‘Good things come to those who wait.’

That iconic Guinness brand line really started my love and subsequent career in brand and advertising – a career that has now spanned the globe and a shift from agency to the advertising tech and, ironically, the real-time world.

So, I’m understandably interested in how and where brand sits in the brave new world of data, technology and performance.

In the middle of the 20th century, when product was no longer enough to compete and differentiate, companies needed something else, something to represent their values and drive emotional purchases. Enter, brand.

Now, certain companies have brand to thank for up to 70 per cent of their market cap. And, despite the capabilities of dynamic creative and retargeting, branding is critical to interacting with Gen Z – after all, they don’t like ‘ads’ in the traditional sense, but they do like ‘branding’. Why? Because it is authentic.

Data creates excellent CX and builds trust


We talk often of data being paramount in marketing, because it’s just true. Excellent marketing without customer data is becoming impossible as customers expect personalised engagement, even in B2B marketing – 72% of B2B buyers expect engagement personalised to their needs according to our recent research.

And data plays an enormous part in delivering the personalised, relevant experiences customers have come to expect, and those customers will swap their data for better CX – 79% of customers are willing to share relevant information about themselves in exchange for contextualised interactions in which they’re immediately known and understood.

And those customers are also more likely to trust your company if you transparently use their data to improve CX – 86% say they will trust a company more if the company explains how their personal information is used to create better CX.


But it’s not the only thing you need


But content is right up there too – not only is it important to your marketing efforts, it’s an essential part of the experience puzzle. And content is defined by brand. As a brilliant Executive Creative Director once said to me ‘Data gets you to my front door, content and creative is your chance to tell me something interesting’. So data is key, yes, but brand, storytelling and creative are not going anywhere.

The revolution we’ve seen in the ad world has come in two forms: channel and technology. We have incredible tools that allow us to leverage data, AI, personalisation and one-to-one communications across new and innovative channels, so the question isn’t how we use brand or why brand is important.

The question: Where does brand sit?  


Agency, client, consultancy, tech vendor? The answer is ‘everywhere’. Customers are 3.7 times more likely than not to view seamless transitions between channels as important to CX, and just over half of customers say most companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences.

To improve the latter statistic, we need to look to the former to find customers’ desire – brand needs to be an omnipresent layer of consistency, guiding tone of voice in all communication.

Yes, communicating at the right time, with the right message and on the right channel are critical, as is hyper-personalisation, but in order for these tactical points to succeed, the customer needs to have heard of you already and to understand what you stand for because it’s a consistent part of every interaction they’ve had – an emotional connection is the power of brand.

The solution


I find it amazing that brand, performance and customer experience teams are often not one team. And this problem flows on to data, channel and disconnected experiences. We have two sides of the brain, rational and emotional, or data and brand as I like to think of it – and too often we focus on the former.

But as Byron Sharp notes, both rational thought and emotional response go into a buying decision. In order to be front of mind, trigger instinctual responses and cut through in the incredibly distracted world we live in, we need to combine these two critical elements – logic and emotion – and work together with data underpinning brand.

I love data, and I love brand. It’s about time these two things came together at a strategic level for one reason: The customer.

For more insights on customer expectations, and the role of brand and data in CX, join us at the Connections to You event in Sydney at the ICC on November 26.