These days, it isn’t enough to have a catchy name, a beautiful logo, or a robust marketing strategy. Consumers, especially those of younger generations, crave experiences. That’s why you need to transform your brand into a story that draws your customers in, then create an amazing customer experience that builds loyalty to your brand.
This approach is called a brand experience, and it’s something at which heavyweight players like Apple, Nike, and Netﬂix have excelled. When you think of those companies, you don’t think of computers, shoes, and streaming.
You think of the sleek, powerful experience of using your iPhone, you feel athletic and ambitious, and you crave a comfortable evening on your couch. How can you elevate your brand to offer a brand experience to your customers?
Here are some strategies you can use:
Communicate your true purpose
Every company should know their raison d’être — their reason for being. This ties into your brand promise, or what you uniquely offer your customers. Once you’ve reﬁned these two things, you can develop an experience that brings your customers together. Can you make them feel like part of a movement? When people use your product, will they feel like they’re living their best life or changing the world? If you haven’t yet, write your company’s mission and value statements. Then, use those to shape your brand expression. Your customers should gain a strong sense of who you are and why you do what you do.
For example, people associate Starbucks with more than just coffee. The brand also means integrity, sustainability, and social justice. That’s their true purpose.
Tell your story
Everyone likes a good story, especially if it’s true. By sharing your company’s unique challenges, history, and triumphs, you can build trust in your brand. Let your story drive your marketing so that people feel like they’re experiencing your success. This tactic is far more effective than simply trotting out sales-y ads. For example, you can share behind-the-scenes content, the story of how you came to be, or what motivates your latest product.
This is great content for social, and it doubles as a key component of your brand experience: It’s how people can engage with your brand every day.
Create an experience for your customers
Experiential marketing is the practice of creating an event, campaign, knowledge base, or other outlet for customers to gather around a brand. It’s a great way to build community while subtly nudging customers along their buyer’s journey. Experiential marketing shouldn’t be confused with sales events. Instead, use your core values and brand promise to shape something that people can experience, rather than shop for.
Look into hosting a conference or other event that can bring your community together. If you’re a health food store, hosting a health fair could be a good idea. You can also crowdsource content around a theme and share it to your social media platforms. This can help your customers feel like they’re part of your brand.
Reﬁne your customer experience
Whether you have brick-and-mortar stores, an online presence, or both, it should be one of your top priorities to streamline the buying process for your customers. This so-called customer experience, or CX, is increasingly important in today’s market. Contemporary consumers want highly personalized, ultra-convenient buying experiences. Can you use your app to offer customized product recommendations? Is the buying experience pleasant? Think about how Trader Joe’s has a distinctive look and feel, as well as opportunities to shop, eat, and get samples.
That’s an experience that makes customers go out of their way to shop at Trader Joe’s.
Ultimately, creating a brand experience should be a natural extension of your marketing strategies. By leveraging your story and offering experiences to your customers, you can build a community around your brand. That makes it much more likely that people will seek you out, saving you time and money.
Your brand experience is the cohesive set of expectations, symbols, and stories that your target audience will come to expect from you. Be strategic, consistent, and authentic, and this approach will likely boost your marketing results in ways that traditional, ad-driven marketing cannot