Join me on another great episode of Science Of CX as Jesse Purewal, Head of Brand at Qualtrics stops by for a chat. Jesse and I got into some great discussions around how to build a great brand, how to drive your company's brand relevance, developing emotional connections and connecting your employees to your brand. This is a must listen to episode as there is so much in it. Almost too much to list.
Jesse Purewal is a storyteller whose empathy, curiosity, and wit empower people to tell their own stories in inspiring, influential, and compelling ways. An expert in building brand, marketing, and CX strategies in high-technology categories, he is the lead of the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Sector at Qualtrics. Prior to joining Qualtrics, Jesse was a Partner at Prophet, where he worked with the leadership of B2B and B2B2C tech companies to drive growth through brand, marketing, and CX. He also originated and led the firm’s annual Brand Relevance Index, a global study of 50,000 customers that informs the drivers of brand relevance—and the most relevant brands—worldwide. Jesse is on the Board of Room to Read, a global nonprofit based in San Francisco. He has an MBA from Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and a BS in Mathematical Methods in Social Sciences (MMSS) with a Minor in German Language from Northwestern University
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Welcome to the Science of C. X podcast, my name is Steve papa's a former serial entrepreneur turned C. X obsessed expert and each week we bring you an inspiring message and insight into how customer experience can catapult your business to soar grow and accelerate beyond what you thought was possible. We seek out experts to interview and help you on your journey to see X in the Science of C X. Well welcome everybody to another episode of the Science of C. X. I'm Steve Pappas, your host and as always, we scour the world looking for experts in all areas of customer experience. Today is no exception to that we have a guest on and it's Jesse pure all Jesse comes to us from Qualtrics and many of you know Qualtrics and those of you that don't are going to find out a little bit about it and hopefully you take some notes and you're not driving, but if you can take notes, I think this is going to be a very interesting show and I hope you're going to learn a lot from today's show. So help me welcome Jesse to the show, Jesse welcome and thanks for coming on the show. Thank you Steve for having me greatly appreciated. Look forward to today. Let me give folks a little bit about your bio just so they understand where we're going to go with today's episode. So Jesse is essentially a storyteller whose empathy, curiosity and would empower people to tell their own stories in inspiring, influential and compelling ways. An expert in building brand marketing and seek strategies in high technology categories. He is the lead of the technology, media and telecommunications sector at Qualtrics. So prior to joining Qualtrics, Jesse was a partner at profit, where he worked with the leadership of B to B and B two B, two C tech companies to drive growth through brand marketing and customer experience. He also originated and led the firm's annual brand relevance index, a global study of 50,000 customers that informs the drivers of brand relevance and the most relevant brands worldwide. Jesse is on the board of room to read a global nonprofit based in San Francisco. He has an MBA from Berkeley's HAAS School of Business and a Bs in mathematical methods in social sciences with a minor and German language from Northwestern University. So Jesse, that is a heck of a bio and there's lots in there to unpack and hopefully we'll be able to talk about this. The one thing that kind of struck me was a brand relevance index. Can you just give us a little bit on what a brand relevance indexes? Yeah. And I'll talk a little bit about the context in which that index was created. Prior to coming to Qualtrics. I was a partner at a wonderful boutique brand and marketing strategy consultancy called profit profit with a P R O P H E T. And we were being asked about the middle of the last decade, a lot of questions by our clients around. How do we create a brand that can stand the test of time as the world is changing rapidly around us? You know, at the time, Digital had become sort of the new marketing Omni channel was sort of the new way people were trying to figure out how to monetize social and trying to understand, given that clearly the power of brands is in the hands of consumers and customers, not by those who sort of have it on the logos of their headquarters. How do we build relevance in that kind of a moment as we get into that era? And so we said, you know, what we need to do is to stop having one off answers to that question and go talk to consumers and understand what is it that's behind the most relevant brands in the world and what enables them to stay in our terms relentlessly relevant. And so we did an empirical look At all of the things that could potentially drive brand relevance. And we stood up a study that eventually looked at 16 factors that turned out to be predictive of how relevant a brand of being consumers lives and a lot of pride in that a highly collaborative, team based effort with dozens of people from around profit, but connecting with 50,000 consumers annually allowed us to really understand, Boy, what are the drivers of relevance across different categories and for any given brand in particular? That's great. You know, it really strikes me that understanding what drives brands in consumer's minds is kind of an elusive thing and the fact that you could Look at 50,000 across your base there, it gives you real indication into what's driving them, what are the trends things to think about? I know you talk a lot about brand building with purpose and