7 mins

Joining the race to the bottom

By Steve Cook


I just read another article about Customer Experience and why businesses now need CXOs (Customer Experience Officers) to create ‘consistent customer experiences across all touchpoints’ and to ‘work beyond marketing to ensure that all business stakeholders deliver these experiences when interacting with customers’.

Well, shock horror. If only this had been done before.

Oh, wait, it has. It’s called Brand Strategy – ever heard of it?

It’s about defining the optimum position a business can adopt in its markets and in the heads and hearts of everyone it wants to touch – and then ensuring that absolutely everything and everyone inside and outside the business delivers against it – right up until the observant brand strategists etc. preempt changes in customers needs of brand. It’s been around for a long time.

I am surprised no-one seems to have heard of it. It’s always been the ultimate determinant of customer experience. It’s always had the customer at the heart of everything.

It’s why Brand Strategy should (and in successful businesses does) reside outside marketing.

“Brand has oversight on everything, every line of business, on the business itself, its people, culture, strategies, innovations, products – and of course sales and marketing.”

The only reason why we have to have CXOs now is because businesses, marketing teams, and even some brand strategists thought that brand was a subset of marketing. How wrong, how foolish.

Brand Strategy is Business Strategy. Brand Conduct (our methodology) is Business Conduct.

Brand Experience is customer experience but way more than that, its ‘Everyone Experience’. It is, was and always will be.

Brand Strategy is the true driver for Differentiation, Competitive Advantage, value propositions, and customer experience – it’s also the driver for everything else that’s important – like defining organizational change needs and strategies, future talent and capabilities development, investor relations and business asset value growth.

Most importantly, and this may be tough for some ad men, marketers, PR agencies, digital and design folk etc. to understand…

Brand Strategy is about truth. – real truth, not fake truth – it’s lasting, not transient.

If all the people who are out there pontificating about Customer Experience actually stopped and focused on the things that have always been true, that have always been there, they might actually create good customer experiences.

“If all those agency Chief Strategy Officers actually operated strategically rather than tactically (but dressed up as strategy, because they can only think of strategy in a narrow tactical band) they might actually create meaningful, lasting and valuable strategies.”
Above all, the sooner the world stops perpetuating silo mentality by creating ever more separatist job functions and grandiose titles, the sooner everyone can actually start collaborating properly to deliver the very things that are currently prevented.

Real longevity, value, truth, virtue and great, cohesive customer experience.

I learned this on day one at art school in 1980. Why are others only just learning it now? What have they been doing with their careers? They should stop trying to re-invent things in a need for self-importance and focus on what’s always been the truth.

Customer experience has always been one key driver for Brand Strategy and Brand Strategy has always been the driver for business strategy.

The fact that people were/are too myopic to see it doesn’t mean it wasn’t/isn’t, the truth

By making Brand Strategy, not Branding, Customer Experience, Marketing, Data, Technology etc. etc. the centre of your universe, you will be better able to orchestrate (conduct) all these things and add considerably wider and deeper value to your entire, changing organization.

But to be successful, you have to be truly strategic and utterly non-partisan.




+44 7956 544943   |   stephen.cook@vstrategy.co.uk

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