Branding: The Physical Form of Customer Experience


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Add a Starbucks logo to the cup and you’ll pay more. Is it because of the logo design or the customer experience you know you’ll have at a Starbucks?

The Importance of Brand in Your Customer Experience Delivery

The need for a company’s employees to deliver upon a brand promise, reflects a growing and critical need for businesses of all sizes to develop a brand and to effectively communicate that brand to all customer touch points—including employees in their personal daily interactions.

It is often assumed that “branding” is only for large corporations and is the work of the sales and marketing department. Many companies mistake a logo and color palette for their “brand” and fail to properly capture and communicate the true essence of a brand.

A true brand is the physicial manifestation of your desired customer experience delivery. And it can only be successful when three critical company functions — Marketing, Training, and HR — work together to:

  1. capture the company’s unique differentiating qualities.
  2. package those qualities into a clear, concise message.
  3. educate the staff to not only speak to the essence of the brand, but to reflect the brand in all of their actions.

The functions contribute to the brand in these manners:

Beginning with internal and external research, marketing helps uncover and focus in the company’s differentiating factors, such as excellent customer service or detailed industry knowledge. You can’t pick a brand – it must be a natural outgrowth of what your company already “stands for.” Marketing then works creatively to visually and verbally communicate the brand message, developing both external and internal materials that serve as a foundation for the brand. But marketing can only accomplish 1/3 of a true, effective “brand equation.” Marketing needs training and HR to complete the equation.


Training is critical for a company to embrace and accurately communicate the brand. Only through the training activities can staff understand the brand, their role in delivering upon the brand promise, and the importance of incorporating the brand message into all of their daily interactions with customers and everyone they speak to about the company. When your staff understands their role and contributions to the company, and the company’s contributions to the industry and greater economy, then not only are they more confident and dedicated to their daily work, but they become brand ambassadors for the company in all their actions. A staff of brand ambassadors is more effective than any slick Web site or fancy sales kit, just read what Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh writes about culture.

Human Resources
And this is where Human Resources completes the brand equation—fostering and growing a culture that supports the brand. In addition to the typical internal communications materials, which are important but only a first step, fostering a brand culture relies heavily on hiring the right people who already embody your brand and developing your people to grow and embrace your brand. Hiring requirements should reflect not only the technical or functional knowledge needed for the position, but also the values that support your company’s brand. Secondly, performance reviews and development plans should always include factors that reflect and support the brand culture.

Branding, giving physical form to your desired customer experience delivery, is only effective when these three disciplines work together to define, encourage and deliver upon the brand promise—especially in companies  where large numbers of the staff are in daily, direct contact with vendors, customer, and consumers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Raelin Musuraca
Customer Experience Strategist, Musuraca LLC
Raelin Musuraca is versatile and energetic customer experience strategist with twenty years practicing marketing, digital strategy, and user experience. She has led multidisciplinary teams in the development of award-winning marketing and customer engagement programs.



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