Create and maintain a relevant brand experience makes the difference
The companies face a world that, day by day is becoming more complex and paradigmatic. The range of products and services is growing exponentially, competition has overcome geographic barriers and what still worse there are similar offers in excess.
For their part, customers are better informed, they seek for offers that are unique and differential to help them on building their self-expression, a proposal financially attractive, and as if that were not enough, they have less time to decide what to buy and use.
These facts establish the need for an excellent and innovative offer that considers a new dimension useful to distinguish it from other products and services that meet the same needs. This new dimension is what is known as a brand experience.
As such, a relevant and effective brand experience has to be seductive and sedative, or an element which triggers the deepest desires of the person and simultaneously reduce their level of uncertainty, thus driving to action and streamline the processes of thought and decision.
The brand experience goes beyond the name, symbol, sound and/or any combination of these aspects, although, of course, included. It considers aspects such as:
- The place where the supply is submitted, whether real or virtual
- Associated services before, during and after the sale
- The availability of the product or service
- The value that is given to the offer, beyond the price
- The intrinsic value of the product or service
- The communication of the offer in all its possible aspects
- The brand as a synthesis of the value proposition of the company
This is the way of how it was transformed into a strategic asset of the company, which must be managed and monitored, both at the level of assumptions (efficacy) as well as at the accomplishment of the defined goals (efficiency).
Managing the brand experience is an imperative for the company
In one way or another, the entire organization is committed to the success:
- Employees, in or out the moment of truth, are those that convey the values that make the company unique
- The product or service is the final element which verifies compliance with the value proposition
- Communication builds the image, which honestly, represents the identity of the company and manages the call to action idea that differentiates the company from competition
To ensure coherency and consistency in the brand experience there must be a deliberate planning and strategic alignment with the company definitions at the highest level, to ensure their proper execution and observation, considering all the key business audiences, be they consumers, customers, channel , Employees, shareholders, and so on.
In this sense, and considering the need to act fast, short-term imperatives of managing the brand experience must be aligned with the strategic decisions that address the creation of long-term value.
This makes the need for an effective control system that is not limited to performance metrics, but it’s useful to take decisions based on relations of the type of cause and effect linking the objectives outlined in the strategy with the day-to-day brand experience execution.
Observe what is executed and decide central issues belongs to top management
The Marketing & Branding Balanced Scorecard (MBBS) is a system for strategic management of the brand experience, which translates the strategy into tangible and verifiable goals. It is the balance between past results and the measures that will guide future performance:
- Clarifies and translates the brand strategy
- Communicates and correlates strategic objectives of the brand experience with the metrics that measure their performance
- Plans, sets goals and aligns strategic initiatives
- Aligns the goals of the business units to give substance to the value proposition of the company
- Improves the strategic response and knowledge
- Uses a limited number of indicators (usually no more than 20) that allows a quick understanding of the business strategy and brand experience
The MBBS helps to link facts that build the brand experience ““often uncoordinated, the company and its key audiences, by integrating metrics derived from the strategy to streamline its management, prioritizing what matters and promoting organizational learning.
The brand strategy is built from the values that convey the company’s strategic objectives pursued by the business, brand assets, functionality (to create awareness and consideration) and emotional elements that differentiate the offer (to create preference and sales).
These values are recognized differently by each key audience:
- Towards the customers, reputation
- Towards employees, internal alignment
- Toward shareholders, creating value from the brand experience as an asset of the business
The MBBS links these interests from different perspectives by bringing together the cause and effect relationships. The most visible result so will the financial perspective.
The truth is that those results expressed in Euros/US$/Pounds”¦ will depend on the success that the company and its products and services have to make its audiences live the value proposition of the company, what ultimately depend on the ability to change and innovate which has the organization.
For the shareholder may be important, among other metrics, recognizing the value of the brand. But at this point it must be made several clarifications and “topples a myth.”
