The secret weapon to growth that many businesses overlook

The beauty of brand experience

As lockdowns and harsh economic conditions begin to ease across the nation, there’s no doubt you’ll want your business to come back with a bang. You’ll open your doors, welcome your customers back in and give them the best damn experience they’ve ever had with you.

Giving your customers an unforgettable experience facilitates deeper connections and will ultimately deliver results to your business. However, brand experience is something you need to work on every single day and shouldn’t be seen as a quick gimmick just to welcome back your clientele. 

How your customers experience your brand will inevitably determine the actions they will take with your brand; a positive experience can drive your customers to become loyal purchasers, while a negative experience will likely drive them away from your brand for good.

For business owners looking to accelerate the growth of their company, there aren’t many weapons as powerful as a superior brand experience. With this in mind, let’s take a deeper look at what brand experience really is, how to create a powerful brand experience, and the benefits of doing so.

What is brand experience?

According to Columbia University’s Journal of Marketing, brand experience is defined as ‘sensations, feelings, cognitions and behavioural responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are a part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications and environments.’

Simply put, brand experience refers to the multitude of ways a brand can be experienced by customers. This can include anything from how a brand looks, sounds, feels, smells and tastes, to its website, in-store and product experiences, the way in which an individual interacts with a brand’s customer service, and every little thing in between. 

As every touchpoint within your business is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your customers, it’s crucial to develop a brand experience that’s meaningful, memorable, authentic and consistent.

How to create a powerful brand experience

Now you know what you need to achieve, the next step is learning how to create a powerful and memorable brand experience specific to your business.

So, how exactly do you create a brand experience that generates customer loyalty, leads to increased sales and results in a better bottom line?

Know your purpose and stay authentic

The best brand experiences are created from a combination of purpose and authenticity. What’s your brand’s purpose? Why do you do what you do? What do you want to achieve, and what steps do you take to ensure you achieve it?

Having clearly defined answers to these questions is the best way to create authentic, meaningful and memorable experiences for your customers. Especially in times of economic turmoil like the present – but even when things are steady – customers appreciate a brand with a clearly defined purpose.

Try this: British-American author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek said in his 2009 TED Talk that ‘inspiring leaders start with why,’ and that ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.’

It may seem tedious, but sitting down and taking some time to openly and honestly answer the questions listed above will help put your business on the right path to achieving its goals.

First impressions are crucial, so make them count

In many of our past articles we’ve touched on the importance of making a strong first impression, and we’ll touch on it again in this one. The first impression a customer has of your brand goes a long way towards defining their overall experience of your brand, so it’s in your best interests to make it count.

Whether it be launching your brand, the homepage of your website, the entrance to your office/store, your social media accounts or how your employees treat prospective customers who contact your business for the first time, ensuring a memorable, impactful first impression is a powerful way to shape your brand experience.

Try this: No two businesses are the same, so what constitutes a good first impression for an online shop will be different to that of a clothing store that serves customers face-to-face.

To figure out how to make a strong first impression that’s right for your business, make a list of all the touchpoints where customers first interact with/contact your brand, and then work out ways to make those initial interactions as seamless and memorable as possible.

Customers visiting your website for the first time? Make sure your contact information is easily accessible. Do people call your office? Ditch the automated messages and ensure a helpful human being answers their calls. Do people come onto your premises? Invest in your reception area and make sure the overall state of your business is tidy and welcoming.

Tell your story, and tell it well

Going further than the purpose of your business, one of the crucial aspects of creating a memorable brand experience is your story.

The human brain is hardwired to resonate with stories, and when your brand experience is a part of a larger storyline that customers can relate to, they’re more likely to gain a deeper understanding of the significance and value of your brand.

Try this: You need to go further than just an ‘our story’ page on your website – blog posts, social media, advertising, newsletters, emails and events are all touchpoints that represent an opportunity to share your story and build a stronger connection with your customers.

Consistency is key

In all aspects of life, consistency is one of the most powerful ways of getting the results you want. The same applies to your business.   

Businesses that fail to ensure a consistent experience across all of their touchpoints are risking undermining their customer’s perception of their brand. Inconsistency makes brands feel sloppy, unorganised and creates confusion for potential customers.

People who encounter positive experiences will naturally seek them out again and again. However, if you throw a spanner in the works and your customer encounters a negative experience with your brand through the fault of inconsistency, they will get frustrated and associate your brand with those feelings.

Try this: A consistent brand projects professionalism, establishes authenticity, provides clarity and builds trust. But how do you achieve this?

Creating brand guidelines that address things such as brand mission, value propositions, tone of voice, logo, iconography, brand colours and fonts will help keep every aspect of your business on the same page.

Even something as simple as a marketing calendar will help build consistency as you can coordinate multichannel campaigns, schedule EDMs and social media posts weeks in advance, and review past performance in order to adjust your future content.

Be fluid, adapt and evolve

The way your customers find information, make purchases and interact with your brand is constantly changing, so while consistency is important, this doesn’t mean you should also be stagnant.

In today’s dynamic marketplace, adaptability is more important than ever – something that’s been made crystal clear over the better part of the last two years from living through a pandemic.

