How familiar are consumers or clients with your brand?

Even if your business sells the most obviously useful product or service, remember: the laws of consumer perception still apply.

A fundamental principle among consumers is a dislike of the unknown. It translates in this basic way from a marketing perspective: People are more likely to do business with companies they know. If someone is unfamiliar with your company, it will be much more difficult for them to choose you over a competitor they feel they know better.

Particularly for the segment of people you hope to gain as customers, it’s important to understand how much they know about your company. It can tell you a lot about how to shape your marketing efforts.

The Familiarity factor within LIFT’s Brand Experience Index™ measures how familiar people are with your brand and the depth of that familiarity. During a Brand Experience survey, we ask your target population questions beyond name recognition to gauge how fully your target understands what you can offer.

Although our data scientists have found a strong correlation between a high Familiarity score and a high overall Brand Experience ranking, we still advise clients not to despair when the Familiarity metric is low. Instead, embrace it as an accurate picture of where you are today. Getting a low initial benchmark for Familiarity is not unusual, particularly when marketers are in a testing, beta, or pilot phase… or simply looking to establish a starting point in a long-term branding initiative.

That said, everyone wants to change a low score. Here’s how you go about it.

Changing a Low Score

If your Familiarity index is lower than desired, there’s a strong rationale for increasing the saturation and aggressiveness of your marketing efforts. Flooding the market with information can boost Familiarity rather quickly.

Brand Experience research uncovers what an audience values most in a brand. This is critical information to help marketers create alignment between an audience, company priorities and marketing messages. Companies benefit most when they measure first to obtain benchmarks and identify deficiencies. Next comes the implementation of marketing efforts to exploit strengths and address deficits. Marketers then measure again to see how the needle moved – that’s the fun part!

Take, for example, a financial institution that wants more Millennial customers. One of the first constructive steps it can take is testing the current level of brand knowledge. While the initial number may be low, the financial institution now has a benchmark starting point. The score will also give them a better idea of what Millennial banking consumers want, allowing them to confidently develop highly targeted new products and marketing campaigns.

The Brand Experience Index (BXi) breaks down four key attributes of your brand and tracks how each evolves over time.

To arrive at your Brand Experience Index, LIFT’s data scientists use artificial intelligence to produce incredibly accurate, machine learning-based results in four core areas of brand equity:

  • Recognition
  • Familiarity
  • Perception
  • Consideration

These results roll into a simple score – your LIFT Brand Experience Index™ – that is easy to communicate and track over time.


What are the strengths and weaknesses of your key brand attributes?

Anyone who has worked for an organization long enough develops a good sense of where it shines and where it could use improvement. This instinct often guides marketing efforts and determines where to invest resources. People trust their gut – and let’s face it – devoting traditional brand experience measurement time and expense before deploying a strategy is often untenable.

Confirming beliefs about the brand experience with primary target audience research is pricey, often takes many weeks (if not months), and the results can be incredibly nuanced and complex. Marketers (and the leaders they report to) are usually left with more questions than answers.

For many companies, assumptions about brand experience have become “good enough,”… but that’s about to change.

Measuring Brand Experience in the Marketplace

For a long time, primary market research was a domain occupied only by businesses with the deepest marketing resources. We’re seeking to change that at LIFT. Strategic marketers at businesses, both large and small, know that measuring, testing, and benchmarking brand attributes with target audience members is critical to understanding if and how your marketing efforts are having an impact. So, we’re helping you afford it – from cost, time, and simplicity standpoints. We’re doing it through the LIFT Brand Experience Index™, one simple and unbiased metric that communicates the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.

Performance is among the four brand metrics analyzed in a Brand Experience Index study. Designed to help marketers gain a clear window into the minds of their target audience, the Performance measurement looks at the strength and weaknesses of 12 key brand attributes.

Our clients define exactly who they see as the target market, and we implement a battery-tested questionnaire customized for your industry. It gives you insights into four key pillars of your brand’s performance with a high degree of confidence.

