First and foremost, what is the brand experience? According to a study done by Brakus, et al, the brand experience is all of the feelings, cognitions and behavioral responses a customer has when interacting with an aspect of your brand, such as the packaging, communications or environments. From the moment your target audience first comes into contact with your brand, they are developing and modifying their feelings toward your product or service. The way you manage this brand experience may be the single most important factor when it comes to building customer loyalty and eventually brand advocates.
Understanding the Brand Experience
The concept of the brand experience encourages marketers and key decision-makers in an organization to consider the full extent of how a brand occurs to your audience. To fully understand the brand experience that’s being created, you must consider each stage of the customer journey, each channel where your audience may come into contact with your brand and the impact each department has that is involved in building this experience.
It's easy to confuse this concept with good marketing and branding, or even experiential marketing. Those are part of the big picture, but the total brand experience goes far beyond these elements to include the subjective impression your audience takes away from every stage. Your brand experience includes the ease or difficulty of the checkout and payment process, the support they receive following a purchase, the interaction on social media and even delivery time.
Understanding and creating an optimal brand experience is what builds loyalty from customers who learn to trust your brand for the consistency in your message, the level of quality in the product or service you provide, and more.
4 Aspects of Great Brand Experiences
From branding to messaging to quality of service, consistency is at the heart of every great brand experience. Using consistent color palettes, font choices, as well as writing styles and images across platforms, builds trust and encourages customers to feel safe choosing your brand.
Examine all parts of the customer journey to look for inconsistencies. Be sure to communicate to other departments that may have involvement in aspects of the brand experience (even if they don’t realize it) to ensure they are auditing for consistency as well. Consider creating a guide that can be distributed that touches on styles, voice, messaging, etc. so everyone is on the same page.
Nothing builds a killer brand experience like winning the customers' trust, and there's no better way to do that than to be honest with them at every stage. Even small things, like providing an itemized invoice for each sale, can give customers a feeling of insight and control that reassures them you're being honest.
Accessibility goes hand-in-hand with transparency; the more accessible information is about your company, product or service, the more transparent customers will feel your brand is. If it’s difficult to find information or make contact with a customer service representative, an audience member may feel that you’re trying to hide something. Make these processes as easy as possible, and invest in building out the information your customers may be interested in.
Nothing beats a friendly, helpful customer service experience. It's inevitable that at least some customers will have an issue with either your product or some other aspect of their customer experience. Investing in a trained customer service crew who can quickly solve these little problems builds trust and makes customers for life out of casual buyers.
Nothing builds a killer brand experience like winning the customers' trust, and there's no better way to do that than to be honest with them at every stage.
How Your Omnichannel Strategy Comes Into Play
You cannot build a successful brand experience without taking a close look at your omnichannel strategy. The experience you create must have consistency from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom of it, as well as across channels. Getting to know and understand your target audience seems like a no-brainer for marketers but thinking about it from the perspective of an omnichannel brand experience can put a spin on things.
The goal of your omnichannel marketing strategy is to reach your target group over and over, and to present the same face with each interaction, so that potential customers get a regular and consistent brand experience, regardless of the medium where they encounter you. However, if you try to engage with your audience on the wrong channel or with the wrong message, you run the risk of creating a poor brand experience and eliminating the opportunity to make a conversion or turn them into repeat customers.
Take the time to audit your omnichannel strategy to ensure your brand is in all the right places. If not, start developing a strategy to take on a new channel, or create a seamless exit plan so that you don’t end up with yet another zombie Twitter account.
Remember That First Impressions Matter
With omnishoppers on the rise, it’s imperative for brands to consider each channel where they could make a first impression on an audience member, which will likely extend beyond the channels accounted for in your omnichannel strategy.
Take inventory of every channel where a potential audience member may come into contact with your brand and what that experience is like. Consistency is key and can be found in branding, messaging and more. When you're crafting your brand identity at this introductory stage, keep a few principles in mind and apply them consistently across channels.
Once you’ve decided what you want that first impression to entail, be sure to communicate it out to all departments who may be involved in developing that channel. This will go beyond your marketing team to include other key players, such as your web developers, app developers, packaging design team, social media mavens and more.