A brand is a fragile thing (part 1)

It’s simple: the value of a corporate brand is based on the sum of the experiences that customers have with that company. Lots of great experiences equals a great brand.

But a brand is a fragile thing and needs to be monitored, nurtured and protected. It only takes a few poor experiences to undermine the brand’s value.

Case in point: my partner and I love Tim Horton’s (a Canadian coffee chain). We were visiting Vancouver, BC and had a hankering for a “Timmie’s” bagel. We don’t know the city very well but, no problem, I’ve got the Tim Horton app on my iPhone and it quickly showed us a near-by location.

When we got to that location we were disappointed because it was a “kiosk location” inside a gas station which doesn’t make bagels. Back to the app which showed us another location. Seven minutes later we were disappointed again: another “kiosk location”.

Frustrated and hungry we drove to a competitor where we had a bagel that wasn’t nearly as good and cost twice as much.

The cost(s) to Tim Horton’s?

– the loss of 2 sales

– we don’t trust their app

– we had a mediocre experience at their competitor’s (which we blame on Tim Horton’s)

The result is that their brand has been slightly tarnished in our mind. Multiple this by 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 and you can see how a brand can rapidly lose its lustre.

The solution? Ensure that EVERY experience a customer has with your brand meets the expectations you intended. In this case, the “coolness” of having an app was undermined by the poor experience the app delivered.