Designing service
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Should we design experiences for brands or customers?

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You can look at service experiences through two lenses. The ‘branded experiences’ lens designs experiences to promote the brand through carefully crafted interactions. The ‘experiential brand’ lens designs experiences to enable customers to get their jobs done faster, easier and better. Which is best?

27th May 2021
Associate Director Optima Partners
Columnist
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One of the perennial discussions is whether you should design service experiences for brands or for customers. Recent research suggests that you should put customers first.

You can look at service experiences through two lenses. The ‘branded experiences’ lens designs experiences to promote the brand through carefully crafted interactions. This is the marketing perspective.

But it is difficult to do well. A Bain & Co study on ‘Closing the Delivery Gap’ found that although 80% of managers believe they provide a superior experience, only 8% of their customers agreed.

The ‘experiential brand’ lens designs experiences to enable customers to get their jobs done faster, easier and better. This is the service perspective, and there is growing evidence that it is a better approach.

After looking at over 6,000 valuations, Binder & Hansenns identified in an HBR article on ‘Why Strong Customer Relationships Trump Powerful Brands', that whereas brands were roughly twice as valuable as customers in the past, customers are now twice as valuable as brands.

Food for thought.

What do you think? Should we design experiences for brands or customers?

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By jennkate01
27th May 2021 09:53

This debate reminds me of the differences in how customer journey mapping have been conducted over the years. Some organizations map what they want the ideal journey to be for the organization and then create those journeys. Other organizations research the journeys that their customers actually are taking and then map them out so that they can identify areas for improvement; but crucially areas that can be improved for the customer FIRST AND FOREMOST. For me this is the best way. If you design for the organization the customer may not have the optimal experience and the organization will suffer in the long term when customers elect to take their business elsewhere.

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