Brand Experience 101: How To Wow Like Inspiring Brands
Think about your favorite brands for a moment.
How do you feel when you buy from them? What keeps you loyal to that brand? What distinguishes them from other brands? What emotional connection do you have to the brand, before you purchase, while you're shopping, and after you buy?
These elements— your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and perceptions— work together to form your customer experience. And if they're positive, they work together to create incredibly valuable brand loyalty.
A brand experience is the lasting impression you leave on everyone that encounters your company. From your prospective customers to your loyal customers, your employees to your brand ambassadors, brand experience impacts everyone you connect with. And with a bit of market research, planning, and an experiential marketing strategy, you can build a brand experience that streamlines your customer journey and creates loyal customers for life.
Brand experiences, whether good or bad, live on in your customers' minds for years. And once that experience is solidified, it's difficult to change. Brand perception, how customers encounter and think of a brand, begins the moment they first recognize a company name. That's why brand management is essential to creating a unified, positive experience from the very beginning.
Before we talk about the best ways to improve your customer loyalty through your brand experience, it's important to note the differences between these often confused terms.
Brand experience is how customers perceive your entire brand— in store, through your social media posts, and before and after they buy. On the other hand, user experience simply refers to how customers perceive your company while they're interacting with you. Typically, you can get user experience data while customers are using your product, service, or app.
Your user experience is largely determined by things like product design, the technology you use, and the quality of your customer service. But your brand experience is built by your brand strategy— the experiential marketing campaigns, brand assets, visual identity, mission statement, and other elements you use to tell your brand story.
With that definition out of the way, we can brainstorm the best ways you can improve your brand experience, make the right brand investments, and generate greater customer loyalty!
Today, customer expectations are higher than ever. But with the right brand experience strategy in place, every customer interaction can be a brand-building tool!
Here's how to begin designing a brand experience that resonates with your ideal customers:
Community is contagious. When you leverage your brand to create an entire community around your product or service, you create customers for life. How do you make your brand into a culture people want to be a part of? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Offer a unique customer experience. You can do this through personalized web content (more on that below!), positive user experiences, fun community events, and even high-quality customer service. Anything that's unique and positive can add to your great brand culture.
- Focus your marketing efforts. Rather than advertising your brand to everyone, use a targeted marketing strategy that focuses solely on your target customers. By tailoring your brand experience to one specific group of people, you can build a positive community, drive sales, and increase your brand loyalty.
- Care for your team members. The culture you create inside your company is as important as the brand experience culture you generate outside of it. Care for your employees, offer great benefits, promote from within, and appreciate those who work for you. They'll share what they love, and your brand will benefit!
When you personalize the customer experience, you create an even stronger emotional connection to your brand. In our over-advertised world, we're used to tuning out generic, irrelevant content. But personalized content, that which makes an emotional connection, gets noticed.
One great example of a personalized brand experience is a furniture store's website that starts by asking what you're shopping for. When you enter the site, a pop-up appears and asks if you're shopping for your living room, bedroom, or another room. Once you make your selection, you're directed straight to the part of the site relevant to your needs. In this way, the company has created a personalized, consumer-centric experience by using real-time data and customer feedback from their target audience. There are dozens of other personalized brand experience examples, but an interactive website is one simple way of tailoring your experience from the very beginning.
Brand recognition is built through consistency. When your customers see your brand image and encounter your marketing communications in the same form across multiple channels, they begin to become familiar with you.
The best way to maintain a consistent brand strategy is by utilizing brand guidelines. Brand guidelines are a set of rules that keep every element of your marketing strategy consistent across your various digital channels. To create the best possible brand experience, you can create your own set of guidelines, or you can use ZeBrand's customizable brand guideline builder and easily share this key resource with your team.
In today's digital age, it's easier than ever to work brand experiences into your online marketing campaigns. Leverage your strong online presence with strategies like these:
Online events are a great way to connect with new customers and show what your brand is like in real life. Consider hosting an Ask Me Anything event where your executive team takes real questions from new customers. Or host a live product launch to showcase your newest products and biggest brand fans. You can even host a hybrid event that combines elements of social media and in-person experiences to reach a larger audience.
Another way to generate an emotional response from your target audience (and to positively influence your community!) is to use your social media as a platform for the causes your company cares about. Expand your brand visibility by taking action towards climate change, equality, sustainability, or whatever causes your brand stands for.
Customer feedback is one of the most valuable tools you can use to improve your brand experience and customer satisfaction. And best of all, you can use social media to collect data about customer satisfaction, loyalty, and perception for free!
You can gather valuable brand experience data about your target audience through social media by running polls, posting links to your feedback surveys, or asking your followers to share their ideas and suggestions. Many brands even host contests to get new ideas for products, services, or processes that benefit their customers. As your followers respond to your questions, answer your polls, or complete your surveys, you gain real time feedback you can use to improve satisfaction and customer loyalty.
Speaking of customer loyalty, did you know it's more cost-effective to keep a valuable customer than to find a new one? Customer acquisition is expensive— which is why ensuring your brand delivers positive experiences is essential to your long-term success.
Customers have a lot of choices today. Just because they purchased your product or service today doesn't mean they'll be back in the future.That's what makes your post-sale brand experience important.
What do you do after the sale to keep your customers loyal? How can you extend your brand experience management to keep your best customers coming back (and referring their friends!)?
Try these post-sale customer experience tips for building real loyalty:
Say thanks! A quick thank-you email after the sale leaves your customers with a positive memory of your brand. It's a quick way to build loyalty, ask for a review, and offer customer service, if needed.
Give instructions. Is there a common question or issue that comes up often? Consider sending a post-sale communication addressing that question. You could include a video or step-by-step instructions to show customers how to avoid the issue— building a positive brand experience along the way.
Tailor your communications. Make sure this group of customers receive marketing communications that encourage them to repurchase. These communications can be emails that suggest an additional product to try, repurchase emails timed around when the customer should be running low, or even new product announcements. The more targeted and tailored, the more loyalty these emails will build.
A positive brand experience is critical to your business' success. A great brand experience, from the moment of awareness to the end of their customer journey is pivotal. Here at ZeBrand, our Brand Coaches are experts at helping companies create a custom, personalized brand experience. Plus, our Brand DNA builder helps you craft a brand experience that drives customer loyalty, brand awareness, and greater revenue.