How to expand engagement blueprints with brand understanding

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Understanding brand relationships with customers is the key to success.

Car buying is changing, and manufacturers need to adapt. The unified purchase journey is called an engagement blueprint. It connects departments and functions and develops a common language between OEMS and dealers, so everyone provides the best customer and employee experiences.

Adding in an awareness of the brand itself greatly increases the understanding of all the relevant relationships. Coming from a systems integration world or even from one dominated by more technical approaches to building user experiences, many of our practitioners and clients don’t often sit in rooms with brand leaders or their agencies, so it can be hard to understand what a brand is and what it does for a company.

Wikipedia defines a brand as “a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” The brand name is a shorthand reference to everything the company produces, how it acts, and how it is known. A brand is a company’s overall reputation, built on three components: identity, experience, and performance.

Identity is the most common way of thinking about a company brand; it’s the logo, the tag line, the mark and colors, and even the tone of voice used to talk about a product or service. A company’s identity is shaped by the aesthetic qualities used to communicate the value of a product or service to a consumer or employee.

When Apple launched the iPod, it always employed a large clean Apple logo, accompanied by a silhouette of a person dancing against a bold, solid-color background. iPods and iTunes always launched with culturally impactful brand associations by using the coolest new music in their ads or events. This formed the brand identity ecosystem that drove massive adoption.

A brand is also known by how it is experienced by users. What is it like to find out about the brand? How are the product attributes communicated and understood? How is the purchase process delivered? What are the employees like that sell the products or services? What is it like to open the product and take it out of the box? A Google search for “unboxing video” returns about 124,000,000 results and speaks to the power of specific moments of the consumer’s product experience.

Finally, there is the performance of a brand through the use of its product or service. What is it like to use the product? How does it perform? What happens if it doesn’t perform well, what happens if it does? Consumers’ use of a product drives the word-of-mouth communication farther and faster than any 60-second advertisement. In the age of social media, an influencer can erase a Super Bowl ad spend with one negative tweet.

You can see that two of the three key components of a brand are about how the brand is used and these must be taken into account as we look at our customer and employee journeys and develop a deeper understanding of moments in time across small or large use cycles. We must understand where the brand plays an oversized role in the influence of CX or EX and how we can structure our communications, processes, and technology to best position our clients for success.

Adding an understanding of the way brands are viewed by consumers is critical to constructing an effective engagement blueprint, but it is not the end of this journey. In the next blog post, I will suggest adding another dimension to your blueprint: an appreciation of why your company does what it does.

To learn more about Capgemini’s automotive practice, contact Daniel Davenport at daniel.d.davenport@capgemini.com

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