Creating a signature brand experience isn’t just about what you do; it’s about how you make your customers feel. It’s the difference between a one-time transaction and a lifelong memory. At the DiJulius Group, we’ve honed a methodology that empowers brands to leave an indelible mark on their customers’ hearts and minds. Think of one brand that you really couldn’t imagine living without. Now ask yourself, “Why?” Chances are, there are others out there selling the same product or service, yet you still choose to do business with them over everyone else. Why? Because you love the way that they make you feel. They have mastered the art of the signature experience.
As an Experience Consultant, I’ve had the privilege of guiding brands toward crafting signature experiences that resonate deeply with their clientele. I’ve seen firsthand the transformative power of a brand’s signature experience — a journey that transcends mere transactions, evolving into the realm of storytelling, where every interaction has one thing in mind — the customer. Our approach at the DiJulius Group is grounded in a customer-centric philosophy, where exceptional experiences are designed to not only meet but exceed customer expectations.
One brand that I can’t imagine living without is SoulCycle. The first time I clipped into a SoulCycle bike, I wasn’t just starting a workout; I was embarking on a journey meticulously orchestrated to turn a routine into a revelation. Back in 2016 when I
found Soulcycle, I had no intention of making working out a regular part of my life. To be honest, I hated exercise — or so I thought. You see, it wasn’t exercise that I hated. It was the traditional ‘gym’ atmosphere that I didn’t feel a part of. I’m not an athlete, and when my friend dragged me along to an early morning class, I realized I didn’t have to be. Both at SoulCycle and at The DiJulius Group, I’ve seen a brands signature experience become an art form where every detail counts, crafting moments that don’t just satisfy, but also inspire and connect. This isn’t true only for elite or luxury brands like The Ritz Carlton or Nordstrom. Take Chick-fil-A or Starbucks, for example. They both hire from a very similar applicant pool as their competition, but somehow Chick-fil-A is able to get 35k+ employees saying “my pleasure”. It’s because they’ve become customer focused and obsessed with their brand experience. It’s the reason Nordstrom walks your shopping bag around the counter and hands it directly to you, and the same reason that my venti soy latte at Starbucks tastes the exact same here in New York as it did last week when I ordered from a Starbucks in DC. These world class companies focus on six essential strategies that we employee at the DiJulius Group to curate such unforgettable experiences. Follow along with my personal SoulCycle example to see how you can, too.
1. Architect a Compelling Brand Promise that is Upheld through an Action Statement
The heartbeat of a signature experience is the brand promise—it’s the commitment to deliver exceptional value that customers can anticipate before they walk through the door. SoulCycle pledges not just a cycling session but a cathartic escape. That’s a bold promise that captures imaginations and expectations.
But how do you ensure that your promise isn’t just words on a wall? Brands do this by creating a Customer Experience Action Statement. The Customer Experience Action Statement is what you want your team members to be delivering and your customers to be feeling every single time they interact.The key is alignment—every facet of the operation, from the booking process to the check-out, must reflect and fulfill that pledge. In guiding brands, I stress the importance of this alignment, encouraging them to perform a workshop to ensure that what they aspire to deliver is truly what the customer receives.
2. Cultivate an Intimate Understanding of Your Audience
To tailor an experience, you must first know whom you’re tailoring it for. SoulCycle doesn’t just recognize their clientele; they celebrate them. They understand the diversity of motivations that bring riders into the studio, from the fitness enthusiast to the spiritual seeker.
Deeply grasping the nuances of your audience enables you to craft touch points that resonate on a personal level. Using The DiJulius Group’s methodology, we implement tools and training to decode customer profiles, creating a feedback loop that continually refines the understanding of the audience’s evolving needs and desires.
3. Curate Signature Moments
The crescendo of any signature experience is its hallmark moments—those memories that are so powerful they become stories customers share. At SoulCycle, it’s the immersive experience: the dimmed lights, the instructor’s empowering speech, the collective energy of the room.
In our practice, we collaborate with brands to identify and cultivate these moments. It’s not about grand gestures; it’s about identifying opportunities to create an emotional impact. It could be a personalized welcome, an unexpected gift, or a heartfelt farewell—simple yet powerful actions that become the hallmark of your brand.
At the very least, incorporating these simple principles into each of the touchpoint’s of the customer journey will go a long way:
Genuine Hospitality = The Five E’s – Eye contact, Enthusiastic greeting, Ear-to-ear smile, Engage, & Educate
Service Recovery = LEAST – Listen, Empathize, Apologize, Solve, and Thank
Make a connection = FORD – Family, Occupation, Recreation, & Dreams
The methodology unfolds in a series of strategic steps that ensure every brand touchpoint is optimized to create a lasting impression.
4. Ensure Consistency: The Backbone of Excellence
The best-laid plans crumble without flawless execution. Every SoulCycle class delivers the same high-energy ambiance and quality, no matter the location. Consistency breeds trust, and trust breeds loyalty. Think of consistency as the backbone of a brand’s promise, the essential structure upon which trust is built. For SoulCycle, it doesn’t matter if a rider is in New York or California—the beat, the atmosphere, the exhilarating push; it’s all unmistakably SoulCycle. This consistency turns clients into loyal advocates who can always expect—and receive—the same high level of service and engagement, irrespective of location or circumstance.
