By Jean-Claude Saade
When it comes to the core promise of any brand, Experience is the only real test. By core promise we mean the positive contribution to your life and my life that a brand will be promising to bring to the table when we accept to buy its products and services. This personal brand experience will determine the difference between the perceived image we have formed in our minds based on the brand’s communication and other marketing activities compared to the real value and real delivery of this same brand. The outcome of real-life interaction with the brand can vary from a very disappointing experience to a very delighting and positive outcome.
“Experience” is the reality check that sets the limit between what the Brand is saying (Brand Communication), who the brand is (Brand Identity), and what the brand is really delivering (Brand Contribution). At this level, we do not really differentiate between tangible and intangible brand contributions; rational or emotional; what really matters at the end is whether this brand is keeping its promise throughout the experience and making customers’ lives better in any form or shape – Ideally fulfilling the core Brand Promise based on which you have decided to deal with it.
What we are referring to as the Brand here can be anything; from a new restaurant, to a new house, a bank, a hospital, a car or a candy bar. It also can be the city you aspire to live in, the party you adhere to or the company you were convinced to work with.
Before & After in Everyday’s Life
The Before & After comparison is a prominent part of our everyday’s life and we have an endless list of examples. At different occasions and with different levels of importance we are receiving messages, building a certain perception, interacting with a certain brand and then going away with the results and conclusions of our experience. In many cases, this interaction is not a one-off event but could be repeated for a number of times.
Before – A new restaurant opens in town and it is announced with big viral and advertising campaigns trying to build an attractive and distinguished image. After – May be at the first impression you liked the location and the decoration; but food was very average, the service poor and the bill can go under the “robberies” column. Result – You feel 3 times disappointed, first for believing the communication, second for wasting your time and money to come and eat at this restaurant and third, and most important, for feeling that this brand has offended your intelligence and sense of judgment as a consumer.
A Service Company
Before – You meet the boss of this well known service company to explore possible cooperation, and despite your natural pessimism, you are very much impressed by the way he presents himself as an intellectual, passionate, refined and successful person. After – Within a very short time of joining the company you get this alerting negative feeling, Mr. “Intellectual-Polite-Boss” is just another caramel-coated-crook like the competitors he likes to criticize, and you are already looking for the right timing and occasion to leave this company. Result – You feel cheated by these people and their brand and regret the wasted time and energy; most importantly, this brand goes down deep in your own personal ranking of the most attractive brands.
A Car Dealer
Before – You have moved to a new city and you want to buy a car, but instead of going for that “exciting” German brand you usually like, you decide to go for a “good deal” from an American brand which did not look that exciting to you at the beginning. After – You discover a fairly good car that is reliable and enjoyable and most important, you experience an amazing service quality from this brand that goes out of the way at all times to make your ownership experience an enjoyable one. Result – You are positively surprised and cannot but spread the good word about this experience all around you. The image of the brand has totally changed in your mind and you have much more respect to it and you can possibly become an advocate of this brand and influence other people in your circle.
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Status: 01. Juli 2015