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We all know that, as individuals and also as consumers, we rarely forget the memory of good and bad experiences. That is something that lingers within us. How many times have we bought a product that disappoints us because our expectations were higher than what we received. How many hotels have we been in where we have spent unforgettable moments and that we love to recommend to our friends for their trips? Don’t we enjoy talking about our experience of driving a new car?

Life is made up of experiences, and so are brands.

If the brand experience is boring and unmemorable, the audience won’t engage. It’s as simple as that. The brand experience (or the customer’s experience with the brand) is the result of the sum total of the perception that the customer forms through all interactions with the brand, from seeing their last SPOt to contact the support team or visit one of the stores. While it will vary from customer to customer, depending on the scope of their interaction, who they talk to, and what their overall expectations are, there’s a lot that can be done to keep the quality of experience always high.

That’s why companies that stand out are connecting with the brand’s purpose and placing it at the center of everything they do, including the experiences they generate. They even redefine their value proposition and reorganize their teams to deliver positive interactions at every touchpoint. And, consequently, a memorable experience. As a result, your customers trust those brands because they feel heard and understood. In return, they offer them their loyalty.

Loyalty to a brand becomes commitment to it when the customer feels part of something bigger, with a purpose. By sharing values and beliefs, customers and brands create a community that reclaims its place – its meaning – in the world. An authentic purpose means standing up for something that goes beyond what an organization sells.

The purposeful brand experience is at the very heart of branding, which leads to trying to ensure that customers enjoy meaningful, satisfying, and memorable experiences associated with the brand’s own values, and all maintained over time.

It should not be forgotten that the concept of brand extends to the entire value chain of the company, from products/services to behavior, attitude or the way it communicates.

Managing the brand as the main element of the customer experience will involve taking into account these 3 aspects:

a) Corporate
culture
The brand promise must be reflected in the organizational culture itself. It is a concept that must be transversal throughout the Company, where business strategy and brand strategy are aligned. Getting employees to create positive customer experiences is the result of a healthy corporate culture that focuses on customers from the outside, rather than inward-oriented. Building and maintaining an effective culture that puts the customer experience at the center requires executive support and considerable employee communication and education. It’s the first step to becoming a company that actively manages the customer experience.

b) Behavior
A brand’s behavior is the way it interacts with customers, or rather the customer’s experience of interacting with the brand through its different touchpoints. Experiences need to be created around customer needs and wants, removing bottlenecks through process changes, technological advancements, and integrative innovation. Behavior is a key part of the chain of transmission of brand values, so it is worth thinking that it also affects companies within them. The degree of employee commitment to the company itself will lead to a different outcome in the final brand experience of customers. And every link counts, not just those that are visible to the customer.

c) Relationships
This is the age of people. Brands really need to mutate to a “consumer first” focus. But this principle often requires a change of mentality, in the way they relate to the environment, in the way they use technology, in how they generate experiences, in an effort to achieve better connection and engagement with all their stakeholders. In order to create more personal experiences with brands, it is important to humanize them so that they speak and act like people.

How to Build a Brand Experience

I propose a three-phase approach to defining the brand experience strategy:

  1. Know your customer

Buyer persona

development is the first step in the research process. It represents the common traits of a group of customers. By developing 3 or 4 profiles, it will be easier to better understand the psyche of customers and create experiences for those segments that are more valuable. Each persona should include a picture of the imaginary customer, demographic profile, attributes and motivations, needs, pain points, and actual customer quotes. To create personas, you need to conduct customer interviews and analyze and thematize data to extract meaningful insights related to different types of customers. It can also help you develop an empathy map that will make it easier to provide a complete picture of the customer and the actions they might take as a result of their beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. The empathy map uses 4 quadrants labeled “think,” “feel,” “say,” and “do” to help make sense of different aspects of the customer experience and preferences.

  1. Mapping the experience

Develop a
Customer Journey
map that visually illustrates customers’ actions, needs, and decisions throughout each stage of their relationship with the brand. It takes into account each of the opportunities, the pain points and the different interactions that condition the layout.

You can come up with a map that considers the 5 A’s:

Attract – How do you attract customers and inform them of the service/product?

Accept – How does the customer get in touch with the brand?

Adopt – How does the customer interact throughout the entire experience?

Zoom in – How does the customer feel at the end of the interaction?

Move Forward – How do you follow up with customers and expand the current relationship?

  1. Build the experience

Once you have defined your customers and mapped out your brand journey, it’s time to project what brand experiences should look like. Brainstormingbetween team members can open up interesting opportunities, which wouldn’t be reached in a linear fashion. At the end of the road, you should be able to come up with the following flow of reasoning: we believe that (description of the experience), will solve (the customer’s needs and the brand’s problem/opportunity), thanks to (complete solution), giving rise to (new attitude/behavior/outcome). Logically you will have opened several scenarios, filter them and classify them in terms of value for the customer and the business.

Finally, consider that consistency in the brand experience will be responsible for building trust towards it. Beyond what the brand says, what it does will be the element on which to build a relationship that must be respected at every touchpoint. Remember, even if you can’t control your customers, you can influence their perception. This gives you more power than you realize. Be sure to use this important lever to the benefit of the brand.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó
CEO at Branward