5 Brand Beacons That Elevate the Customer Experience


Study these industry leaders to learn how the LIVE 8 experience design principles create memorable, loyalty-building customer interactions that fuel 5-star brands.

Try to recall the last truly noteworthy experience you’ve had as a customer. If necessary, think back beyond these past few months, to those in-person brand interactions we all took for granted prior to March 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned some traditional principles of customer experience upside down. Customers are demanding exceptional online experiences to substitute for in-person connections. Figuring out how to navigate these channel shifts and meet customer demand wherever it is present is vital to the long-term success of your business.

Fortunately, experience design principles span channels and circumstances. The reason you had that positive memory of a brand experience is the result of a process, not a happy accident.

Seamless, memory-making audience engagements are the result of purposeful experience design. Across all industries and channels, some brands do this much better than others.

The ExperienceBuiltTM Brand Index

Brands that exemplify the LIVE 8 experience design principles are industry leaders and customer favorites. In a May 2020 study, MMR Research Associates polled people nationwide about their experiences with more than 70 brands spanning five industries: restaurants, retailers, grocery, financial and telecom. The resulting ExperienceBuiltTM Brand Index revealed standout brands in each of the five industries.

These “Brand Beacons” differentiated themselves from their industry competitors by compiling high scores across at least six of the LIVE 8 categories.

Scoring high against these principles shows that these brands have a strong “share of heart” among their customers. Share of Heart is a status achieved only by brands that have succeeded in making their customers care about them. Brands that have won Share of Heart are the go-to solutions for their customers.

These Brand Beacons understand that obtaining that level of customer loyalty — the elusive Share of Heart — comes from grasping the intangibles and consistency in execution. Relationships are built through a series of thoughtful customer touchpoints. That is why, even when polled amid a global crisis, customers were able to remember which brands served them well over the preceding 12 months.

5 Brand Beacons

Here are some of the leaders of their respective industries, with a brief explanation of how they embody two of the design principles from the ExperienceBuiltTM Brand Index. A more expansive review of the study breaks down each brand’s results across all LIVE 8 metrics in greater detail.

Restaurants: Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A team members Appreciate Audience Attention; they make their customers feel valued. The company is known for its people-first attitude and its commitment to guest safety and comfort. Chick-fil-A recently demonstrated a remarkable ability to Anticipate the What-ifs, becoming one of the first in its industry to respond to the COVID-19 crisis by closing dining rooms, clearly communicating plans to safeguard the health and well-being of employees and customers, and quickly adapting its processes and parking lots to accommodate mobile orders and curbside delivery.

Retail Stores: COSTCO

COSTCO Begins with People. The wholesale giant values its customers, which in turn makes its customers value it. COSTCO Communicates Everything Clearly and is applauded for its transparency. The company has been able to retain its “magic” even during the pandemic by drawing on the goodwill it has amassed over the years. COSTO is the go-to solution for many consumers, particularly those who enjoy buying in bulk. When circumstances necessitated limits to bulk buying, COSTCO’s clear and friendly signs fostered understanding, not ugliness.

Grocery: Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is known for its eagerness to Revise Based on Feedback. The company solicits customers’ opinions on everything from product selection to store hours and incorporates that feedback better than any grocer in the industry. It is repeatedly cited as a top-tier retailer for customer satisfaction. The company wants grocery shopping to be fun and inclusive. It Integrates Sensory Needs into its in-store experience, engaging shoppers with samples and entertainment.

Financial: USAA

USAA is another example of an organization whose culture Begins with People; it is family-based and welcoming, tied to its mission of serving only military members and their families. USAA Considers Micro-Moments and supports its customers during every stage of their interactions. These shared values and experiences guide the interactions between employees and customers, and even the smallest details are handled with premium care. Trust is reinforced with each micro-moment.

Telecom: T-Mobile

T-Mobile Communicates Everything Clearly and leads its industry in making customer interactions easy. The company values responsiveness and expertise in getting its customers’ issues solved promptly, with “No Bots. No bouncing. No BS.” T-Mobile also displayed a masterful show of Anticipating the What-ifs during the early days of the coronavirus when it succeeded in transitioning most of its call center employees to remote work in record time. Amid a global pandemic, T-Mobile was able to maintain an outstanding level of customer care.

Beacons of Excellence for Your Marketing

ExperienceBuiltTM Brands demonstrate a mastery of experience design principles to achieve industry-leading status. There is nothing accidental about their success. By following their lead, other brands can create experiences that remain with their customers long after the moment is gone, regardless of circumstance.

Get a free consult on the ways your company can learn from these leaders by emailing hello@mmr.live.

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