Lockdown forced changes to how we do business. It changed customers’ expectations. Things took a little longer to get done. Customers saw you sitting in your spare room. It was a very different brand experience for them. And they accepted that change, as everyone adapted. But now, as the economy gets back to work, customers will expect things to get back to “normal”. (Or at least as close as possible). So now it’s time to consider how to adapt your brand experience, again. Your brand experience is every interaction that customers have with your business. From visiting your website, to speaking to your staff. From reading a social media post to using your products. Each contact with your business adds to – or detracts from – the quality of your customer’s brand experience. When lockdown was imposed, companies adapted. And the brand experience for customers reflected this. Companies changed how they worked. Most changed where they worked. And
some changed when they worked. But customers appreciated the flexibility and resilience demonstrated by companies. They understood that normal service wasn’t possible. They accepted that their experience of doing business with you was different. And that was OK. Then.
But four months later, customers expectations have changed, again. What was acceptable in lockdown may no longer be acceptable as we emerge. You have had time to make changes. To make improvements. Customers will expect you to have found a better way of delivering your service online. They might expect you to have adapted to working with a smaller team. Or they might have expected you to tidy the spare room where you have your Zoom calls.
In this changing environment, it’s important to consider how to adapt your brand experience. You need to to manage your customers’ new expectations. Your customers will appreciate that things won’t be “normal”. But they might expect things to be getting better. So where do you start? Your brand values provide a reference point, to help you consider how to adapt.
The importance of your brand values
Your brand values are a set of guiding principles, that should influence how you do business. They will determine how you behave, as an organisation. Your circumstances may have changed, but it’s important your values don’t.
Research, published by MIT Sloan Management Review, identified the nine most common value “themes” used by businesses. They are agility, collaboration, customer, diversity, execution, innovation, integrity, performance, respect. It doesn’t matter what your values are, but you need to let them guide how you do business. That is even more important now, when so many aspects of business have changed. So if “collaboration” is one of the values that influences how you do business, what does that mean now? How will you collaborate, with a smaller team? How will that impact the quality of the brand experience for your customers? If “integrity” is one of your values, how do you demonstrate that now? Will it still be part of the brand experience for your customer, during a Zoom call in your spare room?
The brand experience is the foundation of your relationship with your customers.
Understanding how to adapt your brand experience, as the economy slides into recession, is crucial. It’s the consistency of your brand experience that will build trust between you and your customers. And it’s trust – and the loyalty that comes with it – that will carry your business through the recession.