We analyze things like:

Is your brand trusted by the target market? Your target market needs to believe you will deliver on your promises.

Does the target market view your brand as skilled in the industry? Your targets should view you as capable of meeting or exceeding their expectations.

Is your brand likable? Customers increasingly want more than a company that meets their needs. They want to do business with a company they like and feel good about working with.

Does the target market value your brand? If your offering isn’t the least expensive, will customers still choose you because they believe you add value?

It can be particularly beneficial to obtain a Brand Experience Index before and after significant marketing efforts to measure the actual impact on the minds of your intended targets.

Marketers, both client and agency-side, find even further value when they use the Brand Experience Index to better understand how target audiences view competing brands. That’s right – you can get a BXi for your brand and any brand.

So, you can measure your own strengths and weaknesses and then determine how it positions you relative to competitors.

Bank Iowa, a statewide community bank, uses our Brand Experience Index to do just that. To first assess its market position, the chief marketing officer and his agency, Lessing-Flynn, will determine the best strategic opportunities to gain ground against other financial institutions available to Iowans. Gut instinct tells the team they must work to attract younger, digital-native banking customers.

The Brand Experience Index will not only help them confirm this assumption but will also identify competitors who are doing great and not-so-great jobs in this area. The BXi will show them how far they need to go to catch up if necessary – and where to begin gaining more market share among Millennials and other segments of the state’s younger population.

By Emily Hammer

Recommendations and guidelines are good for what they do: demanding a bare minimum. But rarely are they able to keep up with the fast-evolving digital spaces that we interact in, for which there is no precedent of “accommodations.” In response, we must be more generous with our standards for accessibility, going above and beyond what may be expected and desired of us. You should design your digital spaces with accessibility in mind – not as an afterthought.

You’ve probably heard of an ‘image description’ (or ‘alt text’). These provide descriptions for screen-readers and other assistive technologies to read aloud to their user and must be included for images on your website.

Similarly, ‘video descriptions’ that detail its visual content should be included for videos on your website for assistive technologies to read. Accessible videos will include captions and a transcript, but also feature contrasting colors and refrain from flashing content. When possible, avoid playing videos automatically on your website – this will interfere with screen readers and confuse users.

Add image and video descriptions across your website – and ensure the user experience across your site is consistent. Users should not lose out on content or context because they are disabled or require assistive technologies. This can mean changing the colors of your website to be more contrasting for easier digestion or choosing a different font which is more friendly to dyslexic readers.

Technological accessibility extends beyond providing accommodations for your digital spaces. For example, consider adding a livestream option to physical events. This opens up your viewership to people who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to make it to your event due to disability or distance. Additionally, use technology to make your physical spaces more accessible, such as using adjustable-height desks and counters for direct customer interactions.

Implementing digital accessibility and disability inclusion can make a difference in your workplace – and your world. It’s good for your business, too; organizations that focus on accessibility can reach a whole new market. Choose to be proactive. Accessibility is everyone’s right, no matter the business or its size.

Listen to this in a 3 minute video below.

Steve Reasner, Chief Innovation Officer and Founder at LIFT

Continuous improvement is the key to long-term success. It is the ability to creatively evaluate a program, product or service with internal and external feedback to ensure it is meeting the needs of the marketplace. Continuous improvement implies a long-term view of a situation, though it can be applied to short-term projects, too.  This is often the case in Agile Sprints or the Lean Methodology. The goal is to take a lifecycle approach to systems and products which focus on:

  • Defining the current market conditions and gaps
  • Creating a plan for how to make changes which could include improvements, merging solutions or ending a product in favor of something different or better.
  • Implementing the changes
  • Measuring your results by establishing a baseline to know you are on the right track and adjusting as needed

The benefits are ensuring you are delivering the solution that still meets the need of your organization, customer and market. Organizations which are not continually improving may be disrupted given the right market conditions.

Every IT team can benefit from continuous improvement. The goal is to test your processes and programs against the current market conditions to ensure proper investment of time and resources. Building a software solution in-house makes sense when it provides a competitive advantage.

