A Closer Look at the Monetary Value of Emotion

Victor Milligan

Human beings are emotional. The chemical reactions that trigger emotions determine our feelings toward a brand and our likelihood to spend. This fundamental, primal relationship is baked into how humans operate; however, it is not yet baked into how most companies operate.

Initial CX efforts gave us better insights into customer journeys across digital, physical, and human touchpoints. That opened a window into what causes emotional responses and provided an early warning system for emotions that provoke actions. But we’ve only begun to uncover the profound relationship between emotion and revenue. For example:

  • In the hotel industry, among customers who felt valued, 90% will advocate for the brand, 67% plan to increase their spending with the brand, and 87% plan to stay with the brand, per Forrester’s Customer Experience (CX) Index.
  • According to CX Index data, the TV service provider industry had the largest percentage of customers who felt annoyed compared with any other industry in our study. The result is that just 8% will advocate for the brand, only 13% plan to increase their spending with the brand, and barely 15% plan to stay with the brand.
  • Users can abandon digital sites and purchase paths within 50 milliseconds if the experience does not meet their (ever-increasing) expectations.
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Voodoo Branding

"A Contemporary Version Of Witchcraft"

Wally Ollins, of Wolf Ollins fame and a legend of sorts in the branding world, didn’t look too kindly upon brand measurement. "There are too many people," he said "... who are fed the rubbish that if you can't analyze it - if you can't chew it up into numbers - it doesn't exist." Not one to mince words, he continued, "I deeply reject all that and find it to be a contemporary version of witchcraft." It's hard to argue with Wally; somewhere along the way doctrine and data have dulled the notion that brand is, to quote JetBlue's CEO, "the way we feel." 

The Inevitability Of Measurement

David Aaker is a legend of sorts as well in the branding world, and a lot of his work centers on brand equity. David writes of brand as an asset. And as an asset, it is must withstand financial scrutiny and ROI justification. CMOs may know it in their hearts, but CEOs and CFOs must see it on paper. That leaves us with the unenviable task of calculating the incalculable. Many have rushed forward to meet this challenge. I describe various measurement techniques in detail in my new report for Forrester clients: Branding Never Sleeps; a brief summary appears below.

Four Measurement Streams

  • The nitty gritty of brand performance is relatively easy to measure using survey, operational, and transactional data
  • Near-real time brand sentiment can be captured by social listening, although skewed samples and lack of established frameworks muddy the water
  • Perception can be surveyed, but traditional ask-and-tell tracking of emotions is fraught with problems; neuromarketing offers some emerging and exciting avenues 
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The Brand is Dead. Long Live The Brand.

It's not about whether brands have value. It's about how to manage the value.

Twilight Of The Brands

In early 2014, our profession faced an existential crisis. The end was near, said James Surowiecki, in his New Yorker article, "Twilight Of The Brands." Look at Lululemon, he cried. The cult-like athletic wear brand was reeling from product failure and leadership indelicacies. And he referenced new research that said consumers were "supremely well informed," and did not need to "rely on logos" to determine value.

In The Pink Of Health

Turns out Surowiecki wasn't so well informed after all:

  • More is not better. It is true that the digital age brings with it more information about brands. More than many would care for, really. And therein lies the rub – this tsunami without filter or curation does little to clarify and more to confuse.
  • Brands signify more than information. The idea of brand as a signal of value is valid, although simplistic. More information may bridge quality and trustworthiness gaps, but a brand is much more. It conveys an emotional connection. Information plays no role in sipping a Coke or running in Nike. 
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Winning On The Battleground Of CX

Victor Milligan

The customer is changing market fundamentals...and customer experience (CX) is changing operating fundamentals.

In a recent webinar, key CX analysts Moira Dorsey, Harley Manning, and Blaise James tackled how CX is changing operating fundamentals with a deep dive on the state of CX and special attention to the real implications of CX.

There is broad market acceptance that winning on the basis of experience is a customer-led mandate. You can look at the reasons why from two different angles:

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CMOs, Your Role Is Evolving . . . Are You Keeping Up?

Sheryl Pattek

I recently returned from an amazing vacation in the Galápago Islands where the impact of evolution is evident all around you. It was in the amazing Galápagos where Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution by means of natural selection. And it might surprise you to learn that a tiny bird called the Galápagos (or more commonly Darwin's) finch played a critical role in the formation of Darwin's theories. The diversity of the various finch species and how they evolved from a common ancestor to adapt to the different food types on each Galápagos island fascinated Darwin. Although these birds act and look pretty much alike (e.g., size, plumage, behavior), there are actually 14 species with a distinctive size and shape of their beak. Some are long and narrow to get at available food in deep cracks of volcanic rock, and some are wide and short to scoop up the moss on the flat rocks by the shoreline, along with everything in between. These birds were only able to survive the harsh and unique conditions on the Galápagos by evolving to their available food supply.

