The dance of promises and experience

The dance of promises made by an organisation and the experience it delivers can be everything from the smooth glide of Fred and Ginger circling the floor to the awkward missteps and sore toes of a first waltz.

Experience and promises circle each other in continual motion. Where one begins and one ends should be impossible to see. But that’s not the case. Experience leads. And in the process, the experience either keeps the promise or carelessly stomps on its toes.

The product that stops working the second time you use it. The friendly customer service person who rebuffs your questions. The lofty goals of the off-site, sidelined in day-to-day decisions. The store that shuts early. The humdinger of an idea stymied by red tape.

Amid today’s “hustle or you’ll get left behind” mindset, experience is the “new black”. We love to feel like we are doing something and even better if it is shiny, fun. So the allure of the design process associated with experience has enticed many organisations to forge ahead with little understanding of how to deliver the result and make the associated promises.

I’m not only talking about customer experience, employee experience is just as relevant and they are impossible to separate.

To learn more about the employee and customer loop click here.

Before you can aim where to go, you’ve got to know where you are now. Often, the work to understand the current state experience misses this step. Because in addition to disentangling WHAT the current experience looks like, clarity will only come when you also delve into HOW and WHY it looks that way.

And it needs to be an ongoing process. Every action and decision of an organisation make the current state the future state. Sure you power up the Delorean and try to leap ahead, but don’t be surprised if once you get there, there has moved.

Which brings me back to the interplay of promises and experience. The day the doors open for the first time promises and experience start their dance and never stop. Every time a promise is delivered (or not) by experience it becomes the new promise. That’s good when the promise is kept, bad when it is broken.

To learn more about to make promises you can keep click here.

In my brand formula, I show experience over promises. It could easily be the other way around. The way they work doesn’t hinge on their place and order. The key is to realise they are a relationship, not separate entities, but a couple, circling the floor in your organisation together.

So to get a robust, resilient brand result, make sure any discussion about experience includes promises and vice versa.

See you next week.

Michel is an Independent Brand Thinker and Adviser dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. You can find Michel at or you can follow her on Twitter @michelhogan


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