Over time these systems might be commoditized in the marketplace, and it becomes cheaper to migrate to external solutions. This only happens if systems are evaluated and improved on a regular basis. Efficiency, differentiation, security and scalability are the name of the game.

The best way to get started is by creating an inventory of some of your systems, processes and programs. The goal is to not get overwhelmed but start the process. Track the information in a database, spreadsheet or IT software like ServiceNow. Capture when the solution was first implemented, last evaluated, the value it creates, strategic importance and priority to the organization.

After an evaluation has been completed and you leave it as is, update it, or redesign it, update the data to reflect the decision date and put an expiration date in to alert your team the last possible date for reviewing it again.

IT teams are not always aware of how a system is being used or the level of criticality of each system. Some solutions are still in place, but rarely used while others are not being updated regularly but are critical to the overall health of the organization.

Shadow IT often happens when team members don’t feel they are being heard or their needs are being addressed. The most important thing IT can do is to be a partner to all departments within an organization and actively collaborate to ensure efficiency, fiscal responsibility and the overall security of the organizations data and competitive differentiations.

Organizations, especially IT, need to continually improve their processes to stay current and avoid increase costs, friction and frustration. Having a healthy internal lifecycle for all systems is the key to success.

Steve Reasner, Chief Innovation Officer and Founder at LIFT

As employees return to the office after the summer break, it is important to make them feel welcomed and comfortable. Think of it the same as kids returning to school. You have several communications before returning to school which talk about your classes, supplies needed, expectations and rules. The thing most kids look forward to is seeing and playing with their friends. The same goes for the office. Before we look at technology, we should consider the experience we want to provide. While this may seem like we are pandering to our employees, the reality is that when your employees feel comfortable, connected and confident, they do their best work.

To achieve success, plan out the month of September as the “return to office”. Build the experience you want for your employees. This starts with a small committee of peers who can articulate what experiences they would want and allow them to build the process for your teams. The process includes an overview of the activities people can experience at the office and the emotions you want them to feel. This includes excitement, competition and nostalgia.

  1. Games: What games can you use to help people engage and create fun competition with a leader board? Trivia games consisting of work history, people traits and hobbies and funny cultural items from different decades, for example. Create teams across different office locations to increase collaboration locally and connection between offices.

  2. Lunch: Rather than ordering out, can employees bring their favorite foods to share making it a social potluck

  3. Mocktail Happy Hour: While alcohol is great, there may be people that can’t or would rather not participate. There are amazing new non-alcoholic mixers and drinks that can be used to give the festive feeling without the buzz.

  4. Common Area Video Meetups: Put large video units in the common areas in each of your offices and leave them on all day so people can have chance encounters with employees at different offices. The coffee room catch up is one of the things people miss about the office; hard to do when remote and impossible across offices. By adding this option, you can break down the distance walls and find ways for people to connect.

  5. Guidelines: As “digital citizens” in our offices, we have a commitment to add value through our work and protect our company both physically and digitally. This should be openly talked about with rules that everyone should be informed about and agree to comply with. You may consider electing mayors and/or council people for each office that allows people to have additional leadership responsibility to share culture and enforce the rules. This takes the weight off departments, like IT and Finance, and mainstreams it to all workers. This eliminates the feeling of superiority and focuses on success and compliance. This is the same as student body officers in school. They have limited power but get to make plans and create meaningful experiences for their classmates.

The goal is to engage people, make them feel included and provide them with a way to have a voice. Technology helps to scale this by providing flexibility, security and inclusivity. IT organizations should focus on the value you are providing and how you are enabling the success of the people and the company as a whole.

Any business book or business expert will tell you that to thrive and survive in a competitive market your organization must have a strategy. To refine it even more, you must have a ‘clear and concise’ strategy. This must be something everyone in the organization can understand and align to as the basis for what they do every day. But clear and concise is not so easy.

