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Mind the Experience Gap

The experience gap is the difference between expectation and reality. Expectations are set by individuals and businesses every day; with the products we use, the services we pay for, the food we eat, the events we attend, etc. And often we are left with a negative experience gap. “I thought the group would be more friendly.” “I expected more information.” “Shouldn’t it automatically come with fries?” “I thought Santa was real”.

Santa Claus is a terrific example of a carefully managed campaign that in the end, comes up short. There’s this collective effort by people around the world to keep the myth going for future generations of children. My sister-in-law loves the Santa Claus myth and goes to great lengths to cultivate his presence each year. She and her husband wait for the kids to go to bed. Then, they make boot prints and reindeer hoof prints in the snow outside. The kids leave out carrots for the deer so their mother chews them up and spits them all over the yard! I love it!

WARNING: contains spoilers: Santa continues to deliver [gifts] over the years until one day, you learn the truth. There is no Santa Claus. Do you remember that feeling? You’d been duped all these years! And now that you know, you automatically stop getting gifts from Santa. What gives?

Do you have a Santa scenario? You’ve kept clients happy and managed expectations for a while but eventually your services fall short of their expectations. That’s a perception gap.

Brand management = minding the gap.

Branding is the act of managing expectation by looking at the big picture. It’s how we tell our customers and prospects what they can and should expect from us so that they don’t walk away disappointed, having anticipated something different entirely.

So, as the year comes to a close, what are you holding onto that you shouldn’t be? Is it the tired, out-of-date message you’ve touted for years that makes sense to you, and means nothing to your customers? Are you comfortable with squeaking by another year, disconnected from your prospects? Is your marketing strategy a hope, prayer and a networking event? We can change that. By taking our clients through a signature, 5-step revitalization process, we help our clients create brand reputations that precede them.

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