You’ve probably heard of customer experience. There is a growing trend among ambitious businesses to make sure their customer experience is first class.
It makes up a HUGE part of your brand experience, but brand experience is a broader whole-of-business strategy that includes other key stakeholders such as your staff, suppliers, media, and your social network followers.
Brand experience: what is it?
Brand experience is the overall perception someone has of your business based on their experiences and interactions; each time they see, hear, or interact with your company.
Through your brand experience you create a reputation for your business, communicate your story, values and mission, and bring people along for the journey.
Ultimately, it’s how you deliver on your brand promise and build TRUST in your brand.
Why is brand experience a game changer?
From a customer’s point of view, with so many businesses stuck in 90’s style marketing (sell, sell sell), it’s refreshing to find a brand that feels human, shares your values, understands the exact problem you’re having.
A brand that offers a solution to your problem in a non-salesy way. You create an emotional bond.
Then, when you’re ready to buy, you’re already sold on their offering because of your previous positive experiences.
That’s why a compelling brand experience is a hugely effective way to attract customers and followers to your company.
A brand experience strategy provides many benefits for your company. It helps you:
- Attract ‘warm’ leads.
- Convert leads without hard selling.
- Attract the right customers and keep them.
- Spend less on advertising.
- Avoid competing on price.
- Build a community of brand advocates and loyal followers.
- Reduce the number of refunds and lost sales.
- Attract the best talent for your team.
The key to an outstanding brand experience
You may need to revisit your entire business because to achieve an outstanding brand experience you need to align your entire business around your brand promise, be authentic, and be consistent.
So, no matter where or how someone engages with your company, each experience communicates the same message, same perception, and same feeling about your brand.
This creates an emotional connection, and research shows that people buy based on emotion.
Yes, even in a B2B environment because there are real people operating the company you’re trying to win over as your customer.
People who have the same emotive needs, whether they’re buying for themselves or on behalf of their company.
They want to feel a connection, to like you, and most importantly to TRUST you, before they’ll buy from you.
7 Steps to creating and maintaining a brand experience:
- Confirm your strategy. Identify your market niche, target customer, your mission and values.
- Develop your brand. Define your brand promise, brand style, and goal for your reputation. Who / what do you want to be known as?
- Develop your messaging. Identify what problems you’re solving. Create your story.
- Design your customer experience. Map your customer journey from end to end. Select strategic touch points and define your benchmark and ultimate experience for each touch point.
- Design your processes. Ensure they are focussed on delivering that ultimate experience and are true to your brand promise. Remove unnecessary steps. Invite your customers to help you design processes that better suit them.
- Choose your technology to support those processes. Integrate systems and automate data transfer where possible. Aim to have just one core database and run all other systems from that source.
- Review and adjust. Continuously get feedback on the experience your customers have so you know whether you’re on track to reach your ultimate experience. Do mini polls, ask questions on the phone, do an online survey.
Why your experience must be authentic and deliver on your brand promise
If you aren’t true to your brand promise, your customers and stakeholders will lose their trust in you. This kills loyalty and damages your reputation.
While you can repair it over time, your brand will never be quite the same.
Think about Samsung. They worked hard to be positioned as a premium, high quality brand with a great user experience. They were enjoying great success rivalling market leaders, Apple, in the mobile phone market. Then they made one mistake.
Samsung stopped being true to their brand promise. They cut corners with their battery manufacturing, resulting in phones and tablets catching fire, overheating and burning customers, and causing other damage to property.
This globally spread issue was widely reported and customers posted videos of their phones and burns on YouTube. Airlines banned Samsung Galaxy tablets. Then, the battery factory caught fire!
People were jumping ship to Apple or other Android makers as fast as they could because they lost faith in brand quality.
Now, Samsung has a long road ahead to win back that trust – I’m certain there are many who were once proud brand advocates who’ll never buy Samsung again.
Map out your brand experience to create a consistent experience across all your business interactions.
Read this blog for tips How to create an amazing brand experience that your customers will love to talk about
You’ll authentically and emotionally connect with your customers, future customers, and wider community so you can bring more people on the journey with you.
What do you think your ‘ultimate’ experience should be and can you achieve it? Comment below 🙂