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How brands can better live up to what they promise

Brands tend to over-promise and under-deliver, which can be disastrous for their future prospects. Here, Wolff Olins’ Wayne Deakin suggests three ways for them to change for the better

While travelling for work recently, taking multiple flights and staying in numerous hotels across the US, two things struck me. First, the gap that still exists between many brands’ promises and customer experience. Second, how service brands’ struggle to create great experiences has useful lessons for all.

Brands promise much. And for service and non-service brands alike, the role of CX is to create meaningful and distinctive moments that deliver against that brand promise.

Take Guinness. It’s distinctive and authentic, full of substance with a smooth drinkability. And how it’s poured in a pub – into an angled glass until three-quarters full, followed by a two-minute pause to settle before topping it up (this time with glass straight) – dramatises the promise that it’s so good it’s worth the wait.

Most service brands, however – which, without a product to create experiences around, exist at the forefront of where brand promise and CX meet – struggle to create experiences that bring their brand promise to life and convey the sense of magic and delight that brings customers back.