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In today’s fast-moving, digital-first world, marketing thought leaders never stop talking about the importance of making a strong first impression. But once you get past first impressions, flash matters less—and substance matters more. To dig into these questions, we’ve put together another installment of our Broken Vs. Brilliant video series.

In today’s fast-moving, digital-first world, marketing thought leaders never stop talking about the importance of making a strong first impression. Priming for push. Priming for location. Investing in onboarding (and using testing to get your onboarding flow just right). And the thing is, they’re right—if you don’t win over customers early, it’s a lot harder to retain them. But building a sustainable customer/brand relationship isn’t something that happens in an afternoon—it’s an ongoing process that lasts as long as the relationship does.

Once you get past first impressions, flash matters less—and substance matters more. In general, customers use your service because it’s relevant to their interests and needs, and because they think your brand can add real value to your lives. Post-onboarding, the onus is on you to live up to their expectations.

What does it look like when a brand does that—or fails to? (Like, really, really fails to.) To dig into these questions, we’ve put together another installment of our Broken Vs. Brilliant video series, where we explore the line between broken and brilliant brand experiences with a little help from a (fictional) brand and one of its (equally fictional) customers.

Last Time On… Broken Vs. Brilliant

Sara Hightower-Kellerman — Age 27 — Software Engineer II at Yachtr
UponVoyage Inc. — Travel & Hospitality Bookings

We met Sara Hightower-Kellerman, an Austin-based software engineer planning to attend a scintillating-sounding conference in Kansas City. Watched her get up to speed on travel and hospitality app UponVoyage. And waited with bated breath for the day of her flight to roll around...

When we think of bad customer experiences, we tend to focus on situations where something serious went wrong. That’s natural: there’s little that alienates a customer quicker than creating a brand experience that just falls completely on its face. But don’t lose sight of the other kind of failed experiences that can have just as negative impact over the long term—namely, missed opportunities to provide value.

Strong brand/customer relationships are built on clear, meaningful communication—just like other relationships! But more communication doesn’t necessarily equal BETTER communication; it’s all about ensuring that your outreach is relevant and valuable to the people receiving it. This brilliant flow made that happen with a little help from:

Next Time On... “Broken Vs. Brilliant”

Seethe as Sara watches her arrival time start to slip away. Swoon as she and Ayesha share a romantic concert, thanks to a little help from UponVoyage. Shiver as a gate change announcement puts Sara’s whole flight in Jeopardy. Stay tuned for all this and more on the next installment of...Broken vs. Brilliant!

Todd Grennan

Todd Grennan is a New York-based writer and editor. When he's not writing about mobile marketing, customer retention and emerging technologies for Braze (formerly Appboy), you can find him trying to read his way through every Wikipedia article related to World War II.