizing a certain idea about what the brand will deliver. However, when this consumer decides to be a consumer, and a contractor is sent out to their home, this contractor may or may not be a representation of what the brand has created with their marketing.
Too often, those marketing messages are not really communicated properly and adopted by the customer-facing people who are often the first major interaction with your brand. This creates a dissonance between what the marketing team is creating, and what the customer is actually receiving. The solution to this dissonance becomes finding a way to help marketers bring alignment between what they’re telling customers through marketing and advertising, and what the customer actually experiences at the point of contact.
Challenges to Creating Alignment
Part of the challenge of creating alignment is that large, consumer brands have a huge number of employees or brand representatives that are not clear on the message that they need to be conveying. The more people involved, the more complicated and the situation becomes. Additionally, many of these people are not getting the training that they need. The people responsible for carrying the brand message are equipped in various different ways to deliver the message, but this training is falling short. Product training does not help you understand how to convey a brand vision, or a differentiated story when you’re standing in front of a customer. Knowing the specs of what you’re seeling will only get you so far. You have to synthesize the story in order to create alignment between the product story and customer understanding and to do this, more training is required.