The  old saying, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” is wrong when it comes to a business assessing brand experience. When you’re responsible for managing brand experience, the saying should be, “People who live in glass houses should be begging anyone and everyone to throw stones.”

Let me explain with an unusual example.

I live in Prairie Village, KS, an early post-World War II suburb in the Kansas City, MO metro area. Prairie Village is filled with Cape Cod-style houses. One peculiarity of the original Cape Cod design was having a full window in the bathroom where the bathtub/shower is placed. This oddity has been modified in various ways by nearly all owners over the years. In our house, for instance, the upstairs bathroom window is covered over and the downstairs bathroom window is now a small one for ventilation.

Glass Houses

Other homeowners have gone a different route.

Directly across the street from the parking lot where I attend 6:30 a.m. mass weekdays is a Cape Cod house whose window has been replaced with glass block.

Yes, glass block with no window covering.

That’s exactly what you think it is.

Fairly frequently when it’s still dark at 7 a.m., this is the view I see when turning onto a fairly heavily traveled road in Prairie Village that runs past this house. It’s a road with lots of traffic, early morning joggers, and students walking to the nearby high school at that time of day.

The thing is, I have no idea who naked shower guy is or whether his rather regular early morning shows are intentional or from a complete lack of awareness of the properties of glass and light.

Naked Shower Guy and Brand Experience Monitoring

Nonetheless, naked shower guy isn’t unlike a lot of organizations who think they have a solid handle on the brand experience of their customers, employees, and stakeholders. It’s easy for a company to delude itself into thinking it knows what its customers and employees are experiencing. That’s especially true when they hand out thousands of URLs and phone numbers to customers asking them to let the company know how they’re doing via a few questions on inbound customer surveys rating performance.

Here’s the potential problem though with relying solely on this type of brand experience monitoring.

Substitute naked shower guy in his Cape Cod house for one of these businesses handling brand experience monitoring through quick inbound customer surveys.

If naked shower guy were doing a five-question online survey, he might ask about a variety of standard elements of the brand experience around a Prairie Village Cape Cod house – Is it well-painted and maintained? Is the yard mowed? Are the trees and flowers attractive? Is the surrounding area clean and free of trash?

He’d never ask, “How do you find the view of me naked in the shower every morning?”


Because he’d be deciding questions to ask based on his inside-out view of what the brand experience is. And clearly no one has mentioned to him that the most prominent experience related to his brand is him naked in the shower.

Outside-In Brand Experience Monitoring

So before you launch into a program to capture customer ratings on the standard stuff, take the time to ask questions and encourage all your audiences to throw some stones about what makes up your brand experience from their perspectives. Don't just rely on your internal perspective of brand experience or you'll miss some potential problem areas you'd never imagine .

Because you DON'T want to be naked shower guy. Trust me on that.  - Mike Brown


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