How to Build Customer-centric Brand Communication? Real-World Examples from Ikea, P&G, Amul & More

Prashanth Kancherla

Sep 4, 2023 | 6 mins read


Did you know that the word “brand” actually refers to a piece of burning wood in the ancient Nordic language?

Today, the meaning of “brand” has evolved into a sophisticated entity. It showcases the favorability, trustworthiness, and customer-centricity of an organization. In 2023, most organizations will collectively spend billions of dollars on brand-building exercises.

A brand is more than just a set of practices to create sleek marketing communications strategies, logos, and typefaces.  

Today, a brand is considered the sum total of all your customer interactions. Happy customers can act as a brand’s biggest advocates. This means that companies need to go beyond broadcasting advertisements. They need to focus on creating a deep, meaningful connection with the customer that lasts far beyond a single interaction. 


In this article, we will explore how brands can build customer-centric communication strategies that cultivate this deep bond through some innovative, real-world examples. But first, let us explore what a customer-centric brand strategy needs to look like today.   

What is Customer-centric Brand Communication Strategy? 

Traditionally, the marketing department owned and tightly controlled the brand narrative. In the golden age of advertising, brands gained presence through mass media.

In 2023, this paradigm has completely changed. 

Tone-deaf ads have dented the brand reputation of iconic names.

In 2023, this paradigm has completely changed.  

Tone-deaf ads have dented the brand reputation of iconic names. 

Today, customers want involvement and authenticity.  

They want brands to have a voice of their own— something that is easy to identify with — that separates their ethos from the noise and clutter.  

They also want deeper involvement. They want a personal connection with their favorite brands. 

And they want effortless, seamless experiences. 

This means that brands must be sensitive. They need to be actively listening to the voice of the customer. Brand communication must be personalized, and marketing must be highly interactive and participative. 

And this is what customer-centric marketing is all about.  

Customer-centric marketing defies traditional notions of one-way communication and closely aligns itself to the consumer at every step of their journey with the brand. When done right, a customer-centric brand strategy can result in an uptick of 15% to 20% in your current marketing ROI.  

Here are five out-of-the-box ways in which brands can achieve this customer-centric communication today.

Example 1: Wayfair Uses Data to Personalize the Shopping Experience

A customer-focused data culture is like putting customers right at the heart of everything you do. It’s about having a clear plan to gather customer insights and making data part of your everyday routine.

 To make this happen, it’s important to build a system where everyone in your company shares a single, trustworthy view of your customers. This means having a culture that encourages using data to understand your customers better.

A great example of this in action is Wayfair. They’ve gone all-in on AI and data to personalize the shopping experience. With over eight million products, they use data to suggest items based on what you’ve looked at before and what you’ve bought. It’s like having a personal shopper right at your fingertips.

Their employees are well-versed in digital tools and have know-how to use data effectively for understanding customers. Plus, it’s about giving them easy access to real-time data across the entire customer journey. This makes it simple for your customer-facing teams to find the information they need.

Example 2: P&G Uses Emotional Branding to Strengthen Customer Connections

For a very long time, it was common practice to believe that branding for customers was a long-term strategy. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed this idea of erecting the edifice of branding strategy and customer relationship management based on the legacy of an organization and its long-standing minimalist image. 

Brands such as Amul, Nike, Indigo Airlines, HDFC Bank, Amazon Prime, and Coca-Cola have established strong loyalty through fluid emotional attitude branding for customers. These brands have established a strong emotional connection with their regular consumers by constantly selling compelling emotional stories.

P&G, a multi-national CPG organization with a multi-million-dollar advertising budget, chose to position its stance as an empathetic entity by launching the “Stepping Up as a Force for Good” campaign during the peak of the pandemic. Its brand strategy during the COVID-19 period was to extend unconditional support to P&G people globally — employees, frontline workers, supply chain partners, and employees. 

Similarly, many brands are either leading or trying to catch up with others in declaring their solidarity with common societal and climate change issues, such as the LGBTQ Pride movement, ESG commitments, workplace DEI, and so on.

