The difference between brand experience and customer experience

Is it a brand experience or a customer experience? Depending on who you talk with and the various perspectives that are shared, there appears to be confusion about the relationship and/or difference between brand experience and customer experience.

To me, it’s always been clear. The brand experience is what we as marketers, brand managers and brand identity consultants design in an effort to achieve the desired brand image. The customer experience is your reality check. Are you accomplishing what you set out to do? Is your brand delivering on its promises? Your brand lives inside the hearts and minds of your customers. How do they interact with your brand? What do they say about it? How do they feel when they use it? If you talk with them, listen to them and understand the answers to these questions, you’ll know what, if any, strategic shifts you need to make to positively impact the experience your customer has with your brand.

To say that brand experience design can and should influence the customer experience is, from my viewpoint, spot-on. The challenge lies in the fact that every day there are more and more channels to manage and in today’s highly connected world, the customer has an increasingly influential voice. As brand managers, it’s imperative that we stay connected to our customers and end users, listen to what they’re telling us and be willing to make the changes we need to make to stay relevant. Then, we need to keep listening. Only in this way will we know whether the customer and end-user experiences align with the brand experience we intend to create.