Brand Experience Manual: in a search of balance
In early August I presented a paper at the Design Management Institute 2012 International Research Conference in Boston. There I explored the current status of brand manuals in their ability to provide useful information to the New Service Development (NSD) teams in the development of brand experience. The results show that most of current brand manuals are inadequate for the NSD process because they are either too strict, when they work with concepts such as customer experience; or too broad, when they work with concepts such as brand personality. This leaves a gap between brand strategy and the input for the NSD teams.
In an attempt to deal with this gap I propose the concept of Brand Experience Manual as “an approach to communicating the brand strategy to the NSD and internal teams that focus on clearly informing what experience the brand is trying to deliver”. Thus, this experience-focused brand manual would tackle the problem of inadequate brand input for the design teams. In addition, the role of brand culture within the corporation as means to deliver brand experiences to the customers is very important. In this sense I suggest that the Brand Experience Manual should also work as a trigger that fosters brand culture in the firm and reduces the gap between brand and corporate values.
The research gave me a better understanding of what a Brand Experience Manual should be, although I still need to work on a framework for it, which is my next step. Also, I noticed that in a service dominated market, where services, and even goods, have many touch-points, service design can be a very useful approach to branding, when branding is understood as communicating the brand’s proposition to the customers. It is about defining what the brand stands for and then translating this intangible concept into tangible interactions, goods or services, which can be perceived by the customer and render experiences.