The rise of the chief experience officer

The addition of the chief experience officer to the C-Suite will amplify PR's voice in the boardroom, writes Ben Reed.

PRs should celebrate the rise of the chief experience officer, writes Ben Reed
PRs should celebrate the rise of the chief experience officer, writes Ben Reed
PR professionals will soon have a new ally in the boardroom. This C-level role will become an internal evangelist for all communication messages a brand puts to market and, more importantly, bear responsibility for disseminating those messages across every division of the business to ensure a consistent experience across every consumer touch-point. 

Meet your new friend: The chief experience Officer (CXO). 

As we’ve all seen with the infamous video McDonald’s Ads Vs the Real Thing and countless frustrating in-store experiences vented on Twitter, consumers are increasingly expecting the physical reality to match the marketing promise. 

In the real-time, over-sharing social media world, just one bad customer experience has the power to seriously dent a brand’s reputation. 

At best, a bad experience leaves the consumer coming away feeling mildly let down. At its worst, it loses brands their reputation and customers and hits the bottom line. 

And when it happens, it is normally the PR professional that is brought in to do the fire-fighting.

PRs have always been tasked with positioning their brand in the best possible light. 

However, many will have experienced the shattering disappointment when a successful communications campaign is slammed publicly by someone who has had a bad customer service experience, visited a poorly executed website, been unable to get a response from the social media team or visited a shabby store that damaged their perception of the brand.

Unfortunately, to date the PR’s hands have largely been tied when it comes to influencing the wider brand experience. 

But this is where PR’s close relationship with the new CXO becomes critical. 

A good CXO will ensure no element of a brand’s business operations undermines its PR messaging. 

It will take into account all touch points of the consumer journey – from digital to analogue and right the way through to physical – to ensure consistency, quality and the genuine delivery of a brand’s messages.

If PR is already understood and well deployed within a business, the CXO simply amplifies the team’s work. 

If there is a knowledge gap or lack of appreciation, the CXO is tasked with creating and delivering an internal education programme highlighting PR’s role in share price, brand reputation and customer acquisition.

This role is of course still in its infancy and many major brands have not yet introduced a CXO to their board. 

However, with growing value being placed on brand experiences and successful high profile examples like the recent Louis Vuitton Series 3 exhibition in London, the potential for the CXO to support and enhance a communication campaign should really excite the PR industry. 

The CXO could be the game-changer that allows PRs to deliver truly transformational and creative work. If a brand can subscribe an entire workforce around a core message at the outset, communications campaigns will have far greater impact, stay authentic and genuinely impact on customer loyalty.

Ben Reed is the head of brand engagement at The Silvertown Partnership

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