Is there a difference between Brand Experience and Brand Engagement?

Should we talk about Brand Experience/Engagement or should it be Customer Experience/Engagement? Are they all interchangeable terms?

It is worth saying that in this case I consciously use the terms in English since they are a fully integrated part of our professional language (such as marketing or branding), but I assume that this is not simply a problem derived from their possible translations into English. Spanish. The differences are in substance and not so much in form.

The role of proactive brands

To answer the initial questions, we must be aware that, at the end of a decade, the world has changed enormously and continues to grow exponentially in the pace of change. In this framework, it is undoubtedly time to review what the relationship between companies, brands and people should be today. And in this equation, the leading role is played by the third variable: people. To connect with them, brands – as representatives of companies – have no choice but to manage their culture and behaviors in search of aligning with people’s interests.

To build a brand it is necessary to build trust towards it. It is essential to give clients a reason why they should spend part of their time connecting emotionally (engage) with it. This is the only way to get a place in your heart, as the key to a “temporary insurance” that will ensure that you have it in your “top of mind”, remember it and recommend it.

The first step in this sense must be taken by brands. Perhaps it is an issue of focus regarding how to define the order of interactions. It is true that we could appreciate that brands can emerge in response to an initial demand from people and it is also true that today the consumer has the power. But brands have no choice but to take a role of action, rather than reaction, although without a doubt people are put at the center. In this brand-person interaction we start from an experiential base that facilitates dialogue. This is a loop that is understood from the role of brands as generators of value for people. For this reason, I prefer to talk about Brand Experience/Engagement as opposed to Customer Experience/Engagement. Both may share the same DNA, but they start from a different approach.

The connection between experience and engagement

From this premise, let’s look at the connection between experience and engagement. Both revolve around a third variable such as perceptions, generated from previous contact.

Brand Experience can be defined as the perception that customers have throughout all interactions with the brand.

Engagement with the brand is somewhat more complex. In today’s omni-channel world, it can have different meanings. In the online environment, it is attributed to getting visitors to spend more time on a website. Concerning internal engagement, is a concept linked to the employee engagement factor. Customer-driven is a factor of trust and loyalty. And in all of them, it is a factor linked to relationships and the emotions that are generated from them.

Attitudes and behaviors are the two main elements to achieve loyal relationships. If brands provide experiences that customers like, they will achieve positive feelings that enhance trust, be talked about positively, etc.

Experience describes the individual’s impression of the brand as a result of their interactions with it. It is built through a “Journey Mapping” that includes every point where the brand comes into contact with the customer.

Engagement is a result of that experience. At its core, it is a great indicator of the state of the relationship between the brand and its customers.

Engagement is not a synonym for experience but a consequence. The experience is the result of what the customer perceives. If it is a positive experience, a better connection and trust is achieved, which generates greater engagement.

Both must forge relationships between the digital and the physical, according to the “Journey Mapping” and try to provide value and differentiation. The design of brand experiences is an opportunity to increase the value of the brand strategy and help in positioning.

The underlying currency of brand engagement is an exchange value that extends the brand beyond the monetary transaction.

Experiences, emotions, and engagement work in a virtuous circle where each element feeds the next.

The future of the experience lies in the new rules of engagement. It is clear that there are many ways to reach our audience, but we cannot deny that today technology emerges ahead of all of them.

Golden rules for engagement

A recent report – “The Future of Experience” – produced by Adobe in collaboration with Goldsmiths University explores the impact that new technologies are having on customer experiences off and online, and outlines five golden rules for achieving engagement between brands, technology, and people:

1-Empathy
“Achieving depth and meaning”

Technology makes it possible to create incredibly meaningful and exciting experiences that can have profound effects.

– Experiences must generate meaning and connect emotionally with people.

– Consumers expect technologies to help enhance social good.

– As a result of the profound effects on physical and mental states, brands have to exercise extreme empathy when using emerging technologies.

2- Serendipity
“Staying open to the unexpected”

Serendipity is a fortunate and unexpected discovery or find that occurs when you are looking for something else. Technology should always improve and not replace human actions.

– Essential for discovery, serendipity is also a crucial element towards building trust and authenticity.

– An overly persistent effort at customization often leads to a net reduction in possibilities.

– Human actions must be the focus. Improve, not replace.

3-Privacy
“But not as we know it”

New technologies allow consumers to create their own private digital world, where they control brands that establish dialogue based on quality.

– Future werebles will allow for more and better private moments.

– Brands face the challenge of how to connect with consumers with greater power.

4- Reciprocity
“A two way street”

Our relationship with technology will change radically as we begin to learn from machines and teach them to evolve.

– Change of relational model: people and machines will teach each other.

– Technology needs to provide useful, practical, personal and progressive experiences to encourage its use.

– Knowing how to interpret the data that machines give us will be a fundamental skill of the future.

5- Adaptability
“The key to staying relevant”

Silos are the enemies of experiences. For technology to work to create great experiences, businesses must break down organizational silos and provide seamless service.

– Technology, as an enabler of experiences, must understand the context and intent of the customer.

– Organizations must adapt and integrate technologies at all levels of planning and customer engagement.

– Products/services will be integrated across markets, sectors and companies.

– The off and online worlds are integrated, this also implies the integration of departments within Organizations.

Conclusion

Technology offers countless opportunities to give a tremendous boost to the shopping experience. In the near future, physical shopping will become a true experience thanks to sensors, touch screens, beacons… Maybe we will even see robots serving traditional stores, but human beings will surely be necessary as long as we cannot share emotions with machines. . Let’s not forget that we will only achieve engagement if we connect with people’s emotions.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

President of Branward®

Photos: Shutterstock