Creating Non-negotiable service standards, woven into all SOPs, is the secret to consistency. They are the guiding principles that are not meant to be broken but are to be upheld with reverence by every team member, every day. These are not mere suggestions but foundational principles that guide the behavior and decision-making processes of the entire staff, regardless of title.
Using The DiJulius Group’s methodology, we guide businesses to establish these standards in a manner that leaves no room for ambiguity. For instance, a non-negotiable standard for a hospitality business might be that any guest complaint must be addressed and resolved within a certain timeframe, ensuring immediate attention and reinforcing the importance of guest satisfaction as a priority. Creating systems that ensure this consistency begins with delving into operational details at every touchpoint of the Customer Experience Cycle, and engraining these into employee training and culture, knowing that consistency in these areas leads to a consistently outstanding experience for customers.
5. Engage and Empower Your Team
Your team is the frontline of your brand promise. SoulCycle instructors are more than trainers; they are brand ambassadors who believe in the SoulCycle ethos and are empowered to deliver on it. We encourage businesses to view their employees as key stakeholders in the experience delivery. Through extensive training and empowerment initiatives, team members can become the most authentic purveyors of your brand’s signature experience.
6. Listen, Adapt, and Evolve
The final note in the symphony of experience creation is adaptability. SoulCycle’s offering has evolved by listening to and acting on customer feedback. It’s a brand in motion, ever-changing to the beat of its riders’ needs. Adaptability is a core tenet of the DiJulius Group’s methodology. We instill in brands the importance of ongoing dialogue with customers, using feedback to fuel innovation and ensure that the experience remains relevant and resonant, whether this is through surveys, NPS scores, or other metrics.
Like SoulCycle, brands should aspire to become not just a part of their customers’ routines but a highlight of their day, a community they are proud to be a part of, and a story they are eager to tell.
In crafting your brand’s signature experience, let every decision be driven by these strategies, but also let them be imbued with the unique spirit of your brand. It’s not simply about what you do but how you do it that transforms a service into a signature.
For those eager to delve deeper into creating your own signature brand experience:
Additionally, applications are now open for the 2024 Customer Xperience Executive Academy (CXEA), where leaders are equipped to champion change including designing, leading and managing elevated service levels across any industry, using our X Commandments Methodology. Join us to become a maestro of customer experience in your own right.
Additional Upcoming Webinars:
November 16, 2023 1:00pm EST
Register for this webinar as Cal shares a first-hand account of this burgeoning generation that’s set to dominate the labor market. Composing over a third of the global population and more than a quarter of the U.S. populace, Gen Z is on track to soon surpass Millennials as the most populous and diverse generation ever. But it’s not just their numbers that matter; it’s the paradigm-shifting influence they’re set to have on technology, careers, politics, and organizational culture. In this illuminating breakout session, Cal will help you understand the unique behaviors, attitudes, and preferences of his generation. He will debunk common myths and stereotypes, replacing them with data-driven insights and actionable strategies.
November 30, 2023 1:00pm EST
Register to join Nicole Paul as she shares the secrets that the best customer experience companies use to turn disappointed customers into brand evangelists. One of the key characteristics of the top customer experience brands in the world is that they are ‘Zero Risk’ to do business with. A Zero Risk business isn’t one that never makes mistakes; every excellent customer service company drops the ball from time to time. The secret to what makes these top brands Zero Risk lies in their customer service training; specifically, how well they have trained their employees to make it right when things do go wrong. In other words, Zero Risk means peace of mind for the customer.
December 7, 2023 11:00am EST
Register for this webinar with John DiJulius and you’ll gain insights into the significance of Ubuntu in today’s business landscape and why it’s crucial. You’ll also discover the top misconception CEOs have about Customer Experience (CX), explore the four powerful soft skills, and learn strategies to minimize employee turnover. Additionally, you’ll delve into the importance of avoiding client surprises, the transformative potential of purpose, and how a robust service recovery process can serve as your ultimate customer loyalty strategy. Finally, you’ll uncover the interconnected relationship between employee experiences and customer perceptions.
December 12, 2023 1:00pm EST
Register to hear Dave Murray share how to become the best professional decision of your employees’ lives. This content comes from the new book John and Dave co-authored titled The Employee Experience Revolution, coming out in 2024. The “Great Resignation”, “Quiet Quitting”, and “Cancel Culture” are not indictments on employees, but rather, business leaders’ lack of focus on truly caring for the people who are under their command. Today’s employees are more selective than ever regarding who they will work for; they are insisting that companies and their leaders help them live the right life. That is how you build a world-class culture.
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The CXO (Chief eXperience Officer) has been one of the fastest growing positions in corporate America over the last decade. The Customer Xperience Executive Academy (CXEA) is like a master’s degree in Customer Experience. The Customer Experience Executive Academy course is a 12-month part-time rigorous program. Training will occur in the classroom, in businesses, and virtually through scheduled calls and webinars. The CXE student is required to attend quarterly intensive training sessions and participate in virtual meetings.
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