Each stage of the Brand Alignment Approach is critical. Failing to implement one - or doing so haphazardly - will impact your journey to customer centricity and it will no doubt fall short.
Delivery is arguably the most important stage. It’s what really counts and it’s the moment brands can start to transform their brand, driving tangible results for the business and its customers.
But what does successful Delivery look like?
It’s robust and rigorous. It’s empirical and measured. And it is collaborative.
These are the words that make the difference - that help you deliver something with real, tangible results.
Keep your head above water, but out of the clouds
No matter how hard the struggle might get, to come out the other side smiling, keep two things in mind…
1. The Stockdale Paradox.
The Stockdale Paradox, observed by Jim Collins in his seminal book Good to Great, suggests that those who retain the faith that they will prevail in the end, regardless of difficulties, all whilst confronting the most brutal facts of the current reality will succeed.
In terms of brand building, this translates as embracing all the data and facts that paint a picture of where the business currently stands. It doesn’t matter how ugly that might be, it is essential if the customer experience is going to prove irresistible to both customers and the business.
2. You don’t have a choice, you have a customer experience.
What you are doing is not optional. You have a customer experience; if you don’t, then you have no customers.
The issue here is whether or not you choose to manage the experience to the advantage of your business, or let others manage it for you.
It is these two points that will help you deliver value back to the business, as well as giving the customer what they really want. Now it’s just about making your work stick.
Make your work stick
Making changes is the easy part, making it stick - not so much. As with any type of business transformation, there will be a series of pitfalls waiting to turn your world upside down. It’s up to you to manage these problems…
Celebrate the battles to win the war
Large scale change programmes may take several years to be fully completed. During this time, people may lose energy and confidence…
To ensure the business sees the return on a project sooner - giving them the confidence they need to continue investing in it - we are turning to rapid improvement techniques increasingly more. These techniques build the momentum needed to deliver digital iteration speed in the physical customer experience world.
Keep moving forwards
Once the improvements are in place, they must be measured, monitored and standardised. Otherwise there is always the risk that people will revert back to the old ways of working.
Value the philosophy over the tools
It’s common for people who are new to implementing process change to focus on the tools.
But understanding people, culture change and the philosophy and methodology used are all extremely important in any change programme.
Change programmes will never get going if there is no sense of urgency.
People will continue to put it off if there’s no burning deadline. Make sure you know and inform everyone of why the change needs to happen and why it needs to happen now.
Show the destination of the change
People need a vision to see the destination of the change.
What is it you’re trying to achieve?
This should be easy to understand and should be communicated across the organisation. Everyone needs to know what they’re doing and what part they play.
Acquire support from senior management
Change programmes, especially those attempted to impact at a large organisational scale, need senior management support.
The senior management team need to work together and lead the way for change. This will show the rest of the organisation the commitment for change.
Nobody said it was going to be easy…
...But it may well prove to be the best thing you have ever done.
With this in mind, you will be well on your way to implementing a great customer experience. But the one thing we can all learn from this entire Brand Alignment Approach so far is that building brands in the new era never stops.
Which is where Measuring comes in. But more on that next time.