How CX and Experience Marketing Create New Opportunities to Energize Brands and Delight Customers

This week’s guest is Kevin Tydlaska-Dziedzic, founder and CEO of BKN Creative. As a practitioner of experience marketing who works in sync with customer experience throughout the customer life cycle, Kevin leads customer experience initiatives across the entire business. And he’s not alone. According to the 7th State of Marketing Report from Salesforce, 80% of marketers maintain responsibility for customer experience.

Through branding, photography, web design, copywriting, marketing, and social media marketing, Kevin’s agency helps clients develop better relationships with their customers before, during, and after the sale.

In this episode, we discuss how experience marketing has evolved to become an essential part of the overall customer experience, and how the ‘why’ of a company’s brand is essential to creating that experience. Plus, Kevin shares three examples that show how his approach to experience marketing builds on growth opportunities to enhance the customer experience through marketing efforts.

Finding His ‘Why’ and Helping Clients Make the Most of Theirs

Kevin grew up in Colorado where he always gravitated towards creative outlets. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in photography and began working in the marketing industry when he moved to New York City and joined the marketing team at Whole Foods Market. Kevin and his husband eventually moved to Tampa where they worked at several marketing agencies that were full of creatives, strategies, and fantastic clients.

Although the marketing world fascinated and inspired him, he wanted to do more. He sought a culture that was inclusive, fun, and motivated by his ‘why’ to focus on clients’ passions and why they do what they do.

So, in 2018 Kevin founded BKN Creative. His mission was to grow the agency by helping clients find their ‘why’ and to deliver on those findings. He also knew that he had to grow the agency in a way that reflected his passions.

A minority-owned business, BKN Creative is certified LGBTBE® by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). Agency headquarters is in Tampa, but they also collaborate with clients in Colorado, New York, and New Mexico. Kevin and his team of 11 help companies leverage their ‘why.’ They also show them where they have opportunities to improve their relationships with customers and build brand loyalty through experience marketing.

What is Experience Marketing?

The original concept and practice of experience marketing was to create specific in-person marketing events where customers interacted with a brand’s products or services. It was a separate department from customer experience. Each had its own budget and managers.

Over time, companies recognized that customer experience was the most important way to differentiate their brand. Since talented experience marketing professionals were already well versed at creating great experiences for customers, bringing them in to improve CX at all customer touchpoints made a lot of sense.

And that’s what Kevin and his team at BKN Creative do—experience marketing at every touchpoint to build brand loyalty throughout the customer journey.

He approaches his brand of experience marketing in three phases.

  1. Understand the ‘Why’ Behind the Brand

The brand needs to reflect what’s important to the business. Why was the business started? What motivates you? What are your passions? How do customers find you?

Answers to these (and other) questions are key to every visual design element. That includes color palette, typography, imagery, layout, and more. And from these elements a logo emerges that captures the spirit of the brand and sets it apart so it appeals to its customers. But that’s just the beginning.

  1. Delight Customers at Every Stage of Their Journey

Phase 2 is where customers meet products and services, one-on-one, throughout the customer journey. Those encounters can happen at retail (brick and mortar or online), at events, on the client’s website, on social media, on search engines, and even on review websites or even how the company books appointments.

Any time people experience a company’s brand—even if it’s before they realize that their customer journey is about to begin—is an opportunity to create a great experience for them. And that needs to reflect who the company is, what they stand for, and why the customer should want to do business with them.

  1. Extend the Experience Beyond the Sale

As Kevin points out, the experience doesn’t stop at the sale. Instead, it’s necessary to extend the elite experience the customer enjoys on their journey beyond the sale. Why? To encourage the customer to deepen their relationship with the company, to buy again, and to be an advocate for the brand.

3 Examples of Experience Marketing

Kevin says even companies that do a great job with most of their experience marketing efforts can still have gaps that leave them susceptible to customer complacency or customer churn. He explains that those gaps are not negatives, they are growth opportunities to improve the customer experience strategy and boost customer engagement. That always-positive perspective plays out in these examples.

Example 1: Changing Customer Perceptions on Social Media

A respected financial institution approached BKN Creative with a very specific need. For the most part, their marketing efforts were rocking. But customer feedback showed there was a gap in their social media activity.

That’s a heavy lift for two reasons:

  1. People are more uninhibited when commenting on social media as opposed to face-to-face or voice interactions.
  2. Money is important to all of us, and people can get emotional about their money on social.

After analyzing touchpoints throughout the entire customer journey, Kevin and his team identified opportunities for the financial institution to grow the speed at which they harnessed social media to answer questions, route calls, route messages, and handle issues raised by customers.

Kevin’s team put together a customer experience strategy that leveraged every social media platform they were on, as well as their review platforms. The goal was to further improve the positive perception of their customer service by being as helpful and responsive to customer needs as possible.

The strategy embodied the mindset that there are no stupid questions. There is no experience we can’t solve, or help, or make delightful. Now, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., all customer complaints and concerns expressed on social media are addressed.

Planning for effective social media monitoring support, training agents, and identifying and responding to trends yields significant positive impacts on the customer experience. As an example, iQor collaborates with a prepaid wireless service provider to deliver social media customer support, reducing response time on social media from 1 hour-plus to under 6 minutes.

BKN’s client also expressed a desire for its customers to make better use of its mobile app. Kevin’s team created an educational campaign using video to make learning the intricacies of the app easier.

These two experience marketing engagements seized opportunities to fill in the gaps and expand on the company’s positive customer experience efforts to increase customer satisfaction.

Example 2: Extending Success and Opportunity for a Consulting Dynamo

When LaKendria Robinson approached BKN Creative with her idea for a new company, she was already a recognized diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) powerhouse in Tampa Bay. Running the NFL’s Business Connect program for Super Bowl LV helped earn her that status.

BKN Creative collaborated with LaKendria to bring her vision of a DE&I consultancy to fruition. Their effort was top-to-bottom and end-to-end, including:

  • Name ideation
  • Branding
  • Color story
  • Typography
  • Mission statement
  • Website
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Potential client booking process
  • Growth opportunities

From their collaboration (and LaKendria’s unstoppable commitment) The Orenda Collective was born to “. . . challenge organizations and individuals to view their community through a diverse, equitable and inclusive lens and deliver innovation solutions that live on in perpetuity.”

Once The Orenda Collective was on its feet, BKN Creative presented LaKendria with a growth opportunity—to start a nonprofit that provides microgrants to minorities so they can create their own small business. LaKendria embraced the opportunity, and BKN Creative provided the creative direction.

Example 3: Smile at iQor

iQor is excited to collaborate with Kevin and BKN Creative. As it did with the financial institution discussed in Example 1, Kevin’s team analyzed iQor’s experience marketing strategy and zeroed in on social media as a chance for growth opportunities.

But unlike the financial institution, iQor has two social media audiences:

  1. iQor’s current and future clients.
  2. iQor’s large and extraordinary audience of team members and future team members.

As Kevin noted, iQor has a robust culture that deserves celebrating. Now, not only do future team members learn about our culture, they also hear about it from current team members who celebrate it on social media.

By filling in the gaps, Kevin and his team have strengthened iQor’s robust experience marketing efforts.

What Kevin Does for Fun

When he’s not running a busy agency, Kevin loves to act in plays, films, and television. And while he can’t mountain bike in Florida as he did in Colorado, he enjoys biking the many trails he’s found in Florida with his husband and business partner, Brandon.

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