How a solid relationship between CX and brand strategy can superpower your start-up

by Marlon Heckman | April 2, 2021


How a solid relationship between CX and brand strategy can superpower your start-up

Expert digital strategist Marlon Heckman knows a lot about how start-ups and scale-ups can see epic growth with great CX. As someone who’s worked with a range of companies, from McKinsey to MTV, we wanted to pick his brain on why strategy and CX are the perfect partnership for an impactful start-up.

Marlon Heckman


As the start-up market grows, brands are finding it harder to establish themselves.According to QuickBooks, 19% of start-up leaders consider competition their biggest challenge.

But there are ways to stand out.

As a digital strategist, Marlon Heckmanoperates at the intersection of strategy, marketing, and innovation. In doing so, he’s noted the most successful companies are those with a solid brand strategy and a strategic investment in CX.Together, these two things can help start-ups see epic growth.

We wanted to pick his brain on why strategy and CX are such a good combo, multilingual support, and how to bridge the gap between employee and customer.

Brand and CX are connected

25 years ago, it was still possible to create a brand with a singular, epic story.

Unfortunately,branding doesn’t work that way anymore.

Forrester emphasizes that marketing campaigns are no longer the beginning nor end of brand curation. These days, your marketing campaigns should intertwine every step, allowing allegiances to strengthen at each touchpoint.

Marlon suggests the way around this is for start-ups to leverage the connection to their benefit.

CX is a blend of transparency, sub-service, well-designed products, and superior customer service. Used right, it hits every single mark the consumer looks for.

Citing an example from experience, as a user of car-sharing service, SHARE NOW, he ran into some issues. But their customer service was so outstanding, he’s now a loyal customer.

Consumers want brands that deliver quality in every aspect. And CX is your way of checking all those boxes at once. So, it’s important at the start-up stage to focus on getting the mix right.

Start-ups should invest in branding and CX from the get-go

While much smaller in scale than their established counterparts, start-ups have many CX advantages.

Primarily, their ability to forge strong customer-brand relationships.

Due to their scale of operations, large, established players aren’t customer oriented. This results in cost-cutting and other factors that can negatively affect those oh-so-vital relationships.

As a result, Marlon says the market now favours the smaller players — start-ups.

With start-ups, customers have more choices. They also feel the power and trust of being heard, be it via customer support or personal experience of the service.

In Marlon’s experience, start-ups understand, more than anyone, the power of customercentricity. After all, many were born out of frustration with existing products or services.

VanMoof, for example, designed a bike to overcome common annoyances cycling commuters face. Similarly, Stripewas a solution to the difficulties of dealing with online payments.

Start-ups know a service needs to substantiate its brand and vice versa.And that, Marlon says, is exactly why start-ups should invest in compelling brand and CX from the word go.

Customer journey maps in CX strategies

While customer journey maps sound complex, they’re simple and effective. They let you illustrate the steps a customer goes through when engaging with your brand.

In mapping these steps out, you’re able to source big data for customer behaviour analytics. From that data, you’ll be able to form CX strategies that work.

It’s also one many start-ups have embraced, relying on digital solutions to simplify the process. As a result, there’s an array of tools available to use to create those maps yourself.

In Marlon’s opinion, this is a wise strategy, worthy of being developed. “Central Europe and Scandinavia are already using higher-level journey mapping,” he says, “and seeing great results.”

Think local, act local (with multilingual support)

Over the last three decades, globalisation has been a leading factor in international marketing. But the times, they are a’changin’.

For years, brands have implemented a “think global, act local” approach tomarketing.Yet recently, a different concept has begun gaining momentum: “Think local, act local.”

While both approaches remain important, Marlon says multilingual support is the way forward. The web is world-wide, after all. And to expand internationally, you must reach out internationally.

By communicating with customers in their native language, you can resolve complex issues fast. For anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Brands with multilingual support, radiate friendliness, proximity, and familiarity. So, it has a positive impact on your brand, customer retention, and spending.

And customers appreciate global brands that offer native language options. Even if they don’t use them.

Bridge the gap with fans of brands

At 5CA, we know there’s a strong connection between employee experience (EX) and CX. So, we choose to fuel our clients’ customer experience by giving them fans of their brand.

Unfortunately, for many companies, the gap between EX and CX is wide. Start-ups included. And if a customer can’t connect to an employee, you miss out on a huge opportunity.

Marlon Heckman agrees.

It’s important to give employees the freedom to express their passion for a brand. And having passionatebrand ambassadorsas customer support helps bridge the EX/CX gap.

That’s because, he says, fans of brands always goone step further. So, having fans of brands at the forefront of your CX strategy is imperative.

As Marlon will tell you: Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Foran effective, impactful start-up Brand Strategy and CX are your dream team

Forget Ben and Jerry, because brand strategy and CX are the new dream team. Especially when it comes to impactful start-ups that won’t fail like so many others.

In combining CX with strategy, forging customer journey maps, adding multilingual support, and bridging the EX/CX gap, you can supercharge your start-up.

Whether you have dreams of being a unicorn or want to provide a service that matters, there’s no better way to do it.

So why not supercharge your start-up’s CX today with 5CA?


Marlon Heckman