This is at the core of LIFT, where we focus on People Powered Growth. Dr. Jeff Kaplan has spent over 20 years studying successful companies from around the world. After a while, he started to see patterns – some good, some bad. The one thing that stood out was that organizations needed a formula for how to align and accelerate your strategy to reach your goals faster, which is how he developed the ICE principle. The acronym stands for:

  • Innovate – How can we think differently today than we did yesterday? How do you challenge yourself and the organization to grow and stretch? How do you reach beyond the status quo and continually improve? In reality, innovation is not just new solution or a redesigned package. As Clay Jones, former CEO of Rockwell-Collins, states, “Innovation is making it so the company is free to think differently”. Innovation doesn’t have to be radical; it has to be an openness to new ways of thinking.
  • Collaborate – How can we work differently today than we did yesterday? Most companies that have been around for a decade or more eventually fall into silos. Neat, comfortable areas where we often become – without saying it aloud – a closed system whose goal is to hang on to the way we’ve always done things. Collaboration challenges that by helping break down the silos and facilitating teams and individuals to join forces. New ways of working help us reach the strategy faster and senior executives are often surprised how much latent potential is unlocked with some of the brightest ideas and new, streamlined processes from all ranks of the organization.
  • Engage – How do we act differently today than we did yesterday? How do we include more people, internally and externally to achieve our goals? How do we engage with more customers, more markets, and more areas of business that we’ve ever connected with before? It is about building meaningful conversations and relationships where everyone succeeds.

AT LIFT, we have found that the companies who deploy an ICE strategy for success, consciously and unconsciously, rise higher in their industry and climb higher in the Fortune 500 list. Are you willing to accelerate your vision, your core strategies, and continue to thrive in the new business world of today? That is the calling of We are sharing our experiences and highlighting your successes every week. Are you Willing to Win? Join the conversation and take the challenge to look at your strategies in a fresh new way? Email us at and together we can Leverage ICE to transform work!

Steve Reasner, Chief Innovation Officer at LIFT

CX is not just a department or a service, over time, it should be core to your organization’s DNA. The challenge is that most companies still view it as a cost center and put it in the same bucket as customer support. To ensure the long-term viability of your program, make sure you are always highlighting how your CX practice is driving revenue, retention, and increased wallet share. Here are some tips on how you can gain executive support for your CX program:

  1. Create Your Strategy – Develop a plan that includes the vision for your CX Team. Outline your ideal customer profile and engagement process. Create 2 to 3 repeatable service offerings based upon vertical markets (healthcare) and/or horizontal markets (HR). It is just as important to outline what is out of scope as it is to determine what is initially in scope.
  2. Build Your Case – Develop the measurements and metrics you will use to track the progress of your CX practice. Remember that a great customer experience is all about benefit realization. List out the resources and costs required to get the program started and include a plan for ongoing expansion to show confidence in the program. The stronger you can make the connection between a strong CX program and business outcome realization, the stronger your case will be.
  3. Build your Team – Customer Experience should be core to your organization’s DNA. This means that everyone in the company has a role to play in CX. This will take time, so recruit your internal champions and sales leaders who want to partner together for success. The great thing is that outsiders will see your success and ask for your help. Develop a customer selection criterion so customers that are not a match will be excluded automatically. This will create scarcity and scarcity creates demand. Once you gain momentum, sales reps will ask for help rather than you having to sell them on why they should work with you.
  4. Present Your Plan – Start with the problem statement highlighting the downside of not having a CX program. Next, discuss the impact to your organization including, increased revenue, customer retention, customer loyalty, and the ability to expand your wallet share over time. Review how you select and engage customers and be specific as to why some customers may not qualify. This is key so you can focus on quality initially rather than quantity. Finally, outline the milestones and metrics that you will provide to your leadership team to validate CX outcomes.
  5. Be Assertive – if you Nobody likes to hear about more problems, especially executives who already feel under the gun. Instead, give them solutions. Remember that you are backed by best practice research and methodologies that can help your organization achieve higher levels of success. They need to hear and know this. You may be a pioneer in your organization with knowledge others don’t have. Don’t wait for someone to ask you for help. Assert yourself!

