If you’re in business, you are ultimately selling an experience. No matter who you are or what you sell, your product or service is connected to an experience that will make or break you. This is a growing trend, so your customers expect the brand experience to be exceptional. How can we achieve this? How can we stand out in our industries? If you get it right, your customers will become more than customers—they’ll be brand advocates!
Why? What Changed?
So how did we even get here? Over the last decade or so, the internet has grown and expanded in ways we never saw coming.
We’ve now reached a level of access that allows us to compare prices and reviews for products sold worldwide. There are thousands of videos and tutorials on YouTube that teach us how to DIY items that we may have otherwise bought in past years. We can now make all of our purchasing decisions based on our super-power filtering ability. How can you compete against the world?
One Word: EXPERIENCE
Lucky for you, people today are CRAVING an experience. And if you cannot give them something a bit more interesting, fun, exciting or stimulating, then they will probably walk away saying “I should have just ordered this online.”
But if you can work a positive experience into your product or service, you win! This immediately sets you apart from the competition.
What is Brand Experience?
This question is exactly what Brand Strategy is. Brand Strategy is the art of mapping out the customer journey and making sure there is a positive brand experience at every touchpoint. In fact, this is the difference between being perceived as a commodity vs. a brand. It’s easier said than done.
The secret is: you want your consumer experiences to be consistent and aligned with your brand essence, personality, and values.
If you’re new to thinking of your brand as an experience, start with the basics. What do people experience through their 5 senses? What do they see, hear, smell, touch and taste? Make sure the 5 senses are supporting your brand and that you’re making them feel a certain way intentionally. Don’t leave it up to chance!
Take a Step Back
Quite often, if you’re in the business, you’re too close to truly see it. New customers are experiencing your company for the first time and are hoping for a positive experience. Returning customers are looking for the same experience they had last time. Meeting their expectations is what branding is all about. Without stepping back and perceiving your business through the eyes of your customers, you run the risk of being too relaxed. In short, you will become inconsistent in delivering your brand experience to each person, each time.
Make the Shift
Every company starts small but the ones who discover brand strategy over the next decade are the companies that will grow to become our brand leaders. People will be craving more experiences, therefore expectations will only get higher. Those left selling only their product or service (without the intentional experience) will fail.
Hiring a Brand Strategist
A Brand Strategist will be able to walk through your company with fresh eyes and experience your brand like a customer would—offering creative ideas of you ways to better the experience for your customers. A Brand Strategist can also explain future consumer trends and ways to meet the ever-changing consumer expectations that are developing at record speeds.
If you’re feeling lost at all, you may need to walk through a rebrand process. Rebranding is all about redefining your company and the emotions you want to evoke. During a rebrand, you spend time defining the company and defining your ideal customer. The purpose of a rebrand is to reposition yourself in the marketplace, attract new leads, and increase sales. Visual changes to the company may or may not happen depending on the emotions your current brand identity evokes.
In the end, since graphic design is the visual element of your brand, it will play a large part in how people experience your brand and how it makes them feel. However, let us be clear: changing the design of your business is NOT what rebranding is all about. The design changes are merely a reflection of the brand strategy you will create around the experience your brand offers.
Branding = Experience