this is something that I think our listeners would be very interested, and I'm sure this is what has evolved over time in your career. Can you let our listeners know what you mean by brand building with purpose? Let me address the question inherent in the statement you made before that. And then I'll talk what I mean about building greater purpose. So we're here talking about the science of C. X. It was very important to me and to many of my colleagues a profit given what our clients expect in terms of the empirical burden of proof and the decisions they are making to bring a science to brand strategy and to marketing decisions. And so that was really the thesis again of going back to that many customers to say we could make it up as we go or we could actually have a verifiable base of evidence on which to make decisions like that. So as it turns out one of the key drivers, one of the key variables that indicates the salient or the relevance of a brand is whether that brand has a purpose, people can believe in and we're very careful about this vocabulary and have to make sure it translates in all the markets. U. S, Germany UK and china that we did the research in. But having a purpose that a consumer believes in turns out to be a predictor of its relevance, which turns out then to be a predictor of its revenue growth. So what do we mean by a purpose? I think of purpose most nearly as what is the shared interest between the company and the consumer? That is what common aims? What common objectives do the people building the food and beverage, the software, the truck, whatever it is we're talking about have with the person as consumer and where do those meat and where that Venn diagram is extremely large, which you tend to see in high engagement, high velocity kind of CPG categories or even in automotive categories. You tend to see a lot more rich connection to the brand's purpose, where it's more kind of sporadic or there's a ton of availability of substitutes. Like in software, you tend to see a little bit less of a tie. So what we're always trying to work with companies to do is to figure out, particularly in a world where maybe their founder isn't still in the room or it doesn't have her his name on the door and you can't really go back to that. Well, what was the purpose maybe for the founder or for the founding team? Let's ask ourselves a little bit of the Simon Sinek, why are we here? How do we execute against that? And then what do we go do, what do we go build as a brand to go put that into the world interesting. So when we talk about purpose, it's really not the fact that it tugs at the heartstrings alone. Yeah, that's exactly right. It often may not be a visceral tear jerk emotional type connection, but it is an emotional connection. Let me talk a little bit about one example that I think people will be familiar with given recent Super Bowl spots and recent spots all over network and cable Tv and that's T mobile. You know, many people in your audience probably know them as the UN carrier and the UN carrier was branding exercise that I got to have a front row seat for during my time at profit. one of the essential insights that under gridded the eventual success of the UN carrier was that there was an immense amount of pain and frustration around what at that time was a two year contract period and the tendency for new customers to get all the love if you gave T mobile and sprint or 18 to your Verizon years of your life, you still weren't the recipient of their best offers because they wanted to keep courting new people. A lot of frustration around, oh my gosh, transparency in pricing all these things. And so with T mobile, the unlocked to growth at a time when they were really hanging on for dear life as a business was Well, what if we just treated people more fairly and had a business that respected the humanity of these subscribers and by the way, stop calling them subscribers. They're people. I think sometimes we forget the basics. And so the emotional connection there was around customer advocacy and having a pain free wireless relationship instead of one where you kind of felt like maybe you were trapped. And so again, it doesn't get into happiness and sadness. That level of emotion. It got more into fairness and transparency and peace of mind and really feeling respected. So it's really important to respect all of the ways to potentially think about that higher order emotional connection when you're building purpose makes sense. Let me bring it inside to the employees. Let's talk about how the employees are affected in the brand building work and as well as how their experiences are from that perspective too. I'm a fan of the philosophy that even more important than customer obsession is employee obsession as someone who works in a customer experience company. I firmly believe that the utility that your customers will have with the experience, the satisfaction, the happiness, It's all about how they're treated and Look at least in 2021, most of us are having experiences with human beings on behalf of the brands that we're engaging, whether that's checking into a hotel, whether that's an instructor for peloton, whether that's a seller on Etsy, where that someone in the checkout line at Costco. well, that's a salesperson inside a Tesla or a GM dealer. You go on and on and on. Conference organizers at ted some of the best brands get that way because on the front lines and on every line, they've got folks who understand what the brand experience is, they're trying to deliver, they're delivering it in a consistent way, an empathetic way and they're improving their own game as employees and trying to understand how to become a little bit more kind of customer focused and everything they do. Now, of course, if you're only engagement mechanism with folks is digital and is through data and bots and other channels, you still have