Remember, when you’re sitting across from a C-level exec, you only get one shot to pique their interest. If you don’t come to the table armed with enough knowledge and insight, they’ll shut you down without a second thought, and you won’t get another opportunity. The key thing is to be prepared.

By Steve Reasner

Three years ago, Cisco launched the first Partner Innovation Challenge to expand the use of their DevNet program with the goal of discovering new solutions based on Cisco technologies. The challenge has grown and evolved and this year they had over 200 submissions, which is a five-fold increase in submissions. For 2020, fourteen North America finalists were selected with LIFT taking the top honor for the region and placing third amongst the global field behind Logicalis LATAM and first place winner, Outcomex ANZ. 

LIFT’s vReady solution went beyond the traditional application approach and instead focused on our customer success and workflow design expertise, which is based on LIFT’s proprietary Value Realization Services. vReady is designed to automate the adoption of Cisco Webex with a customized interface that seamlessly integrates into a customer’s business workflow. This allows it to be used in vertical or horizontal scenarios like higher education, courts and HR. 

Over the next 6 months, LIFT will develop new capabilities, improve existing features, and integrate additional capabilities to continue to advance the vReady solution.

The Cisco Partner Innovation Challenge is validation of how LIFT integrates Cisco’s portfolio of software solutions with our adoption service capabilities to accomplish great things for our customers and partners. With an incredibly competitive partner landscape, this award is a testament to LIFT’s innovation, expertise, and customer-centric people.

5 Ways to Keep Your Virtual Team Connected and Happy

While the remote workforce has long been on the rise, recent events have rapidly accelerated the work-from-home movement. Successfully navigating the transition from physical workplace to virtual workspace requires that individuals and teams adopt new ways of thinking, working and interacting.

How can you foster a team that feels engaged and works cohesively when everyone is miles apart?

  1. Schedule regular check-ins. Normally, quick huddles and brief discussions happen spontaneously throughout the day. However, when the team is working in separate quarters, it takes intentional effort to keep everyone on the same page. Set up a time and a system to foster getting together. Schedule regular times but be sensitive to overload; too many meetings can be counterproductive. Finding the right balance will come… soon.
  2. Don’t be all work, all the time. For many, social distancing has made us realize how much interaction happens in an office. Sharing the latest binge-worthy series, our kids’ antics, the fabulous meal we had – these small interactions help build connections that make work-life more enjoyable. When you’re planning the agenda for any meeting, think about including a social component. Share stories. Talk about your kids, show a picture of your dog, or discuss a new hobby that isolation has kick-started – anything to just stay
  3. Offer a variety of communication channels. There are many options beyond email and phone. Platforms like WebEx Teams have functionality that makes tele-teamwork simpler and more robust. Instant messaging, file-sharing, screen-sharing, whiteboard sketches and more – plus they’re fun! (P.S. Remember these tools when things get back to normal; they work great in the office, too!)
  4. Picture Perfect! If you’ve spent years dressing up for the office, now’s your chance to be business casual. But please, stay professional; working in your PJs might feel good but it’s a distraction. Being more casual is nice – but don’t let it get in the way of maintaining some face-to-face interactions. Many experts feel that nonverbal communication cues are the most important indicators of whether you’re communicating effectively.
  5. Track projects and accountability. Not being able to monitor employees’ activities makes some managers nervous. Now’s the time to use technology to your advantage. There are many collaborative project management tools now available so it’s possible to keep track of tasks, responsibilities and deadlines that keep everyone accountable and give employees a big picture view of goals and team processes.

Consider adding video conferencing into your meetings to improve communication and ensure everyone’s messages are understood. Studies show that businesses that use video conferencing feel their workplace is more productive and connected.

The new normal is fast becoming just normal and the unprecedented is becoming commonplace. While we have no way to know what’s coming next, one thing is for sure, our relationship with work has changed. How we worked and where we worked, don’t seem to fit anymore. This blog series is dedicated to helping you thrive in uncertain times by creating new ways of working.