Build Brands From
the Experience Up

Yes, purpose is essential, but so is making certain that the brand purpose is present across all aspects of the consumer experience. While the big and beautiful 30-second spot is still one mechanism to convey the essence of a brand externally, most presenters talked about first focusing on internal storytelling and culture building. From there, it is about building expressions of purpose into all brand interactions - whether those be websites, apps, product mix, customer support, digital experiences, and operational processes. Those who’ve done it right have created a holistic, consistent, relevant and “always on” brand experience, and with it true, enduring brand love.

Proof Points

Dunkin’ Sweetens its Offering. Dunkin’ shared its prescriptive approach to first identifying its customer centric values and then building experiences around them. This includes: introducing “Dunkin Go2” espresso coffee and plant-based menu items; launching delivery and mobile pay; adopting new packaging; and even debuting Dunkin’ nail polish for super fans. All told, Dunkin modernized its brand by “being a good listener.” Its ranking has soared among Millennials and Gen Z, helping drive a 73% lift in brand value as well as a spike in both traffic and sales.

Chipotle Gets Real. Chipotle lives the mantra: “people want real food fast, not just fast food.” They convey this by offering “food with integrity” and operating stores with no artificial foods, microwaves or can openers. It offers one of the most customizable menus in the industry, a dedicated digital order line, and digital delivery. In its marketing, “Chipotle for Real,” it reinforces this promise with “real is beautiful” videos highlighting people’s heroism and featuring influencer-driven lifestyle bowls. The result: a strong Gen Z/Millennial customer base, a +100% spike in digital orders, and an overall uptick in sales.

Ally Knows What You Hate About Banks. Ally Financial was founded in 2004 under the premise that people generally hated their experience with banks, and that those experiences could be significantly improved. Ally quickly identified where to start – no fees, no branches, 24x7 service, and the “dejargonator.” Today, it lives its brand values through best-in-class customer experience and seamless customer journeys. The results speak for themselves: $100B in retail deposits and 21 consecutive quarters of growth, making Ally one of the top-5 fastest growing banking brands.

In a recent study of 1,400 ad campaigns, those with purely emotional content performed twice as well as those with only rational content. Couple that today with that fact that we live in an experience economy and what that means is business is won or lost based on the experience we deliver to our customers.

Alicia Tillman, CMO of SAP

Our View

The imperative is clear – leading brands are creating outsized value by building from the experience up. Their starting point is being crystal clear on purpose and values, cascading that into internal culture and then using deep customer insights to build holistic brand ecosystems that deliver on the brands’ core promise. In this way, brands such as Target, P&G, Chipotle, Disney and others are creating enduring competitive advantage and winning the marketplace.

Further Reading

  • Inside Chipotle’s Plan to Make you Love it Again, Time

  • Targets Turnaround Approaches Mission Accomplished, Washington Post

  • An Interview with Disney’s Jill Estorino, Mediavillage

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