I dislike spam. And I’m not talking about the canned meat product here. I mean the sort broadly defined as unwanted, irrelevant or inappropriate messages.

This is so much more than just on email, by the way. Outdoor posters, Pandora or Spotify ads and TV commercials with absolutely no relevance to their audience are also a form of spam. I think of this as interruptions and inconveniences; things that serve only to frustrate us, undermine any emotional connection and to devalue the brand behind them.

Customer experience failures have exactly the same effect. From our own research and that of industry generally, we know more than 75% of customers are frustrated by companies that don’t make it easy to do business with them. In the financial services world, a recent Capgemini report found as many as 70% of customers were a flight risk because of dissatisfaction with the experience their financial institution provided.

Experience is what happens when you don’t get what you expect, in both a good and a bad way. When the experience is especially good, you notice. And when it’s bad, the experience is just as maddening as unwanted, irrelevant and annoying communications. You know what I mean: shopping carts that are not transferable from on-line to in-store, never ending IVR loops etc. All spam is terribly negative for the brand that allows them to exist.

It’s all about the experience

Properly expressed, a brand is a gauge of quality, a promise of superiority. In the fairly recent past, this promise was most frequently conveyed by advertising or some form of marketing communication. Today, that promise is almost single-handedly carried by the experience the brand enables. What matters to today’s consumer is how it feels to interact with brands, products, and services.

As author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou has said:

“People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This is how brands become memorable today: think Apple, Burberry, Zappos, Starbucks, and so on. It is also how brands lose the confidence of, and emotional connection with, their customers.

The impact on the brand is measurable and demonstrable. A recent report by Watermark Consulting showed that the leaders in Customer Experience, as defined by the Forrester Customer Experience Index, outperform the stock market, generating returns 35% points higher than that of the S&P 500 Index. Experience laggards trailed the same Index by 45 points; correlation and causation.

Building relevance

In the old days, you could simply increase the media budget to drive more awareness and interest in your brand. That’s no longer a viable option: now you will differentiate, drive your sales, and build your brand through the experiences that you enable. There is no shortcut. Building simple, relevant and engaging experiences that your customers’ value requires tying a thousand knots deep into your organization and broad into the customer ecosystem.

Capgemini helps to tie those knots. We have partnered with Adobe to apply our understanding of the drivers of customer preference, the organizational change implications, and the connected enabling technologies needed to tie these knots for many world-leading clients.

We will be at the #AdobeSummit in Las Vegas this week, come join us at the Capgemini booth to learn more about us and our approach.