The rules of growth versus brand experience

Coffee cups representing growth and impact on brand experience

It is natural for a business to chase growth and wanting to get bigger and more successful. But there are many potential traps along the growing path, with one of the key ones being customer experience with your brand and managing brand perception along the way.

Recently I was reading about how a coffee chain (Starbucks) are trying to grow their overall market by increasing their presence outside the high street, to now also include motorway service stations and onboard trains (UK). The issue in the article was the inconsistency in customer experience, perhaps a cause of chasing growth, but either way a cause of concern.

Being what can only be described as a brand loyalist when it comes to Starbucks, I can indentify with these issues. There is a reason why one becomes a loyal customer of a coffee shop; one likes the taste of their drinks. If that experience becomes too inconsistent from store to store, that causes confusion around the brand, and potentially reducing the lifetime value of that customer.

When chasing growth for ones business it is therefore important that one considers the following factors along the way:

1) can I maintain a consistent customer/brand experience as I grow the business?

2) if not, what is the cost impact on core business compared to benefit of reaching a wider market?

3) If you can’t maintain a good and consistent customer experience, and the ROI of growth is not great, DON’T DO IT!

This will of course have to be analysed constantly throughout the lifetime of your business, based on your core objectives and strategy.

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