WOW Brands or NOW Brands?


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WOW brands represent those few, select organizations which truly live up to their brand promises and deliver exceptional customer experiences. These are the brands that actually create wow experiences rather than just advertise and promise them.

To deliver those wow experiences, these brands plan for the long haul. They focus on creating sustainable and credible value for customers. These WOW brands spend the necessary time to ensure that they are able and willing to live up to their promises and meet customers’ heightened expectations. They align their organizations (from R&D to Finance and Customer Service) to be successful in delivering high quality experiences, live up to their brand promises, and establish long-term, intimate relationships with their customers. The WOW brands recognize that the key to establishing these relationships is not the promise, but the actual delivery.

NOW brands, on the other hand, focus on short term gains. They rush to over promise without establishing the infrastructure to deliver on those promises. They are the brands which hope that a quick design fix, for example an updated font and color, will solve their rather inherent problem: they are simply not that great. The NOW brands expect immediate rewards for very little investment. Their investments are often short term and the expectation is that the return will happen within the next 90 days (the typical horizon of today’s senior management). These organizations use branding exercises as a quick fix in an attempt to avoid the investment in creating differentiated customer experiences that will command their asking price.

Why do most companies fail to live up to their brand promises and deliver wow experiences? Why do many brands end up as NOW brands with very limited return on investment?

The most common reason is the failure to define and understand how to own, create and deliver wow experiences across all organizational touch points. Companies routinely fail to operationalize their brand promises – leading them to deliver experiences that do not fully meet the expectations created by their brand promise.

Many marketers ignore the fulfillment aspect of their brand promise and marketing campaigns. They choose to make grandiose promises while leaving the often impossible task of living up to these promises to others. Consequently, these companies are forced to lower prices to compensate customers whose expectations have not been met because they were set by individuals concerned with issues such as brand recollection and conversion rates, not promise fulfillment.

Organizations that strive to create a WOW brand and deliver wow experiences need to do the following:
• Understand the brand and its impact on the customer
• Recognize their mission and role in living up to the brand promise
• Align and motivate their employees to execute the brand promise
• Empower their employees with the tools, information and authority to fulfill the brand promise.

Organizations which are NOW brands and are unwilling or unable to live up to their brand promises should never make these promises to begin with. No one, least of all customers, appreciate disappointment. Disappointment carries consequences, more often than not, painful financial consequences.

It is time to rethink your brand strategy in the context of your actual brand delivery through customer experiences. Are you willing and able to deliver the promised brand in the form of a wow customer experience?

Lior Arussy
One of the world’s authorities on customer experience, customer centricity, and transformation, Lior Arussy delivers results. His strategic framework converts organizations from product- to customer-centricity. It is drawn from his work with some of the world’s leading brands: Mercedes-Benz, Royal Caribbean, Delta Air Lines, MasterCard, Novo Nordisk, Walmart and more.Arussy is also the author of seven books, including Next Is Now (May 2018)


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