to personify those touch points to an extent that sort of feels like you're engendering that kind of human connection. So I'm just a big fan of maybe sounding like echoing a herb Kelleher point or a Disney kind of point from decades ago. I still am of the belief that if your employees or your brand ambassadors, you're going to find your way to grow interesting. It was the last season that we had a gentleman on from Delaware North and in his management of the customer experience. He really talked about the walk the customer path program and was part of Delaware North. They have 60,000 employees and probably a total of over 100,000 when you add all the volunteers in and they have that walk. The customer program, which really has all of the executives and all of management have to walk in the customer path. So they have to put themselves in the customer shoes. But it also gets all of the employees to understand not only their part in the brand, but also how the customer receives the brand. Because they're taught to just make a connection even if somebody is a problem because you know how many times your team doesn't win, it doesn't happen all the time. So people get very negative, but if they can make a connection, that's the key and they're walking the customer path program. So it's making sure that all the employees are moving in that same direction. Well, this is again why purposes so important. So, Delaware North I'm imagining is catering to somewhere in the neighborhood of half a billion people a year. And in order to scale consistently and with excellence, when you have that kind of volumetric of an audience, you really need a core around which anyone who is an ambassador of your company, whether they're taking a ticket where they're serving popcorn, whether they're on the other end of digital exchange, they understand what's the thing we're supposed to provide? The emotion we're supposed to instill in customers. How do we entrust? How do we keep peace of mind? You know? How do we keep things light? Right. The Delaware North Point, Right, no matter what's happening around them on the field or on the court, as long as you're feeling like they're enjoying the experience around that point, they're doing their job. And so again, back to purpose and why are we here? Why do we exist? And I think about the employees, we understand what we need to get them to. But how do you get the employees to believe in the brand and the brand's purpose? What are the activities or what are the things that you recommend companies do to get all the employees understanding and really believing in that brand purpose? Does it come from the mantra? Does it come from the mission statement or the vision statement? I think it's at three levels. The first is what is the way that you are communicating your values and your purpose at the highest level? So there's basic things like making sure that's available and accessible on your website, on all your social channels, where people are likely to intersect your brand, even if they're not seeking your brand out as well as on recruiting sites like Glassdoor and indeed being very clear and importantly, very consistent across those channels with what you're saying. The second is as someone approaches a potential employment relationship with you, ie they're looking for a job, There ought to be a signal of those values and of that purpose. As you're going through that process, I'll talk here about Qualtrics, we have five values and as we connect with candidates who are interested in open positions that we have, each of us who is conducting an interview on the Qualtrics side is going to be asking very specific questions of a candidate and evaluating later a candidate based on their professed and demonstrated interest in and sort of shared nature of the values that we have as a company, whether that's transparency or customer obsession or one of the others. So working that into the evaluation process on both sides, the company and the Canada is really important and then the third and the trickiest but the most fun is living it in the way that you stand up your culture and saying if transparency is one of our values, we just had an I. P. O. Is a company earlier this year, the degree to which our leadership brought the organization along and invited them to understand that process as it was unfolding was remarkable and it was so inspiring or scrappy. You know, we talk about scrappy sometimes scrappy gets a bad name because people will say, oh it's crappy means you sort of did a bad job. What it really means is that you find a way to get work done in creative and compelling and inspiring ways. And so when you can point to other people's demonstrations and say boy Jim just did this unbelievable job on this campaign and it ticked off on these few values and people hear that and then they pay that forward with another compliment or an indicator somewhere before you know it, you're actually living that purpose that you have. And it just becomes the order of the day is how I like to think about it.