Many pre-pandemic experiences are no longer relevant to those whose habits and needs have fundamentally changed because of COVID-19, so it’s important to keep a close eye on industry trends and the shifting needs of customers.

Businesses that failed to update their processes in response to the pandemic will have struggled to meet the changing needs of their customers. But while the next global shift may not be as life-altering as a global pandemic, it’s important your brand remains fluid and willing to change if required.

Try this: For many organisations, the meaning of brand experience has changed dramatically over the past two years. However, the businesses that have thrived in these challenging times have been adaptable enough to survive the challenges in a chaotic environment, and flexible enough to adapt to the changes.

While there’s no way of predicting what will be next to shake up the business world, Forbes recommends being agile enough to scrap long-term plans and change direction on the fly, encouraging upskilling amongst your employees and continuously innovating your brand whilst remaining true to your mission and core functions as great ways of preparing for the unknown.

What are the benefits of brand experience?

The way your customers experience your brand can literally make or break your business. Positive experiences will play a big part in influencing purchasing behaviour and generating loyalty, and enable you to:

Increase brand awareness

Customers who have a memorable experience with your brand are more likely to talk about it with their friends. Think about any world-leading TV show, movie or product – when something is that good, people will talk about it, and customers essentially become the ones doing the advertising.

There’s no better example of this than Netflix’s new Korean drama series Squid Game. In the days and weeks following its release, every social media platform was rife with posts and discussion about the show, resulting in Squid Game becoming the No.1 show in 90 countries, and subsequently earning the title of the most watched show ever on Netflix.

Increase your brand’s perceived value

Brands that execute a consistent strategy based on impressive experiences will be perceived by customers as being of higher value compared to those with experiences that are confusing or underwhelming. A perceived higher value enables you to command higher prices for your products or services.

Establish customer loyalty

Whatever your business does or sells, there’s not many things more effective than a memorable experience to keep your customers coming back for more. Loyalty is built on trust, and customers naturally trust brands whose experiences are positive and consistent.

A brand with probably the highest rate of brand loyalty in the world is unsurprisingly Apple. According to a recent survey from SelCell, brand loyalty for Apple has hit an all-time high of 92%, with consumers clearly taking an affinity to the tech giant’s yearly releases of smartphones, laptops and other tech products.

Increase your sales

While all the previous benefits mentioned are great for the overall health of your brand, there’s nothing businesses want more than an increase in sales and an improvement on their bottom line. When a customer has a great experience with your brand they’re more likely to tell their friends and colleagues about it, which is then likely to lead to an increase in sales due to the power of personal recommendations.

Take for example Netflix’s surge of customers at the beginning of the pandemic. After posting slow but sustained growth over the last couple of years, Netflix added more than 8 million subscribers in three out of the four quarters of 2020. 

When everyone was locked in their homes bored and the only answer to the question ‘what have you been doing?’ was ‘watching Netflix,’ it’s not surprising that the streaming platform enjoyed such high levels of growth so rapidly.

Three examples of powerful brand experiences

1. Fortnite x Ariana Grande concert

If you aren’t aware, Fortnite is currently the most-played game in the world where 100 players are dropped onto an island with the goal of collecting weapons and eliminating one another, with the last player alive securing the victory.

When in-person events were getting cancelled left, right and centre during the pandemic, Fortnite and American pop superstar Ariana Grande collaborated to create a live in-game concert to showcase her new music.

While only lasting 10 minutes, the concert attracted a live global viewership of 1,050,057 people at a time where live music wasn’t a possibility. The highly visual and interactive event gained worldwide attention and generated substantial amounts of revenue for both Fortnite and Grande – significantly more than her in-person shows.

2. The Disney empire

Like most children, you probably spent countless hours of your childhood watching loveable characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Donald Duck and Cinderella. This was just the beginning of our brand experience with Disney.

Fast forward to the present day and it’s safe to say Disney has achieved the perfect recipe to enchant the world in as many ways as possible. 

Apart from their amazing animated cartoons and movies, Disney provides a magical brand experience through every single one of their touchpoints like musical performances, interactive websites, games, toys and their huge portfolio of resorts and theme parks around the globe.

3. Red Bull

Red Bull gives you… we don’t even need to finish that sentence, because the majority of people familiar with the Red Bull brand would be able to tell you it gives you wings.

Founded in Austria in 1987, Red Bull has evolved from solely selling energy drinks to hosting events, sponsoring sports teams and even creating their own marketing agency, Red Bull Media. By focusing on creating experiential marketing events, Red Bull has successfully tapped into new target markets and expanded its reach globally.

The brand experience experts

If you’re looking to create a memorable brand experience for your organisation, look no further than Orion Creative. We’ve worked with hundreds of businesses to deliver first-class brand experiences for over 25 years, and yours could be next.

Our creative team of graphic designers, web developers, marketers and copywriters will take a holistic approach to help you achieve your business objectives, exploring different ideas and tailoring strategies to suit your needs and budget.

We take the time to deeply understand your business, then once we establish where you’ve come from and where you currently are, we do whatever it takes to get you to where you want to be.

Get in touch with Orion Creative today for an obligation-free chat and learn how we can create the ultimate brand experience for your business.