Stress is created in the disparity between what we expect, and what we actually encounter. It’s not so much what happens, but our disappointment in what does not happen (that we expected to happen), that causes us to feel angst and stress.
As brand creators, if we’re not careful, we become stress creators. Crazy makers.
We set expectations through our brand elements. We tell consumers what the experience will be like, how our associates will behave, how much things will cost, whether or not our company is in line with their values. Through symbols and statements, images and sounds, we build expectations. We do this intentionally, so consumers will choose us when they’re evaluating options.
For so many marketers, this is where the process stops. “Operations will take it from here.”
This, my friends, is crazy-making behavior. The consumer choice is not the end. The consumer choice is the beginning.
If we were excellent visual and verbal communicators up-front, we sent the message we meant to send. We created reasonable expectations. We set the brand up to put its money where its mouth is. Doesn’t it seem logical that we’d see it all the way through?
Each time a consumer encounters our brand – at each touch point – there’s an opportunity for stress or delight. With good branding, we control these opportunities. We design touch points to deliver the experience our brand communications promise. With a branding process that’s incomplete, we blindside our customers with disappointment.
Ask yourself where your brand communications start and where they end. Are you creating stress or delivering delight? Are your customers’ expectations aligned with what your organization is geared to deliver? As a marketer, have you walked out on the movie before the ending?