Around the globe, consumers report that brands set a low bar for the experiences they deliver and struggle to keep up with consumers' expectations. In fact, over 52% of consumers report that brands fail to live up to the promises they make and one-third see overpromising as "just something that brands do", according to the global Experience Brand Index 2018 from brand agency Jack Morton. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

The index was based on a global survey of 6,000 consumers across the United States, United Kingdom and China, and covered 100 brands across 10 industries, asking consumers to rate their various brand experiences and comparing what brands had promised with what they were perceived to have actually delivered.

Globally, brands that scored high in delivering proof to their promises (through the experiences they create) boast 25% more loyalty and a more than 200% higher Net Promoter Score (NPS), indicating strong brand health - which suggests that customer satisfaction with the actions and interactions of brands is a stronger indicator of business impact than brands' marketing messages alone.

The brand experiences included in the index cover the actions and interactions provided by brands: in-store and employee interactions, online shopping, web and mobile experiences, experiential and social content.

The index ranked brands with a maximum score of 100, and found that Amazon, Netflix and Royal Caribbean rank as Experience Leaders (#1) across all experience touch points in the US, UK and China respectively, and only four other brands consistently show up in the top 20 across touch points: Sony, Apple, IBM and IKEA.

However, even those that score high teeter on the edge of mediocrity with a B- grade (79). Experience Laggards, brands at the bottom of the Index, receive a failing grade (on average 53.6).

The report outlines five key lessons for brand marketers the world over:

  1. Brand proof matters and is a stronger indicator of brand health than brand promises. Experience brands deliver more than 200% higher NPS and 25% more loyalty. Consumers care in particular about "how brands behave toward customers, employees and their communities." 79% care about this.
  2. Brand integrity is delicate. Customers will abandon brands if they don't live up to your promises
    nearly half (47%) agree "it makes me feel I can't trust the brand and won't buy it anymore."
  3. Brand touchpoints are proofpoints. Every interaction matters and the most successful Experience Brands deliver consistently across all interactions with consumers and actions.
  4. Brand promises fall short on delivery. More than 50% of consumers agree that brands fall short of their expectation. In China it's 60%. Less than one in four consumers say brands deliver experiences that are significantly better than their competitors. However, Experience Brands are nearly two times more likely to deliver a superior brand experience and be worth talking about.
  5. Brand proof is only going to get more important. Changing generational tides give new focus for brand owners
    Millennials are the most distrustful of brands (36% globally) and 41% in the U.S. believe that brands do not live up to their promises and "want me to believe it is something it's not."

"Consumers demand brands do more than promise a great experience: they expect proof. Brands that back their words with concrete action reap bigger rewards, and they scored significantly higher in the Brand Index," said Josh McCall, CEO for Jack Morton.

The full report has been made available for free download here: