“Love and marriage, love and marriage
They go together like a horse and carriage
This I tell you, brother
You can’t have one without the other”

– Frank Sinatra

The New Yorker once wrote of Sinatra that “he sounds the way you would sound if you could speak the things you feel.” In my line of work, not quite as fecund with feeling as Sinatra’s, we sometimes bump into things that we just know, deep in our shareholder-value-maximizing souls, belong together: brand experience and customer experience. Yes, the anticlimax is palpable after Sinatra’s paean to love and marriage, but this I tell you, brother and sister: This is the inseparability that can make or break your business.

A poor promise will starve a great experience. A poor experience will break a great promise. And either will render the brand unfit to compete.

Questions That Don’t Want To Go Away

BX and CX. Brand experience and customer experience. Where does one begin and the other end? Is there even a beginning and an end? Who owns what? And how do teams execute on these? These are vexing questions and a source of much confusion for many brands. Not surprisingly, I get asked these questions quite often by marketing and experience professionals, often enough that it made sense for us to unravel all the knots and put down Forrester’s take on BX and CX on paper. My esteemed colleague and fearless CX analyst Ryan Hart joined me on this quest. Our full report is available for Forrester clients; let me take this opportunity to share some of the highlights from our study.

Harmony Is An Existential Imperative

  • The best companies harmonize brand experience (BX) and customer experience (CX). Those that allow these experiences to fragment and fester risk, best-case, leaving money on the table. Worst case: These brands will be rendered irrelevant, especially in categories ripe for disruption.
  • It doesn’t happen by itself — you have to work hard at creating a structure that facilitates the interplay between CX and BX. The right org boxes and lines need to be linked, and cross-organizational initiatives need to bring these linkages to life.
  • The harmony you are striving for is strategic, operational, and organizational.

How Do You Get Started?

  • You have to work the elbow grease on your brand strategy and set the tone and texture for your experience. Without a set of guide rails for experience to deliver on, any CX effort will flounder through no fault of its own.
  • Once you’ve set the brand tone, deliver, deliver, deliver — impeccably and relentlessly. And keep measuring and course-correcting.
  • The CMO is the chief brand ambassador within the organization. The entire organization needs to come together, connected by the brand, to deliver on experience. This happens only when the CMO has evangelized and socialized the brand in a way that can be operationalized by every experience touchpoint in the company.

Want More?

The full report is available for Forrester clients here. Ryan Hart and I also do a joint workshop on this topic; please contact your account folks if that is of interest. We might even sing Sinatra for you.