The expansion of ecommerce means customers are only seconds away from a vast and varied inventory of products and services. It only takes a few seconds more to make a purchase. While these conditions have increased efficiency, they can also make the customer experience feel impersonal and overwhelming. How do you stand out amid a packed field of competitors and have your customers come away from their experiences with positive associations?
By focusing on your customers’ experience with your brand, you can create a strong set of lasting emotional and experiential connections. This is one of the best ways to get new customers in the door and keep old customers coming back.
What is brand experience?
Brand experience refers to all of a customer’s associations with a brand. This includes every aspect of their experience, from the visual elements of the marketing materials to overall customer satisfaction, but it exists as a subjective, lasting impression in the mind of the customer.
You could even think of it as the “vibe” customers feel when they recall their customer journey. The better the emotional response, the more likely people are to shop with you again and to spread positive information by word of mouth.
Why is brand experience important?
Brand experience might seem difficult to quantify, but it can be one of the most important keys to your brand’s lasting success. Here are some of the ways that brand experience is important for turning prospective customers into long-term, loyal customers:
- It helps potential customers notice you. The brand experience begins when someone first encounters your brand. This could be through a clever marketing campaign, an eye-catching brand logo, a pleasant social media interaction, or by word-of-mouth marketing.
- It helps you stand out from the competition. Known as market differentiation, this can be the difference between robust growth and getting lost in the shuffle. A positive brand experience can help create a deeper emotional connection, which can improve brand recognition.
- It builds customer loyalty. With a positive and consistent brand experience, your customers are more likely to keep coming back. By continuing to meet or exceed customer expectations, brands can reinforce people’s positive experiences and the likelihood they remain repeat customers.
- It builds brand equity. Also known as brand value, this is a measurement of your customers’ regard for your brand. Brand equity includes the way customers think about your brand’s products or services—their reliability, overall quality, attractiveness, and so forth—as well as how your brand aligns with their personal values and desires.
How to create a brand experience strategy
- Define your brand
- Craft an experience
- Measure customer experience
- Make adjustments
- Don’t be afraid to adapt
A successful brand experience strategy doesn’t happen by accident. If you take the process one step at a time, you can craft a strategy for a cohesive brand experience.
1. Define your brand
Just because you know what your brand means doesn’t mean your target customers will. Take time to define your brand. Ask yourself: What values does your brand support? What are your goals? How can you reliably measure them? What kind of experience do you want your customers to have, not just with the product or service, but with the overall brand journey? Ultimately, it’s important to ask: How do you want them to feel?
2. Craft an experience
Once you have a solid idea for what your brand experience should encompass, you can outline the various ways customers will have that brand experience. This will inform your digital marketing and advertising campaigns (experiential marketing is a great option to explore), web design, and layout. It will also help you design and maintain a robust social media presence, as well as the look and feel of the products themselves.
3. Measure customer experience
Throughout the process, you should collect data about how customers think and feel about your brand. This can be information from informal customer feedback surveys or data from detailed tools that measure customer interaction and aggregate social media posts that mention your brand. You can also conduct sentiment analysis, which measures whether a customer’s experience was negative, neutral, or positive.
4. Make adjustments
Not all aspects of your brand experience strategy will work right out of the gate, and that’s OK. When you have a reliable data pool of brand experience feedback, you can put that knowledge to work, adjusting and improving your tactics as needed. Having a strong social media presence is a great way to get feedback, as it can prompt customer interaction and reviews, which you can use to learn what customers think of your brand.
5. Don’t be afraid to adapt
A good brand experience strategy isn’t set in stone. As the market shifts and your business develops, so should your brand experience. This can be tricky, because you will likely want your core brand experience to remain recognizable to your loyal, repeat customers. However, by paying attention to what your competitors are doing, staying up to speed with your customer satisfaction metrics, and adapting to changes in trends and technologies, you can stay ahead of the curve.
Successful brand experience example
Accessory design company Compound Studio runs multiple brands, each offering customers a unique brand experience. The original label, Vitaly, has an aesthetic inspired by robotics and industrial processes, and its angular and hard-edged accessories match that feel. The brand experience is present in everything from the website design to the social media marketing efforts and the products themselves, all of which are made with 100% recycled stainless steel.
Compound Studios’ other brands create brand experiences by having a cohesive style: Clocks and Colours seeks a classic rock ’n’ roll aesthetic, while Etah Love is heavy metal. In each case, the overall experience relies on a combination of brand experience data, market research, and inspired creativity. Compound Studios unites all its labels through a sustainable, artisanal sensibility, and they each feature a streamlined, direct-to-consumer online sales model.
Brand experience management is a critical component of Compound Studio’s approach to digital marketing, ensuring that each label’s brand experience is distinct and recognizable in its aesthetics, web experience, and on social media channels.
Brand experience FAQ
What does brand experience capture?
Brand experience captures the customer’s overall takeaway from their interaction with your brand. Most importantly, brand experience refers to the emotions that occur when customers interact with your brand. A positive, consistent brand experience will stick in a customer’s mind, which can drive brand loyalty and market share growth.
Why is brand experience important for businesses?
Brand experience can help a company distinguish itself from competitors, build customer loyalty, and create brand equity. By focusing on creating a positive and reliable brand experience, a company can make sure new customers can recognize a brand and have positive associations with it, existing customers keep returning, and customers speak well of the brand and contribute to word-of-mouth marketing.
What’s the difference between brand experience and a brand activation or ad?
These three terms are similar but distinct. Brand experience focuses on fostering an emotional connection and is a way to build loyal customers. Brand activation refers to a specific campaign, social media interaction, or any activity that prompts a customer to take action. Finally, an ad is a specific piece of media that promotes the brand, builds on the brand experience, or drives customers to make a purchase.