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What’s the Standard?
By: Aaron Whitaker
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All brands are held to a standard. There are certain unsaid but definitely known levels that are approved by customers and others that are simply unacceptable. These standards vary from industry to industry as expected. However, brands must also understand their own unique standards and what customers will allow from them. There are no hard and fast rules, no guidelines for a brand to follow; but instead each must uncover and understand what will pass and what will fail. After all this is part of the ongoing relationship between brand and customer.

There are many brands that have and utilize an ongoing communication stream with their customers. This allows the brand to understand what the customer expects and where the brand needs to deliver. In addition, this helps to set expectations for the customer while also making them feel a part of the “team.” This type of brand-customer relationship can be the difference between an understanding and supportive customer and one that is annoyed and angry because their expectations were not met. Think of the opportunity this allows for the brand — testing products, concepts, and programs and using true customer feedback to guide the future of the brand.

Then there are some brands that are just held to another level. Customer expectations are high and the brand consistently delivers. Apple is one of these gold stars; held to the highest of standards and expected to exceed expectations time and time again. Then the brand released its iOS6 and that customer standard became overwhelmingly clear. The switchover from Google Maps to Apple Maps has not been positive. The Apple Maps don’t work. For a brand that continuously exceeds expectations and always gets it right, this was definitely a brand misstep. Did the brand forget its standard? Did it forget its customers’ expectations?

The conversation is less about an Apple “mistake” and more about the Apple standard. Had any other brand been the culprit of this there would be no conversation. Because other brands have different standards and different expectations. Apple took its eyes off the customer, took its expectations for granted and ultimately had a minor disappointment. Will this change not only the level to which Apple is held but also the perception of the brand?

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About the Author
Aaron Whitaker is a copywriter, blogger, and social media aficionado who likes watching the TV commercials more than the actual shows. He prefers reading the magazine ads over the articles. And you can learn more about him online right here.
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