Let us start with the latter, tear down the myth that “the brand is the most important asset of the business.” The brand experience is a key asset, however, is not necessarily the most important. Let us see an example:
- General Electric-GE, is the fourth largest brand value according to the rankings produced by Interbrand. But when we compare this value to the business, the brand represents less than 7% of the value of it. In this case the brand is not the most important asset of the company. This does not diminish the importance, however, when making business decisions, the brand will have a subsidiary role
- GAP, is in the ranked 40. The Gap brand is worth almost six times lower than GE, however, regarding the business value, it represents more than half of it. In this case, the brand itself is the most important asset of the company. Any act that harms the brand experience will have a profound impact on the value of the business. And possibly in relative terms, is more complex strategically manage the GAP brand that the GE one
The clarifications relate to the indicator in itself and with the way it is calculated:
- The calculation of brand value is a subjective and controversial subject. It is partly a science and partly an art
- Among the various models for valuing brands, the “valuation for its use” may be the most suitable for marketing and the one that is better associated with other variables of the MBBS
- The decisions that can be taken with the value of the brand are few and are related to merger and acquisition, licensing and franchising, indirectly fund raising to presentations to analysts
- What is true is that it is almost impossible to reduce the richness of the brand experience to a single metric
The metric related to the financial perspective, properly orchestrated, will depend on those that relate to the customer in a given competitive environment.
There are two main sections that make up this part of the MBBS:
- The customer – consumer, either potential or actual
- The competitive environment in which the brand experience lives
Within the metrics used in the market perspective, there are some that measure the image and others that measure the identity of the company
- Measures Image: Metrics associated with the recognition, familiarity and consideration
- Measures of identity: Metrics associated with the purchase decision and customer loyalty
Following the logic of cause and effect of MBBS within the variables that are in the hands of the company and can help to make substantial improvements, there are those that cater to the internal objectives and ensure that the brand experience is consistent across the organization, including, in some cases, their marketing channels (and support the value proposition that is communicated to the market).
This is not a minor issue. Cooperation and coordination. It goes beyond choosing the employee of the month. Generally, the metrics used internally do not measure the impact on the brand experience, or worse, they go against the brand experience.
Consider for a moment in the systems of rewards and compensation of personnel that are linked to the outcome of your business unit. The same system of control could lead people to compete against another of the same company, harming the overall results and confuse the client who perceives misalignment between the values and real brand experience.
The creation of value from the internal perspective is the foundation of the company, its level in more strategic and more intangible. This is its ability to innovate, grow and learn.
Change and innovation perspective
To grow healthily and steadily create value, companies have to innovate. To innovate must be managed properly capitalizing knowledge (structurally). Brand experience must be part of this process.
In this regard, it is not only to innovate in products and services, it also must consider the models of management and control, and at this point, the MBBS can become part of the innovation processes of the company.
MBBS as a management system is the key
The key is to transform the control panel in a management tool that even serve to generate new habits within the organization.
Linking the processes of innovation, with the internal brand experience, this with the experience in the market and finally, with the performance of the business, allows the organization as a whole to manage the brand experience in a way that creates real and measurable value.
Use a MBBS prioritizes what is important
To implement a MBBS it is required at least 10 points to consider:
- Ensure that there is determination and support of the top management
- Define, structure and translate the brand strategy consistently with the business strategy
- Define the critical strategic objectives for each perspective and establish their links ““create the brand experience strategic map
- Select the metrics to measure each of the defined objectives, accomplishing the rule of effectiveness ““there are all the metrics needed and only the metrics required
- Establish satisfaction and measurement policies, and goals to be achieved
- Set times and responsible for meeting each goal considering a multi-functional and decentralized team (some actions go beyond the role of marketing)
- Establish sources of information and frequency for updating the model
- Link the goals and targets with action plans, initiatives and projects
- Link the system of incentives to MBBS metrics
- Develop the ability to simulate future results to improve the quality of decisions
The MBBS is a model for managing the brand experience that balances long-term vision with immediate imperatives, strategy with day-to-day activities.
The reward is not in the mere fact of creating brand value, but to generate value for shareholders, and this brings the role of marketing to the highest levels within the organization. Marketing, as a knight, become part of the round table.