Example 3: Amul and Country Delight Engage Consumers with Visual Storytelling

Customers truly love brands with a strong visual appeal. They recognize brands’ customer-centricity through stories narrated by existing user groups. The power of a strong visual identity is magnified when it aligns seamlessly with narratives told by loyal customer communities. Let’s understand the importance of visual storytelling in brand strategies through this comparative example.


Amul, India’s largest retail milk supplier, positions its brand as a domestic farmer-centric organization that caters to the country’s dairy requirements in a price-sensitive market. 

On the other hand, Country Delight has created a brand strategy showcasing its milk as a protein-rich, creamiest product in the same market. 

Both organizations have a brand strategy that aligns with the purpose of their overall marketing, and in that process, they create an advertising and selling strategy to align with the voices of their respective brands. 

Both emotionally connect with their niche customer base. Amul, with its consumers who could choose between at least six different types of milk (based on fat content), and Country Delight, with those who like to consume a pure, fat-rich, and creamy diet.

Example 4: Nike’s Unique Employee Value Proposition Attracts Talent

Did you know that CSAT scores can rise by 12% and NPS scores by 10% if you have a highly engaged workforce in your organization? 

That’s how strongly EVP branding influences your image as a customer-centric brand.

Sadly, many employers don’t have an EVP statement to support their current branding strategies. Despite executing the above-mentioned strategies properly, not broadcasting your EVP commitments can reverse your growth momentum.

Branding without an employee value proposition is a hollow approach that is bound to fail. Most marketers focus only on making the organization and their product look good—that’s advertising.

“Win as a team” is one of the headlines of Nike’s employee value prop. The company culture places a significant emphasis on achieving innovation in the sports industry through a team-oriented approach. This same perspective guides their approach to employee benefits and compensationThis collective spirit extends to the company’s benefits, including fitness discounts, relocation assistance, competitive pay, retirement plans, and diverse learning opportunities.

Example 5: IKEA Phygital Element Builds Customer Loyalty

Business strategies for customers follow Darwinism. In the last five years, we have seen the rise of technology-driven brands that have completely disrupted the well-established universe of century-old organizations. Banks are disrupted by digital wallets; hotels are disrupted by Airbnb; mobility is disrupted by the Ubers of the world and the entertainment business is toppled by the stars of TikTok and Instagram Reels! 

Brands are among the foremost users of cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Voice Search, Robotic Process Automation, Blockchain, Augmented Reality, and Programmatic Experience management. 

With the rise of generative AI, the metaverse, and web 3.0 platforms, brands must embrace a contextual visual storytelling approach to score a home run with their ideal customer base across all touchpoints. 

The ‘physical-digital’ or ‘phygital’ element in building customer loyalty is conspicuous in IKEA’s brand strategy. Phygital malleability is actually a cornerstone in the brand’s total digital transformation. The iconic furnishing solutions provider is a great benchmark to study the role of emerging digital technologies in creating value-based customer engagement tactics. 


Today, IKEA fulfills 90% of consumer demands through its physical stores. 

These stores act as an extension of the first touchpoints — the app and web-based digital galleries owned by IKEA. By adopting the latest in retail technology, combined with the power of AI and digital payment solutions, IKEA now offers queue-less checkout benefits to online consumers who still prefer to shop from a physical store. 

And brands are following the trends that consumers like to follow. 

That explains why we are seeing brands collaborate with influencers and content creators from across the world.

In Conclusion

Building a customer-centric company takes time. It all begins with a set of innovative ideas, a great talent pool, a repository of powerful digital tools, and a lot of genuine efforts directed at the community of users who can connect with the brand at all levels of engagement. 

ENGAGEMENT with the brand is the key action word here.  Empowered employees help brands deliver exceptional customer experience, directly impacting the organization’s bottom-line growth with an improved reputation as a people-first company

Ready to take control of your call transfer
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Prashanth Kancherla

Chief Product Officer, Ozonetel Communications

Over the past decade, Prashanth has worked with 3000+ customer experience and contact center leaders...

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