By Melati Belot, Director of Client Engagement, YML

Customer Experience is today’s strongest proof point or expression of a brand.

That’s exactly why we believe there needs to be a fundamental change in the way agencies are briefed on the brand itself. By integrating the core components of CX into your briefings you are able to provide a consistent experience that underscores the brand promise in each touchpoint and should ultimately increase customer satisfaction.

To be clear, we’re not recommending adding more content to your current briefs.

A powerful brief is concise and compelling.

Leveraging CX as the crux of the content isn’t about adding layers. Rather it’s about applying a lens that will distill and clarify customer-centric messaging.

It all starts with VMP — a Vision, Mission and Purpose that is core to the brand’s DNA. One of my favorite explanations of the differences between the three is an article by Dan Carlton, Founder of the Paragraph Project.

  • Vision — category-centric i.e. how the company performs / acts relative to others.
  • Mission — company-centric i.e. what the company does and how it does it.
  • Purpose — customer-centric i.e. who they serve & why they do what they do.

And, there are several tools and resources to help ground each:

  • Vision — Industry / Market Analysis, Trends, Competitor Audit and Analysis
  • Mission — Company Objectives and KPIs, Service Blueprint and/or Product Strategy
  • Purpose — Customer Segmentation and Research, Personas, Customer Journey Maps

To best tell the story of what a brand can mean to a customer we need to flip the typical order of the VMP (Vision → Mission → Purpose) on its head and instead lead with Purpose (“why”) to then inform the Vision (“how”) and then the Mission (“what”). When reframed in this format the ethos is not wholly dissimilar from Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle TED Talk.

The Purpose is customer-centric and clearly articulates the reason “why” the brand exists and what the brand promises to the customer (i.e. CX). It is fueled by a clear understanding of who the customer is, what they value, and where your company is or is not delivering along their journey.

Delta is perhaps one of the best-in-class examples of a brand that preaches customer-centricity at its core.

In a Wall Street Journal article, Delta CMO, Tim Mapes, said:

“A brand isn’t what a communications program says it is…A brand is what customers experience. For a service business like ours, that experience is defined by our 80,000 employees and their efforts to connect with our customers on a human level.”

Mapes elaborates:

“In an increasingly polarized world, there’s an opportunity for an entity like Delta — a service business that has international reach in over 60 countries — to pursue a more noble purpose. Yes, we’re a transportation provider, and yes, we fly people from point A to point B. But our deeper brand promise — our noble purpose — is to connect people all over the world to each other…We listen to what customers are telling us, we respond with products and services based on that input, and then we listen again and ask, ‘Did we get it right?’ It’s an ongoing process, and our tagline, “Keep Climbing,” reflects that. It’s the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen — continuous improvement at every level and in every corner of the organization.”

Delta has delivered just that.

By focusing on customer experience in the digital space, including replacing ID checks at touch points with fingerprint scanning, automating check-in, tracking bags in real time, and redesigning gate and boarding experiences, Delta has made the travel experience as seamless as possible.

The “never stop improving” mentality can be seen outside of the digital space in a variety of messaging manners across print ads, OOH, and even in their latest TV spot, encouraging all fliers to recognize our shared humanity (i.e. elevating your perspective above the petty differences that can cause us to feel far apart). In fact, Delta was recognized for the second year in a row as North America’s best airline by Business Traveller.

By starting with the ‘Purpose’ and using that as the foundation for all communications, you’re providing confidence, consistency, and clarity. You have the opportunity to address pain points and message the key values you know you can deliver upon (and subsequently measure), thereby providing a satisfying experience.

And, while the output will (and absolutely should) differ based on each agency’s area of expertise, the heart & soul of the brand — i.e. it’s promise to the customer — should pull through.

In fact, a recent Business Insider article headline puts a finer point on the impact that CX and a clear purpose can have on a brand: “Delta’s focus on passenger experience and loyalty has its profits and its stock soaring.” That’s the power of putting The CX Multiplier to work.

👉Want more CX ammo? Read 6 KPIs That Will Convince the C-Suite to Obsess over Customer Satisfaction.

About the author

Serving as Director of Client Engagement, Melati’s focus is on driving thought-leadership, strategic planning and creative excellence for our partners. With experience spanning brand and product development, digital, broadcast, social media and influencer marketing, Melati believes that the key to unlocking customer connection, loyalty, and advocacy is day-to-day interactions and customer-centric experiences.