Customers want to believe

A brand strategy that doesn’t extend to experience remains a catalogue of hollow promises.

A recent survey by Havas shows that 71 % of consumers have little faith in brands delivering on their promises. Despite this cynicism, 73 % desperately want brands to make a meaningful difference. Paradoxical, isn’t it? People clearly want to believe, but need evidence in order to do so. Makes sense.

These days companies don’t shy away from pushing emotive communication, frequently pulling at the heartstrings with well crafted statements about how things should be. But in a hyper-transparent digital world, consumers immediately spot the difference between what’s being said and done; the actions a brand takes, how it reacts to – or hides from – what unfolds around them. In this new reality, organisations can no longer draw a clear line between marketing and product development. Communications and services. They all fall under the same category: experience.

Care more and say less

We’re often told that companies need to become “customer-obsessed” (another poorly defined trend) in order to survive in today’s world. To be truly obsessed requires companies gearing their strategy, culture and operational principles toward understanding the reactions of customers pursuing a purpose important to them. In other words, the experiences that manifest through people interacting with brands. A product, service or anything else a company takes ownership of must communicate the value it creates without a layer of fluff on top. And do so in a way that customers understand and identify with what the company in question does for them.

People choose brands that make them feel valued as human beings, as well as ones that make a difference. Edelman’s Trust Barometer states that 68 % of consumers want to feel that they can impact corporations to create change. Therefore brands that add value to people’s lives are authentic both to themselves – to who they are – as much as they are to their customers – to who they care about. When working on Kalevala’s brand shift, we aligned together with Kalevala’s team the renewed strategy, brand identity and experience (digital and physical), product and purpose to seamlessly orchestrate journeys that bring value and joy to those who Kalevala cares about. All this translated into an elevated reputation, higher customer satisfaction and ultimately an increase in sales.

The struggle is real

No transition or shift comes without tension, nor should it. When a brand takes strides to becoming customer-centric, its natural for there to be intense deliberation over what its core actually is and what needs to change. When to speak? When to listen? What to hold on to? What to change and by how much? Should my bank speak to me in a different tone to my neighbour? Probably. This kind of tension is similar to what we as human beings encounter every day. To what degree do we remain true to our longstanding beliefs and opinions? How much are we willing to waiver? How intently do we listen, evolve and adapt?

The most progressive and authentic companies are not defined by their age, sector or technological prowess, but by the ability to align experiences with their wider purpose. A promise without executional evidence simply creates a deeper frustration amongst those you care about. However by successfully navigating the inevitable tension, we arrive at opportunity. Because at the end of the day we as human beings want to believe in you.


Daniel Bosch is the Head of brand experience at BOND. He specialises in brand personality and service creation, brand experience and strategic design.

BOND is an independent brand and experience design agency founded in Helsinki in 2009. With studios in Helsinki, London, San Francisco, Dubai and Tallinn. We help companies to reimagine and evolve their brands, create and launch new concepts and ventures, and craft experiences. True to our Nordic roots, our work is defined by our belief that in a complex world, Simple Wins.



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