Key to creating a compelling customer experience is cultivating a brand culture that resonates company-wide. Strategy and consumer insights company, One Picture, say that by fully engaging with the challenges faced by consumers, they are able to better assist brands foster this culture.
When it comes to delivering exceptional customer experiences (CX), relying on brand strength alone won’t cut it. A well-framed customer experience must be an expression of a company’s brand from within, one that is intertwined with the culture of the company. Without this as a guide, employees are left to their own devices, and the delivery of good customer experiences left to luck.
Strong brand culture can be likened to the inherent DNA of a brand and the values that governs every touch point along the CX path. This culture is formulated and defined by the company in which the employees live the core values of the brand to solve customer problems, make strategic decisions, and deliver a high quality and branded CX.
Based out of London and New York in the mid-2000s, Keith Meyrick headed up CX for a division of American Express. Despite the huge budgets and smart strategic teams the company had, Meyrick explains that the biggest challenge faced by the brand in driving better CX, was encouraging this brand culture and the processes that drove it. “Even in an environment where the whole company was marketing driven, it took us years to realise that all touch points to the customer had to align and reflect brand values and messages.
“That meant that everything had to go through brand and CX – call centre scripts, product instructions and packaging, the product itself in some cases. It also meant that as team members we all had to understand what the brand stood for and why it was relevant to customers. Our culture had to unite around real customers and not be afraid to challenge and align around their realities,” Meyrick says.
It’s his focus on fostering strong brand culture within an organisation that brought him to One Picture, a strategy company – with offices in Auckland, Sydney and London – built around consumer insights, brand planning and innovation. At the heart of all this, the group managing director says, is his company’s approach to culture. “We are about opportunities. Both for our clients and our people. We want to find opportunities for our stakeholders but most importantly we want to inspire and arm them with the energy and executional chops to grab them with both hands. The link here is culture. Working with people who are genuine in their desire to collaborate and challenge each other internally and externally. This culture directly effects our work where we often get the too hard projects or the projects that other agencies haven’t got right.”
He says that without this focus on culture – even from the perspective of an agency external to a brand – recognising true success in CX is unlikely.
One Picture sees what others don’t. “It goes back to people challenging each other to see what isn’t apparent at first glance. We don’t want to sound pretentious but the quote from Galileo ‘All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered, the point is to discover them’ inspires us. We want to make sure that we are helping navigate the future for our clients by understanding the risks and implications of commercial decision making. Then make the call.”
This sums up One Picture’s approach to their own internal CX. Truly understanding their customer and brand culture is what drives their prioritisation of improvements. “One Picture has a CX team. This specialist team works with clients but are also actively trying to get OP strangely enough; to do what we tell our clients to do. We have been guilty in the past of not always taking our own medicine. This focus is really helping us drive our overall internal CX focus. Some of it is self-fulfilling as we also actively recruit people that see the world in a CX humanistic design kind of way. This internal focus has a direct effect on clients and the relationships we foster,” says Meyrick.
The bigger picture
When it comes to helping brands develop, innovate and grow, Meyrick links this culture-building to problem interrogation and solving. Kieran Purcell, consumer strategist at One Picture speaks to this point when he says that the more complex an organisation becomes the more removed its key decision makers become from the lives, truths, and experiences of their customers. I.e. the culture of the brand.
“We’re fixated with answers, but we need to reignite our love for our customers’ problems… Ultimately, if we’re not super clear about our customers problems it’s easy to waste time and money. We can work to make an existing product prettier and more appealing without looking up to check if the solution we are creating is actually hitting the mark,” he says.
As such, an important part of this CX-centred approach to building better brand culture, is heaps of research, insight and customer immersion. While the team at One Picture use all the latest tools – from AI and cloud-based modelling to social listening – to better insights into brands and their customers, Purcell says that there’s no handbook, guide or course you can take that works as well as establishing a passion for going out and getting close to and living our customers’ experiences. Meyrick adds that while his team are tech lovers, they also remain agnostic in their pursuit of understanding customer problems. “We insist on being nimble enough to work with the best in the world. I will also say that we are realistic about who is promising what. It’s easy to get sucked into the sizzle. We have found some amazing tech over the years that just doesn’t deliver. Or something else comes along a few months later which is vastly better. So often something looks good but doesn’t live up to expectations. But when it does, its transforming.”
An example of this is the work One Picture has done with Project Tiaki to ensure that the Tiaki concept and the communication of its core message of care and support resonates with both international visitors and Kiwis. “Our client wanted to positively enhance the behaviour and experience people have with New Zealand, ensuring they understand the perceptions of the Tiaki Promise as a concept, and the overall execution and provocation of behavioural change,” says Meyrick.
The design started with Project Listen – a combined DOC and Tourism NZ initiative involving consumer discovery workshops and in-depth interviews with foreign tourists as well as Kiwis. This lead to Project Tiaki where One Picture helped develop, test and refine the initiative shown in RTOs, Air New Zealand flights, and DOC and iSite customer service areas. “The creative and conceptual feedback resulted in a strategy that placed emphasis on Tiaki rather than ‘promise’. By simply explaining the why and relevance of the concept, showing how to change as something tangible we were able to produce a weighty message that sets the tone for other relevant behaviours for locals and international visitors.”
This is just one of the many examples Meyrick says of where One Picture has made a difference and helped a brand better engage with thier customers. “If you want a partner that inspires positive change and brings to the table smart, previously unseen insights and thinking, then talk to us,” he says.
For more information on One Picture – The Discovery Company, visit onepicture.com