As the startup market grows, brands find it harder to establish themselves. According to QuickBooks, 19% of startup leaders consider competition their biggest challenge. But there are ways to stand out.
As a digital strategist and founder of the marketing agency North-East, Marlon Heckman operates at the intersection of strategy, marketing, and innovation. In doing so, he notes that the most successful companies have solid brand strategies and strategic investments in CX.
Together, these two things can help startups see epic growth.
We wanted to pick his brain on why strategy and CX are such a good combo, the benefits of multilingual support, and how to bridge the gap between brand and customer.
Brand and CX are connected
Twenty-five years ago, creating a brand with a singular, epic story was still possible. Unfortunately, branding doesn’t work that way anymore. Forrester emphasizes that marketing campaigns are no longer the beginning or 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 startups 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 mark the consumer looks for.”
Citing an example from experience, he ran into issues as a user of the SHARE NOW car-sharing service. 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 essential at the startup stage to focus on obtaining the right mix.
Startups should invest in branding and CX from the get-go
While much smaller in scale than their established counterparts, startups have many CX advantages — primarily their ability to forge strong brand-customer 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 relationships. As a result, Marlon says the market now favors the smaller players — startups.
“With startups, 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, startups understand, more than anyone, the power of customer–centricity. After all, many were born out of frustration with existing products or services.
VanMoof, for example, designed a bike to overcome everyday annoyances cycling commuters face. Similarly, Stripe was a solution to the difficulties of dealing with online payments.
Startups know a service needs to substantiate its brand and vice versa. And that, Marlon says, is precisely why startups should invest in their 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 a customer’s steps when engaging with your brand. You can source big data for customer behavior analytics by mapping these steps out. From that data, you can form CX strategies that work.
It’s also one many startups have embraced, relying on digital solutions to simplify the process. As a result, an array of tools are available 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 and seeing great results.”
Discover how customer service journey mapping can power up your CX ➜
Think local, act local (with multilingual support)
Over the last three decades, globalization has been a leading factor in international marketing — but times are changing.
For years, brands have implemented a “think global, act local” approach to marketing. 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 worldwide, 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 positively impacts your brand, customer retention, and spending. And customers appreciate global brands that offer native language options even if they don’t use them.
Reach your worldwide customers with prime multilingual customer support ➜
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, the gap between EX and CX is wide for many companies — startups included. And if a customer can’t connect to an employee, you’ll miss out on huge opportunities for your brand.
Giving employees the freedom to express their passion for a brand is important, and having brand ambassadors provide your customer support helps bridge the EX/CX gap because fans always go one 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.
Learn more about what our fans of brands can do for your business ➜
Brand strategy and CX: the dream team
Brand Strategy and CX are your dream team for an effective, impactful startup. Forget Ben and Jerry because brand strategy and CX are the new dream team, especially for impactful startups that won’t fail like so many others.
You can supercharge your startup by combining CX with strategy, forging customer journey maps, adding multilingual support, and bridging the EX/CX gap. So whether you have dreams of becoming a unicorn or want to provide a service that matters, there’s no better way to do it.
Marlon Heckman is the Founder and Strategy Lead of the marketing consultancy agency North-East. Based in The Netherlands, Marlon excels at Brand Strategy, Marketing, and Innovation, previously lending his talents to brands like PwC.