Skip to main content

Three tools to design a distinctive, competitive customer experience

For even the most customer-obsessed businesses, it's tricky to bridge the gap between transformative ambitions and the specific digital experiences customers will love. Our Strategy Director Cierra Dobson shares her top three tools to help you start creating those distinctive, competitive customer experiences.

Three tools to design a distinctive, competitive customer experience hero image

START WITH YOUR PURPOSE, AMBITION OR POSITIONING - WHATEVER BEST DESCRIBES WHAT YOUR BRAND IS ALL ABOUT. THIS IS YOUR PROMISE TO CUSTOMERS.

By Cierra Dobson

It’s no secret that customer experience can be a competitive advantage for businesses. According to Accenture, 77% of CEOs plan to fundamentally change the way their brand interacts with its customers[1]. But, for even the most customer-obsessed businesses, bridging the gap between transformative ambitions and the specific digital experiences customers will love is incredibly difficult. Cierra Dobson, strategy director, explores three tools to create distinctive, competitive customer experiences.

Any business looking to transform its digital CX will start with the basics: updating legacy systems, removing friction, personalisation, etc. But what about experiences that position your brand as unique and shareworthy? 

Consider Vitality Health – their focus on supporting and rewarding healthy behaviours is refreshingly unique. Members accrue in-app rewards based on their physical activity and are prompted to discover their ‘Vitality Age’ with a lifestyle quiz. Vitality makes health insurance fun – using their vibrant, life-affirming brand identity as a North Star for a truly differentiating digital experience.

Organisations looking to invest in a digital CX that will help them stand out, should consider using these tools: 


[1]  https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/interactive/_acnmedia/Thought-Leadership-Assets/PDF-3/Accenture-Interactive-Business-of-Experience-Full-Report.pdf

Brand Experience Framework.png

Brainstorm using the five facets of Brand Experience 

Start with your purpose, ambition or positioning – whatever best describes what your brand is all about. This is your promise to customers. Then, consider each facet of Brand Experience to brainstorm new ways your brand might engage with customers. In other words, what are all the ways in which you might deliver on that promise? 

  1. Think – What could we offer that helps customers explore, learn and make sense of the world?

  2. Feel – What do we want our customers to feel when interacting with us?

  3. Do – What could we help our customers do that makes our brand valuable, or essential to their lives?

  4. Sense – What sensory experiences will bring our brand to life and delight our customers?

  5. Connect – What sense of belonging/community will people get from us? 

Rufus Leonard developed this Brand Experience Framework to systematically draw out ideas based on brand identity, without the typical channel siloes. It’s also an inward-looking process, where you focus on what’s meaningful and unique about your brand, generating ideas that go beyond responding to customer needs alone.

Benefit feasibility graph.png

Prioritise based on expected business benefit and feasibility

With hundreds of ideas on the table, leaders can disagree on where to invest and CX transformations quickly lose momentum, resulting in an array of small improvements to business-as-usual. 

To get consensus on a path forward, consider a prioritisation workshop where leaders agree to business benefit and feasibility criteria beforehand. In the workshop, score each CX idea based on its expected impact on key business KPIs and its feasibility (usually a combination of costs and organisational readiness). With a score for each, plot the ideas on an X-Y graph, where the top right quadrant represents ideas that are both easy to implement and have a high expected business benefit. Ideas in the top left quadrant represent small quick wins, and those in the bottom right should be considered long-term priorities. Those with low business benefit and low feasibility scores… reconsider altogether. 

While a cost benefit analysis is nothing new, applying objective assessment to CX ideas – involving passionate champions and detractors across your organisation – is essential to push brilliant ideas forward, while letting less worthy ones die with dignity. 

Experience pyramid.png

Frame your ideas based on their roles 

With a prioritised set of experiences, the next hurdle is buy-in. CX innovation can be expensive and risky; decision-makers can feel overwhelmed by a long list of implementation priorities. 

Consider using a pyramid framework, with three layers each representing a role:  

  • Top: Category defining experiences – create a meaningful experience that delivers on brand promises and distinguishes from competitors 

  • Middle: Transformational experiences – add customer value and drive business growth 

  • Base: Trust building experiences – help the business keep pace with industry standards and address existing customer pain points 

The power of this simple framework is that it communicates how experiences can play different roles while strategically building on each other. It can help decision makers see the big picture and how each experience or workstream contributes.  

Forrester research shows brands with leading CX grow revenue faster, cut costs, reduce risk and can charge more for their products than those who don’t invest in innovation[1]. The opportunities are huge, but finding the time and space to be visionary can be a daunting task. And once the ideas are on the page – how do you decide which ones to run with?

Used together, these three tools can help you take stock of what you’ve got and lift your gaze to the horizon – to brainstorm, prioritise and communicate a visionary customer experience strategy that will truly set you apart from the competition. 


[1] https://www.forrester.com/blogs/why-invest-in-customer-experience-eu/

KEYTAKEAWAY

Organisations looking to invest in a digital CX that will help them stand out, should consider using these tools: 

  • Brainstorm using the five facets of Brand Experience 

Think – What could we offer that helps customers explore, learn and make sense of the world?

Feel – What do we want our customers to feel when interacting with us?

Do – What could we help our customers do that makes our brand valuable, or essential to their lives?

Sense – What sensory experiences will bring our brand to life and delight our customers?

Connect – What sense of belonging/community will people get from us? 

  • Prioritise based on expected business benefit and feasibility

While a cost benefit analysis is nothing new, applying objective assessment to CX ideas is essential to push brilliant ideas forward, while letting less worthy ones die with dignity. 

  • Frame your ideas based on their roles 

Consider using a pyramid framework, with three layers each representing a role:  

Top: Category defining experiences – create a meaningful experience that delivers on brand promises and distinguishes from competitors 

Middle: Transformational experiences – add customer value and drive business growth 

Base: Trust building experiences – help the business keep pace with industry standards and address existing customer pain points 

"Brand strategy was my first love, but I've spent the past several years honing my skills in digital service design, emerging tech and customer experience strategy; I bring a 'whole experience' perspective to strategic planning."

People-Card -Cierra- 480x320
Cierra DobsonStrategy Director

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

GET IN TOUCH

If you’ve got the aspiration to deliver something meaningful to your customers, we’ve got the strategic thinkers and creative doers to make it happen. For a little bit more on how we can help, complete the form on the right and we’ll get in touch.

LOOKING FOR IDEAS AND ADVICE?

Read the latest inspo from our team