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Customer experience: a North Star for businesses

How CX helps create stronger, more resilient brands in times of uncertainty 

As corporations learn to live with endless volatility in the economy and geo-politics, they are changing the way their businesses operate, drive revenue and grow.

We continue to see both ‘traditional’ product businesses and their digitally native counterparts strive to build true ecosystem brands. The promise of this approach is that it will drive both equity and revenue through a series of truly integrated touchpoints. Historically, this is something more brands have aspired to do than successfully executed. But there is fresh impetus for businesses to make the shift in the future.

Not only does this end-to-end ecosystem create lifetime value for many brands, but we also see evidence that it makes businesses more resilient to challenges ranging from churn to inflation. Increasingly, ecosystem brands are not just a way to drive growth, but also to hedge against an uncertain future.

The essential ingredient in an ecosystem brand is undoubtedly customer experience (CX).  

As volatility shows no sign of abating, here are five ways that building brands with CX at the heart will help companies navigate the years to come.

Business: CX as the start point for business design

At its best, CX is essential to setting strategy. Start with the desired consumer experience. Then, reverse-engineer this experience to identify the business models, capabilities and offerings that make that experience possible.

This can lead businesses to rethink business models. There’s emerging evidence that some of these models – such as subscription – are more resilient than others to recession.

Brand: building brands in an age of inflation

Inflation impacts every aspect of the supply chain. It also makes reaching new customers more expensive. This is due to wider inflationary pressures, but also an influx of special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) cash into the marketing space.

In this context, we’re partnering with clients to harness all aspects of CX to build their brands – be that loyalty programmes or last-mile excellence. This requires a business to think of each touchpoint as an opportunity to fulfil its promise. A brand that is seen by customers as consistent and reliable is best placed to withstand inflationary shocks.

Data: collecting data during an uptick of restrictions

Powerful and personalised CX is fuelled by data, but there are multiple barriers to securing it. Brands are rightly worried about their ability to collect data in the future, but it’s important to remember that almost two-thirds of consumers are willing to trade more personal data for better experiences. Businesses that focus on this value-exchange will future-proof their first-party data strategies.

Reputation: harnessing the rising tide of employee power

Responsibility is now 300% more important than a decade ago in driving corporate reputation (BrandZ). And central to reputation are employees. Employee Experience is a central (but often underfunded) facet of a strong brand ecosystem. Because of this, we are helping clients translate their values to create employee experiences that are meaningful and authentic.

Growth: long-term value in a world of short-term pressure

John Donahoe, CEO of Nike, said “We know a consumer who connects with us on two or more platforms has a lifetime value that's four times higher than those who don’t.” Ecosystem brands understand this and use seamless CX as the thread that connects these platforms. Striking the balance between short and long-term interests has never been harder, but CX can deliver payback on both.

For more in-depth insights and analysis download WPP’s Winning the Future of Customer Experience

Conrad Persons


published on

11 May 2022



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