7 Things That Shape The Brand Experience
posted on July 26, 2017
Consumers today are overwhelmed with choices made increasingly difficult due to product and service uniformity, commoditization, and micro-segmentation. Brands have to compete beyond just what they offer in products and services. They must strengthen brand loyalty through compelling experiences before, around, during and after direct engagement with the product, service or company.
Surely companies have to deliver products and services that meet or exceed customer expectations, but everything that happens around how those are delivered have become as important.
The reason why some of us pay more for coffee at Starbucks or prefer an iPhone over a Galaxy is because the experience with those brands is different, special, and suitable with a certain lifestyle. According to a 2014 Gartner survey:
“89% of marketing leaders expect to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience by 2016, as compared with 36% four years ago.”
“Sincere, warm, elegant and curious” – Starbucks Universal Design Attributes – Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle. Photo courtesy of Sprudge.
Further studies report that competitive differentiation achieved through better products of more efficient services is decreasing. Creating the superior customer experience will be a sustainable differentiator.
Without undermining the importance of product and service quality, greater attention is being focused on brand experience management. Companies are spending more time, energy and resources on experiential design, staff training and ensuring continuity across points of contact—through all channels and all media.
Understanding what influences these points of contact through a customer experience journey is important in planning how to effectively manage that experience.
Brand experience is principally shaped by seven different types of experiential stimuli and influences:
Engagement is the interaction that happens during the experience, whether it is shopping dynamics, sales staff behavior, navigation, content organization, transaction process/interface, or customer service.
A 2013 survey of customer service from mid-size companies conducted by Dimensional Research found that customer service was the No. 1 factor impacting trust and confidence, and bad customer service was shared more broadly and longer than good customer experience.
Environment is the physical surroundings of the experience which is affected by the fives senses. These can be in the form of microenvironment in a building such as architecture, layout, interior design, furniture, lighting, etc. or macroenvironment such as the checkpoints of an airline travel.
Communication is any form of visual and verbal exchange that facilitate the engagement and adds to the experience. The use of brand identity is a way to signal the brand, whether it’s in signages, promotional graphics, packaging designs, vehicle graphics, uniforms, motion graphics, video, all the way to social media.
4. Product Benefit
Product benefit is what you receive through the experience or engagement with the service or product. It can be the products themselves, the services provided or, in travel, the passage from origin to destination.
Expectation is what you think is going to happen or what you think you are going to get. This can be influenced through previous experience, advertising, social media or testimonials. Several studies have shown that “80%–90% of customers are influenced by online reviews.”
Recollection is how you remember and describe the experience and is what shapes your opinion about the next encounter. Recollection reveals and accentuates what really went well and what really went bad. Everything in between becomes a blur and will soon be forgotten.
7. The Uncontrollable
The uncontrollable is any other factors that are outside of your total control. It can be the weather, unpredictable behaviors, the industry, and many others. You can’t control the weather but you can at least try to prepare for it. The key is to recognize and understand what you can control, what you can only influence, and what you have to protect against.
PHD cleverly makes its maneuver through unpredictable traffic by offering a free pizza for any delivery that takes more than 30 minutes, resulting in a unique and sought-after experience. Picture courtesy of phd.co.id
Brands are competing to create more and more excitement throughout the customer journey and make the greatest impact at various touchpoints. We certainly can try and hope that the excitement and impact are all positive ones.