Verizon’s “Better Matters,” Especially on an Emotional Level


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A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog (“Are Experience Consistency and Reliability Emotional Drivers?”, CustomerThink, August 18th) explaining how what we think of as basic product and service quality deliverables, elements of performance consistency and reliability, are actually strong emotional drivers of customer memory and vendor decision-making. Here’s some of how, from my blog, these elements of quality contribute to, or detract from, emotionally-based value:

“As customer experience consultants who focus on the emotional elements of service and product customer experience and value delivery, we are often asked about the behavioral role of tangible, rational, and functional elements of value and experience. These include the factors we typically associate with quality: completeness, timeliness, cost, functionality, accuracy, etc. What we often find in our client experience assignments is that there is almost invariably a deeper emotional underpinning to these value components. These aren’t the big ‘wow’ elements of experience and value that seem to get a lot of attention; but they help to create and sustain customer trust when delivered well, and they also tend to undermine trust and value perception when there are issues which may cause concern.

A bit more esoteric, but no less fundamental and important, are those elements of quality experience and value which we identify as gray areas between strictly emotional and strictly tangible. These include product and service reliability and consistency, delivery of an experience and value, per customer perceptions, that fall inside of emotional, sometimes subconscious, parameters the customer considers as acceptable. Reliability and consistency, delivered to a customer’s expectations or better, build a ‘bank account’ of positive memory and trust. One of the things most well understood about reliability and consistency within expectations is that, when these delivery components fall outside of, i.e. below, customer expectations, they often trigger emotional responses, which drive strong memories and downstream behavior.”.

Now, ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, has introduced a new campaign for Verizon, with the theme “Better Matters”. You can get much more detail about the campaign, and how and why it was created, in this recent Adweek article:

For years, we’ve been seeing stories about how telecoms deliver poor service, create annoyance through billing errors, anger customers with undisclosed fees and contract terms, and disappoint through high roaming and data charges. All too true, and also repeatedly cited by industry study findings. Perhaps the most critical issues, however, are the major consistency and reliability elements of performance addressed by the twelve new Verizon commercials which demonstrate the superiority of the company’s network. These are:

1. Service back-up to prevent, or minimize, losses
2. Signal coverage
3. Speed
4. Capacity
5. Flow of data
6. High technology, i.e. 100% 4G LTE

A recent Morningstar article summarized the emotions and daily life impact that Verizon hopes to tap into very well: “Better Matters” is the next element the company is using to bring to life Verizon’s network capability and the difference it makes in people’s lives by delivering the connections that matter to them. “Better is how we differentiate our brand in the marketplace,” said Melissa Garlick, Senior Vice President Brand Creative Marketing for Verizon. “At its core, Better Matters exemplifies that the network you choose, and the access it provides, makes a difference.”

Verizon and Wieden + Kennedy have clearly paid attention to the emotional consequences of key network quality issues for customers. As the ad agency creative directors stated in the above referenced Adweek article: “The challenge was explaining some pretty dry facts in a way that would resonate.” Maybe, because the facts pertaining to network consistency and reliability seemed rather unexciting and pedestrian, they weren’t identified as emotional. Take a look at the array of ads (embedded in the Adweek article). I’d suggest there’s plenty of emotion in each of them to resonate with consumers.

The agency and Verizon have, from my perspective, gotten it right: On both a tangible and an emotional level, “Better Matters.”


  1. Great example of how to make ‘meets specification’ (the essence of quality) into a message the appeals to the heart, and not to the intellect. To some technology marketers, that can feel like foreign ground. W+K recognizes the selling value in elevating a product pitch from ‘feeds and speeds’ to something that addresses, “why does this matter?” Good for W+K! But then again, they are an ad agency – they live and breathe all things emotional.

    The challenge, “explaining some pretty dry facts in a way that [resonates]” is something that I encounter daily with clients. Marketers can expose why [or whether!] the facts they consider impressive matter by asking:

    1. What happens when [fact X] occurs?
    2. What are the downstream outcomes?
    2. Are these outcomes important to customers? If so, why?
    3. How do customers think about this? Which words and ideas are involved?
    5. What are the most persuasive messages to use when describing the outcomes?

    Coming up with a catchy message isn’t easy. But reliably delivering the outcomes promised in their campaign is even harder. No doubt the ‘better matters’ schtick will snare new customers who are running from mediocrity. I hope Verizon makes good on their promise.

  2. Andrew –

    Thanks very much for your comment. ‘Overpromise and overdelivery’ on the basics of value, and appealing to the customer’s emotional memory, is indeed a challenge. For a major company like Verizon, every employee, every communication channel, and every process must be focused and directed in doing this. The good news is that we see other companies, in other business sectors, beginning to connect on an emotional basis as well (and, as you note, asking the key questions about whether they are doing this effectively or not). Here’s a terrific example from TD Bank, which has been using “Bank Human Again” as a key differentiator since 2013:



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