Just for those that don't necessarily understand the breath of what Qualtrics does. Can you give our folks a little bit of a background on where Qualtrics is today and what they offer that really helps in the customer experience continuum. So we are in the business of experience management, it's a category that we created and it's a category that we're growing. And what we mean by experienced management is how are you bringing in the voice of the customer, the voice of the employee, the voice of the partner to the business decisions that you're making every single day, that are going to drive your revenue and improve your operations. We got stood up many years ago as a company in the survey part of the subcategory, we got into customer experience and into employee and brand and product experience as well. And we're going into some really interesting, exciting new parts of the category to grow it and to lead it and doing a whole bunch of exciting things with our platform and artificial intelligence to help teams move more quickly and get to the right action in kind of more interesting ways. But you should think about what Qualtrics does as an experience management operating system for the company. So whereas you may use google and the G suite for productivity and you may use E W S or Azure for cloud at slack for real time collaboration, something like zoom or hangouts for your video meetings. Salesforce for crm workday for H R I. S. Qualtrics is your platform for bringing customer empathy at scale into the business decisions that you make as an organization. Can we concentrate a little bit on experienced management? Because I know you know when we had chatted before you talk about the components, the employee, the custom of the product and the brand. Can we talk a little bit about the experienced management a little bit more as to what does it take in there? Is it data, Is it trend analysis, is a sentiment analysis. I mean one of the things that make up the experienced management portion of this and at the same time, we have an awful lot of smaller businesses. We have large ones too, but we have smaller businesses to and how should a small business owner look at experienced management from their vantage point to absolutely think about what we do as being away to connect with the opinions, the sentiment, the feedback of customers before you make the decisions around your product roadmap before you make the decisions around your employee engagement program, we are, in a sense a way to de risk the moves that you will make from a product pipeline from a brand messaging, from an employee and culture and engagement perspective. The reason that Qualtrics is growing at the rate that it is, is because there is no shortage of available behavioral data, automatically generated data around what people are doing on the web, What people are doing in applications that has overwhelmed decision makers who have begun to pay so much attention and pay so much heed to it while leaving behind. In so many instances the feedback, the empathy, the listening, we are listening at scale at cortex, we are enabling high velocity, high agility, listening. We are representing simultaneous to the growth in behavioral data and the importance of making decisions based on operations. We're bringing in the voice of opinion and feedback so that people can get to better decisions on what to build what to invest in what partnerships to get into. Let me give you a simple example as a small company if you were making a bet as to whether to invest your next million dollars in, standing up another plant in a different country to go manufacturer, let's say a line of shoes. When you got started as a T shirt and sock company, you're making the decision. Do I invest in a new plant to get into an adjacent spot in the clothing category? Or do I go deeper and maybe where my core is now? And that's a better company decision. That you can look at a lot of trend analysis and you can look at a lot of operational data. But can you understand where customers maybe have pain around the offers in the market today, around the products that are out there that are maybe insufficient at meeting their needs and make a decision based on where feeling and sentiment is and therefore where the future is likely to take you as opposed to a behavioral data only, which gives you an example of historically where things have been. We have such a wide demographics that listen to our show and I start to put myself in the position of that small midsize business and try to figure out, well, what are they doing today for experienced management? If they don't have a platform like yours, what are they doing to be able to get those opinions to be able to get that feedback to understand? Are they getting it right or understand what decisions they need to make or not make in the future and how much risk they're taking by not concentrating on this area, even though it is still in the customer experience area. You know, if we look at the overarching, I'm just wondering, what are they doing today? So some of the customers that come to you, they probably weren't using another platform, but they were doing something. Is there some manual way that they were doing it before? Or is it all ad hoc here say go talk to your support team, go talk to folks that are doing your returns sometimes steve they are using a different platform where maybe the Ai layer or the reporting layer or the integration capabilities or the ability to scale into new use cases is limited. So they come to us and say we think you're building better and building different but more often than not, the dominant use case is that there's a whole bunch of chaos frankly that characterizes different organizations around where the data is coming from and how it's getting used. And this is why we talk about it's creating a category because this is hard 3 60 listening, hearing every voice bringing in opinion and feedback is hard work. Product teams are out there collecting insight on how to hit the mark with each release. They're trying to deeply understand product market fit. Sales teams are out there running wind law studies, they're doing account management, they're trying to optimize resources, how'd that sales call go? What was the feedback people teams are trying to figure out how we build the talent brand and stop the challenges that lead to turn over marketing is trying to do personalization and targeting. There's a lot of research that's creating a lot of experience data. But the problem is it's not centralized, it's not secure, it's not interconnected so you can't personalize it and if you can't personalize it you can't take action on it. So in a sense you have this gridlock this