Your brand, Pandora, and important implications for your customer value

What does your brand have to do with Pandora, customer value and delivering on an optimal experience?  Yes – that Pandora.  Even if you aren’t in the entertainment sector, you’re delivering an experience, and that experience should have inherit value.

Much like Pandora, you …

BROADCAST.  Pandora offers listeners an ability to select music aligned to their unique tastes, and even moods. For example, I listen to Bollywood Beatdown, a fusion of Indian and Lounge music.  Pandora offers me music.  And understanding that I have a range of interests, it offers me variety.  Likewise, your brand, directly or indirectly, broadcasts messages about your company to your customers.  Those broadcasts may be formally constructed brand messages, or the subtle messages your product or service sends in simply interacting with clients.

KNOW ME. Pandora knows its customers and no doubt invests a lot in analyzing, even predicting, the patterns and needs of its user base. It utilizes that information (in aggregate form) to offer its advertising partners an opportunity to market their services. As consumers, most of us, take this for granted.  In Pandora’s case, I get messages for a Mini Cooper Dealership in San Jose, California.  Pandora gets me.  I own a Mini Cooper.  There’s just one thing. I now live in Boston and heading west for tune ups are simply out of the question.  You likely have defined your brand to align to your target clients, given your understanding of those clients’ needs. But how do you change that understanding over time?  Are you using real time data, or old obsolete data?  Furthermore, how do you arm your partners (in this case advertisers) to enhance your customers’ experiences. That’s customer value.

DIGITIZE MY EXPERIENCE.  Pandora’s delivery platform is primarily mobile. As a business today, you certainly use a combination of channels to reach your target customer. It’s likely, too, that you promote your brand via at least two digital platforms. In lots of ways, this is a given for doing business in 2016.  But there’s more still.  How do you expand the digital range so that the experience is top notch?  Again, it’s about knowing even more about your consumer.  I often listen to Pandora in the car.  Trouble is, I also need to watch the road vs. fiddle with my phone.  I don’t yet have the driverless model of Mini.  Thanks to the integration of iPhone’s AI, Siri, and Pandora, Siri can start Pandora with merely my voice.  Smart developers made this possible.  And the value to me as a customer is that I can listen to Pandora and not crash into the cars around me.

Customer Value Imperatives

Thinking more about what the Pandora model can tell us about branding and customer value, let’s look at some imperatives:

PLAY CONTINUOUSLY, JUST ADJUST.  Ensure your brand isn’t stuck in content neutral. Though I love lots of Pandora stations, some are stuck in a boring loop of the same old music. Though not directly Pandora’s responsibility, it ultimately influences my “experience” of Pandora.  Since content and experience are major elements of brand identity, this aspect is crucial. To use another example, some companies encourage employees to blog about the company. While overall, I commend this, it’s important that the blog content enhance the brand vs. neutralize it.

GET MY TRIGGER POINTS.  I love Pandora. But is my brand loyalty strong enough to make me overlook the occasional old content loop? Understand all of your customer’s triggers, including those that will make them jump to a competitor.

COMPETE FOR ME. As a Pandora listener, I have options. I can shift to another Pandora station or I can simply download Spotify and see if their stations are any better. Today’s customer is highly empowered. Your brand has to create, and continuously extend its connection to your buyer.  It needs to offer adaptive customer value.

Points to Ponder:

How do your brand wrap a rich experience and deeper customer value around your products or services?

What defines value for your client (i.e. thought leadership content, developer experience, executive engagement)?  And how does this value evolve over time?

How do you integrate rich, meaningful brand messages across all platforms?