Software is eating your brand

Your customers’ experience with your brand is shaped by software. Marketers who embrace this will succeed.

Dig beneath the surface and you’ll see that every brand is now digital. This goes far beyond digital marketing, web sites, and mobile apps. Every brand touchpoint is now shaped by software.

It’s obvious that software drives your web site, but just think for a second about just how much software is involved. Your brand has a web server somewhere, but the user’s browser is what decides how your site will look. People are finding your website thanks to Google’s massive software system. Yet another system tracks visits and provides analytics. As every marketer knows, this huge stack of software is a beastly but critical ally.

When you call customer service, it’s clear that software routes your call, soothes you while on hold, and eventually gets you to the right agent. While that agent’s demeanor can make or break the customer experience, it’s the software that makes it a useful and brand-supportive interaction. From looking up your account to taking your order, that agent can only provide a positive experience if their software makes it second nature. And by the way, your call has been recorded for training purposes – by software that analyzes the agent’s performance and lets his manager know when he needs a little help.

Throughout the physical world, software lies just beneath the brand’s surface.  Step into a Target store and consider their brand promise: “Expect More. Pay Less”.  To fulfill this promise, Target has a huge and complex software system to shepherd products from manufacturers to the store shelf. Their brand experience simply could not exist without this software. This is replayed daily in thousands of smaller retailers, online and off.

Even stewards of far smaller brands must embrace the new digital reality. Your company may not have a huge ERP system or call center, nor should you. But your suppliers do, and you can’t sustain your brand without them. Marketers who understand this have an instant advantage.

The best part? Much of the heavy lifting has already been done for you. Your challenge is to weave these parts together across every brand touchpoint.