traffic jam that results from many different sources of ingest sources of data on C. X. Programs, product feedback, employee feedback without a central place to make sense of it all. And what we're building a Qualtrics with our X. M. Operating system is a central repository for all of this data to get to better decisions faster and to be right, more often interesting. I think it's an area that if folks haven't thought about it, they should think about it, they should try to wrap their arms around the experience management, especially because all of our listeners are serious about customer experience and employee experience. They're not listening unless they're serious about it. Some may have programs in place and others may be planning to put programs in place and they're run all over the gambit as far as the types of industries that we have and the levels of management that we've got. So the one thing that we try to do in each of our episodes is have our guests put our listeners to work. They give them a homework exercise, something for our listeners to be able to take back to their next team zoom call and have some type of an exercise that can bring to light what they learned here on this episode. And as well as pass it on to others that may be affected by it or may need to learn on it, and they do it in kind of a very straightforward way. They're not buying software, they're not bringing consultants in, but they're doing something that they could do on their own to make this makes sense to them and then hopefully make the next level. So, do you have a homework exercise or two that we can give our listeners to get them thinking? Yeah, absolutely. From a brand standpoint, I like to think about maybe an unexpected brand because I'm in no way an aficionado of this category. But Harley Davidson, Harley Davidson, they're going through some challenging the current moment around how to connect with younger audiences and dr relevance, but they're going to get there. They have gotten there with audiences for over 100 years and increasingly diversified their base. They've weathered a number of wars, a number of recessions, they pass the tattoo test people who are fans of Harley literally tattoo, you know, the brand and so without necessarily taking it to the literal tattoo test a thought experiment. I always like to push teams on is what would it take to get from where your customer experiences today to a tomorrow, where customers would literally, or figuratively tattoo your brand's logo on them. That's one, how big is that gap? And what do you think about the tattoo or not? The whole point of the exercise is really, could you conceivably really, ever get there doing what you're doing now? Or would it take a fundamental rethink because the reality steve is that's where a lot of the bar is getting set. Think about what Disney and netflix are doing for us in entertainment. Think about what NPR and others have done on education. Think what the Etsy's the peloton is, the Tesla's, the Venn mose heck The instant pots have done in terms of product and experience innovation and all of us have to be inspired by what some of these category captains are doing. So that's one, the other one is a simple one. That's maybe a more personal one, the adverb plus adjective exercise, which is what is the series of or even just the one or two word phrase that's an adverb and adjective that describes kind of who you are as a leader in driving customer experience or who your organization is. I like to think of the phrase distinctively inspired as one that maybe describes my personal approach and one that I think describes the experience that we're building at Qualtrics which has touches of modernity and feeling inspired and bringing that kind of purpose into it. Think about that and not just the adjective but making it even more specific with one or two adverbs. You've got me thinking here because I think these are great exercises both of them. I definitely thinking about the tattoo test. So for all the listeners out there that want to get a science of C. X. Logo tattooed, just send it to us, let us know that you want us to send you the artwork so you can go to your local tattoo artist. But your point is well taken that if a brand could get to that level, just imagine how that brand has been built over time and the love of the brand too. So that's great. And the adverb adjective, I tend to use an awful lot to be remarkably memorable. And the reason why I use those two together is remarkably is indicating people are remarking about it and to be memorable is that remembering your brand for a long time. And I use that in a lot of my speeches and a lot of my writing too. So I'm right there with you. This has been great. I think our listeners have probably got a lot to think about more than they may have bargained for in this episode, but Jesse, I really want to thank you. This has been great. I think if they want to find out more about Qualtrics, I'm sure they could go to Qualtrics dot com. Yeah, Qualtrics dot com and also X. M. Institute dot com. Just all those letters. X. M. Institute dot com is our destination for thought leadership around all things related to experience management and more. Some delightful content and community to be had there as well. As you say, Qualtrics dot com. Perfect. And we will write up these exercises too and put in the show notes for those of you that we're driving while you're listening. We don't want you to be taking notes at that time so you'll be able to look them up on the show notes when this episode gets released. So jesse, I want to thank you very much for joining us today. This has been a great episode and we hope to have you back in the future. Thanks for having me Steve. My name is Steve Pappas. This is the Science of CX. And thank you everyone for joining us. And until we meet again please stay safe, stay healthy and take care.