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How to create an awesome brand experience

Brand experience encompasses pretty much every aspect of the way consumers experience your brand. Basically, it’s a pretty big deal. To really understand what makes a brand experience a successful one, it’s important to see how experience relates to other key branding elements like brand identity and brand voice. In this article, we’ll do just that and offer some great tips for creating your own irresistible brand experience, too!

What is brand experience?

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Every interaction with customers contribute to the overall brand experience. By hadynoody via 99designs by Vista.

The best way to understand brand experience is to break it down: “brand” is the company, as perceived by the world. Your brand defines why you are in existence, your raison d’être. “Experience” on the other hand describes how you live and grow.

Therefore, brand experience quite literally describes how the brand is experienced by potential and existing customers before, during and after any and all interactions, throughout its existence. Very philosophical, I know.

How is brand experience different than user experience? Brand experience is a larger concept that contains user experience within it. Part of brand experience is creating a memorable user experience that is in line with the entirety of the brand experience.

The most well known brands that exist today place strong emphasis on brand experience. Apple is an obvious example. From the retail store, to the packaging, to the interface, all the points in which we interact with Apple are curated and harmonious with the overall brand experience.

Elements that create a successful brand experience

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The brand experience is the key to customer loyalty. Illustration by Fe Melo via 99designs by Vista.

The internet has changed the way we interface with brands. Our interactions with the brands we love—and with new ones—have become much more complex than ever before.

Previously, we only came in contact with a brand through print, radio or television advertisements—and then with the product itself. Now, we experience ads on social media, we receive marketing emails and visit various online stores featuring the products. Most brands also have their own apps and social media accounts.

A solid brand experience requires that you turn the entire experience, well, into an experience. Therefore you need to make sure you take all the different elements that make up your brand into consideration. Some of the most important of these elements are:

  • Brand design
  • Brand voice
  • User experience
  • Brand image, and
  • Customer support

All of these elements become significant parts of a whole under brand experience.

6 steps to creating an awesome brand experience

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A great brand experience is with customers at every phase. By Vladanland via 99designs by Vista.

Emphasizing experience over all else is the key to creating a memorable brand with repeat customers. Some of the most well known brands today create experiences that are aspirational, that stir feelings in potential and existing customers.

When thinking of Netflix, do you think of a specific show or even “streaming service” or do you think of content source that is familiar, that is easily accessible, that offers comfort and keeps you engaged by frequently offering new material? By paying attention to how the users experience their brand and what they look for, Netflix has become a household name that is shared by many across the globe.

So how do you make sure all your various interactive elements leave a positive impression? How do you create a great brand experience for your customers? We’ve made a list of some of the essential factors.

1. Discover your purpose

Who are you? Being able to answer this question matters profoundly for your brand experience. Nike, for example, does not answer this question with: “I sell shoes.” Nike is a purveyor of ambition, athleticism and determination. Nike’s purpose is solid and all facets of its brand experience say so.

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Brand experience can set a products apart. Illustration by Natalia Maca via 99designs by Vista.

Defining who you are will set the tone of the type of experience you want to create. In an oversaturated market, products that are connected to a bigger purpose can stand out from the crowd—the purpose often has more value than the product itself.

What is your brand’s higher purpose?

2. Focus on storytelling

Some of the best brand experiences are those that highlight storytelling.

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Seeing beyond what’s being sold can be achieved through storytelling. Illustration by cadina via 99designs by Vista.

What’s your brand’s story?  How did you come to be? How are you improving lives?

Sharing your brand’s story encourages continuity, fosters curiosity and suggests a living, growing entity rather than a static product that solely exists to make money.

Through blogs and social media, brands have the capacity to share their stories and really inspire people in the process. 

3. Be consistent

It’s essential that the different elements that make up your brand speak the same language—inconsistency can damage your brand image and overall customer experience.

Brand assets and brand guidelines cover visual consistency—this includes your brand color palette, typography and logo. How strange would it be to see a brand you’ve turned to many times and notice that something is off? It would be an instant breach of trust.

And what about communication and attitude? Does your customer support employ your brand voice just as your store personnel do? What about your social media posts? Are they in line with your overall brand personality and approach?

4. Find opportunities for engagement

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Customer’s want to be able to actively engage with a brand beyond making a purchase. By Natalia Maca via 99designs by Vista.

An experience requires the engagement of our senses. Does your brand offer customers opportunities to see, hear, read about and talk about your product or service?

Your visibility, audibility, and accessibility offer multiple opportunities for engagement. Sending customers contests and surveys, sampling your products at a stand at a grocery store and creating pop up shops are all common ways to create opportunities for engagement.

These opportunities are best tackled with knowledge of your digital sales funnel and how and where your customers are more likely to engage with you.

5. Put experiences over sales

What happens before, during and after the sale are the most memorable parts of the purchasing experience for a customer. This is also described as the three-stage model of service consumption: pre-purchase, service encounter and post-service stage.

The customer will remember whether the pre-purchase experience was simple and enjoyable and whether the post-service stage also gave them good feelings. The positivity of these experiences is crucial to the brand experience. If you have a brick and mortar store, is it easy to navigate?

Think of a popular store that sells soaps and scents. Think of the aesthetic, the many ways you can sample the products in store, think of how the sales staff approaches you, think of leaving with samples even though you haven’t purchased anything. Now, that is an experience that does not prioritize the sale. Same goes for online stores. Do customers have to work through lots of irritating pop-ups? Is the color scheme soothing? Is check-out a breeze? There are many details to consider—but for good reason.

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Journey matters more than the destination in a great brand experience. Illustration by faraway via 99designs by Vista.

6. Adapt and evolve

The way we make purchases, find information and seek experiences is constantly changing. Yelp and the influx of customer reviews has greatly influenced how brands do business and social media is everything, and ever-evolving. Adaptability is more important today than ever before. Adaptability includes a keen awareness of popular culture and trends, integrating your customers’ feedback and generally keeping up with the times.

You may have put much of your marketing efforts to highlighting your product’s organic ingredients, but now you feel that it’s more timely to focus on your efforts to decrease waste in your manufacturing process.  Being in tune with the zeitgeist, and your customers’ changing needs, support your brand experience and increase growth.

Make experiences with customers

A brand experience is the symbiotic relationship between a brand and its customers—you can give your customers a fantastic brand experience by taking the time to deeply understand all that it encompasses. Now, go get ’em!

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Author: Zeynep Lokmanoglu