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Leadership In The Age Of The Customer

Victor Milligan

Leading through change requires that right mix of imagination, inspiration, and gritty execution. And we are in a world of change. Empowered customers and the constant and rapid wave of digital innovation are changing market fundamentals. Leaders are now challenged to respond.

I had the pleasure of hosting a discussion with James McQuivey, Carl Doty, and Sam Stern to talk leadership in the age of the customer. Our conversation covered a range of topics from having the wisdom to see the market for what it is versus how we would like the market to act to putting in motion strategic and operational change that is necessary, new, and risky. Here are the five takeaways:

  1. The customer is in motion. Customers rapidly adopt — and rapidly abandon — technologies, services, and brands. That is wonderful and scary thing. It creates new possibilities. But it also redefines the norms for churn where a decision to shift spend is made by a single experience — good or bad. This dynamic can represent a major threat to growth if companies need to absorb 10%+ churn. 
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Marketing With Virtual Reality

JP Gownder

Moonlighting as a contributor to our CMO role's research, I've just published a major new report about how virtual reality will affect marketers, collaborating with Forrester's lead on digital disruption, James McQuivey, PhD.

CMOs and other marketers have four choices when it comes to virtual reality (VR). Most of you should wait and see, because there's no business imperative to invest scarce time and resources in VR this year. But there are three other choices available to digital predators – that is, CMOs at companies that want to shape trends, not follow them:

  1. Crawl – The Coachella music festival went a step beyond providing an event app: they handed out thousands of cardboard VR headsets to attendees. Since festival-goers can't be everywhere at once, they can catch shows that happened on other stages, extending and rounding out the benefits of attendance. They recognized that consumers don't yet own their own VR devices, so they gave them out as part of the experience to deepen engagement.
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European Marketers Are More Likely To Model And Measure Customer-Obsessed Leadership

James McQuivey

It's the age of the customer, and only the leaders who know how to lead their organizations to increased customer obsession will be able to keep up with hyperadoptive consumers. Those consumers already expect to get what they want, when, where, and how they want it. The only question will be who will give it to them? Will it be you?

It's a question I asked today on stage at Forrester's Marketing Europe 2016 forum in London. I shared with them an overview of my recent report, "Leadership In The Age Of The Customer," a months-long project that revealed the five things that customer-obsessed leaders must do. I then asked the attendees to answer five questions. Just more than 40 executives took my short five-question survey, allowing me to compare the marketers in the UK and from across Europe with their counterparts in the US, where I asked the same questions just a few weeks ago. See the chart below to see how they compared.

As you can tell, our UK colleagues are more confident in how effectively they measure customer obsession. That's a tremendous thing. In a few key areas, however, they fall slightly behind, such as in recognizing and rewarding customer obsession in others and especially in providing the resources that are needed to achieve customer obsession. 

What to do next? You can measure yourself in more detail than these five questions — in a survey that still takes fewer than 10 minutes to complete. Just go to http://bit.ly/AoCLeadershipStudy to participate in and learn more about the full study.

Also, sign up for our upcoming webinar, "Adapting Leadership To The Customer-Led Market." See the link below, and click to register. See you there.

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Customer-Obsessed Leaders Do These Five Things: Do You?

James McQuivey

Five years into the age of the customer and it's clear that we're just getting started. More technology is coming — Amazon Echo, anyone? — and that doesn't even begin to touch on the stuff that will hit closer to 2020 and beyond: virtual reality, augmented reality, self-driving cars, and robot assistants.

I'm pleased to introduce my latest report: "Leadership in the Age of the Customer." This project is the result of months of work to update our view of the age of the customer, a 20-year business cycle in which power is shifting from businesses and institutions to end consumers. Technology, information, and connectivity are combining to instill in people a belief that they can have what they want, when, where, and how they want it. 

The key to emerging triumphant through all of this will be customer obsession. Organizations that put the customer at the center of their process, policies, and practices will successfully develop and deliver the experiences that hyperadoptive customers are ready to embrace. That will mean changing the operating model of the organization to be more customer-obsessed. It will also require that executives consciously lead the organization to customer obsession.

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Forrester’s New Breakout Vendor Series: Stay On Top Of Disruptive Technology

Carrie Johnson

Have you heard of Hubba? Coupa? What about APX Labs? Forrester features these technology vendors, alongside 19 others, in our new Breakout Vendor reports. To keep pace with the expectations of digitally empowered customers and clients, firms must stay on top of disruptive and emerging technologies. Keeping up with new providers of potentially game-changing technologies is overwhelming, which is why we're introducing this new Breakout Vendor research. In these reports, we give you insight into the most promising innovations — and the companies behind them — that will accelerate growth in the age of the customer.

Forrester's Breakout Vendor reports provide insight into:

  • Offering: What are the capabilities of the products and the technology?

  • Scenarios: What are the scenarios and environments in which the company excels?

  • Maturity: What is the company's go-to-market approach, channel strategy, and viability?

  • Challenges: What are the potential pitfalls and areas for improvement?

  • Road map: What's next for the business and its products?

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