Brand Equity in an Omni-channel World
Multi-channel marketing is a tactical approach which has evolved from offline channels like direct mail and telemarketing to include a vast number of online channels including owned, paid and earned tactics. Marketers have been tying together branding across channels for a long time by integrating brand elements, messaging and call-to-actions.
The prevalence and adoption of mobile, and the "technology always" millennial generation are game changers to branding. Multi-channel marketing efforts have moved from picking a segment, a message and channel(s), to continuous marketing pushed across omni-channel platforms. See my article How to Match Digital Experience Tactics to User Scenarios.
Brand equity provides the foundation for economic transactions….. “who are you doing busy with?” Vision, goals, strategies and tactics for attracting and retaining customers are tied to the brand equity framework.
Traditionally, the ability to attract new customers is largely perceptual. Because prospects do not have actual brand experience, they must go by what they hear, see and believe about a brand. On the other hand the ability to retain customers is largely experiential, and is connected to customer loyalty and perception of value.
Today and going forward though, platform experiences need to be part of both the attraction and retention equations. Platforms include both online and offline channels.
Brand imagery is made up of general "corporate" elements, and specific "performance" elements, all traditionally delivered through controlled marketing communications and uncontrolled press and word of mouth. Performance elements now include prospect platform experience. These would be experiences during the awareness, consideration and transactional phases of the buyer journey.
Brand loyalty is measured by customer satisfaction, customer commitment and customer advocacy. Customers are satisfied through three elements: good customer experience, their purchase continues to meet life cycle needs, and no replacement products available. Customer experience includes product, service and now platform experiences.
Customer attraction experiences are now both perceptual, i.e. the brand is telling the prospect how great their experience is, and experiential, i.e. the prospect is actually experiencing the experience. Customer retention experiences are 100% experiential, i.e. customers are experiencing the product, servicing and platform.
So how do you evolve brand equity in an omni-channel world? Here are a few ideas;
- Understand that attracting new customers is an art and a science
- Learn about the brand equity framework and elements
- Rank the importance of value and performance imagery with your prospects
- Rank the importance of value and loyalty with your customers
- Determine what prospects and customers define as an average, great and exceptional platform experience
- Develop a platform experience to meet the expectations of your prospects and customers across the omni-channel. If platform experience is ranked high then develop a platform that exceeds expectations.
- Tell your prospects how great your platform experience really is. Make it a key brand equity performance image, and then use it throughout your structured and unstructured communications.
- Deliver an expected prospect buying journey
- Deliver expected product and service experiences in addition to platform experiences to customers
- Encourage customers to share their experiences through social media and communities. Ask customers for testimonials and support word of mouth marketing.
Brand marketers should exploit their prospect and customer journey experiences. They should formalize omni-channel platform experience as a key image performance element, and get customers to share their positive experiences with the world. Digital and technology leaders should develop omni-channel platform experiences knowing that this work will become a key brand performance element.