According to HBR, research shows that the importance of brand value has declined by nearly half, while the importance of customer relationship values have doubled over the last ten years. This makes investors more attracted to investing in businesses that have strong customer relationships who can cross-sell, upsell, and have repeat customers vs. those businesses that simply have a strong brand.
One of the reasons cited is that with digitalization, information about the customer experience is much more accessible. Customers can now read about a product or service and compare the specifications of the purchase so the actual purchase is more fact-based and less brand-image based. This leaves the customer experience to be the differentiator as to where the customer will take their business. The customer can read the posts and comments to see who is easiest to do business with and who provides more of a WOW experience. If the customer experience is commensurate with the brand promise, then it strengthens the relationship with that organization; however, if it does not, the customer is no longer dependent to be loyal to that brand.
So, while outstanding customer service experiences can create a brand image, the key is to ensure your organization is consistently living your brand. And if your company does not have a strong “brand image” providing great customer value can help you attract customers and help create a positive brand.