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The crossover between brand and customer experience

Lynn Pine
Lead Content Producer

Here’s a question: what do you think the customer experience is? For the most part, the term is used interchangeably with customer support, and that narrowness is at the root of many modern CX problems. On this week’s podcast episode, host Perri Chaikof welcomes Colin Chow , the Global Managing Partner at TwentyFirstCenturyBrand .

Colin is a “diagonal thinker” with brand strategy experience, so we were interested in exploring that question with him particularly as it relates to cross-over between brand and customer experience.

Listen to the interview with Colin Chow

Find this episode of Now Brands Talk on your favorite podcasting platform.

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What exactly is brand?

Colin helps companies define their brands purposefully and thoughtfully. “We talk about ourselves as the purposeful growth company,” he explains, “because we very much believe that you can build brands that seamlessly blend doing good with doing good business.”

So how does Colin define brand? Well, that depends. “If you ask a hundred people, even in our industry, you get a hundred different answers. And sometimes the answer depends on who the audience is,” he says. For marketers, brand is “the emotional response someone has when they encounter your product, your service, or your company.” From a technical perspective, it’s “just the interface between your business and the communities you serve.” But Colin prefers to talk about brand in human terms.

"If we think about a company as a person, the brand is the soul of that organization."

Colin Chow
Global Managing Partner

When you frame brand in these terms, it becomes easier to understand how it impacts every other part of the business. It’s also easier to characterize: “We often talk about this with our clients,” Colin explains, “that really our job is to extract and define the soul of the company. We’re not inventing your brand; it’s already there.”

Succeeding as a modern brand

Brand is the foundation the entire company is built on. It impacts every aspect of an organization and drives everything from brand strategy to product experience. That’s why it’s critical to make sure everyone in the company is aligned and consistent in building that foundation. “Once you have that starting point,” Colin says, “you can build anything.”

So how does CX fit in? According to Colin, CX is fundamental to brand because it’s how you show up for your customers — not just when they need support, but when they visit your website, walk into your store, or use your product. It’s the emotional response customers feel whenever they interact with your company, which ties directly to the brand, the soul of your business. TwentyFirstCenturyBrand believes that CX is one of the most important places for companies to take action on their brand strategy.

Colin explains, “We have a very strong view about what companies need to excel at to be a twenty-first century brand, which we divide into four pillars: being purpose-led, community-driven, tech-enabled, and narrative-based.” CX is really the intersection of the second and third pillars — being community-driven and tech-enabled. And excelling at both in turn helps to tell the brand story, supporting the fourth pillar.

"Being tech-enabled doesn’t just mean technology. It means that tech is enabling the humanity of the company to come forward."

Colin Chow
Global Managing Partner

Bringing everyone onboard

As we touched on last week , the people who represent brand now sit across every function in the company — not just marketing. “That brand is everybody’s role,” Colin says, “and once you get that alignment you can get everyone to understand that every interaction a customer has is an opportunity to build a greater brand impression.”

This applies to stakeholders at every level of the company and can also help to improve the employee experience: “How motivating is that,” Colin says, “that you’re not just putting out fires or dealing with upset customers but really solving issues in a way that’s going to create a better perception of the brand overall.”

"Understanding how you’re helping to fulfill the purpose of the company is really exciting because that’s how brands come to life. It starts from the inside before it can reach the outside."

Colin Chow
Global Managing Partner

Get the full story

Check out this week’s episode on YouTube or listen on your favorite podcast platform to hear the rest of our conversation with Colin and dig deeper into these areas:

  • If you have a company, you have a brand — and it’s in your best interest to define it purposefully
  • Brand should transcend silos and be a guiding light for organization-wide teams, not just customer support
  • Every interaction is an opportunity to build trust, establish a relationship, and create consistency

Interviews with customer service leaders

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