In Part 1 of the Customer Experience Management series, I talked about how Williams-Sonoma won me over with their in-store Nespresso brand experience. It was immersive and filled my senses to the brim--a page right out of The Sensory Brand experience playbook.
While satisfying the senses is important in any business, not every brand or customer responds to the same marketing experience.
As I was walking down the street the other night, I couldn’t help but overhear brother and sister banter over some summertime ice-cream cones. The sister accidentally spilled a drop of ice-cream and asked her brother if he noticed the stain on her shirt.
“It’s tie-dye,” he said.
I had to laugh, as it reminded me of how people can perceive things so differently. One person thought the stain stood out, and the other person thought it blended in.
According to Merriam-Webster, perception is “awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation.” It’s the ability to notice something through our senses. So, when it comes to engaging customers, make sure to create experiences that tap into your brand’s personality, inking those traits and memories in the minds of your audience to create a visceral connection.
To break down how businesses can leverage customer interactions, the following abbreviated Brand Experience Scale(1) outlines the dimensionality of brand experiences. This scale has proven consistent and reliable across a number of studies testing individual differences between brand experience responses.
By identifying which category is best suited for your brand, you can pinpoint how to properly position your business in the marketplace and connect with your audience on a deeper, more engaged level.
BRAND EXPERIENCE SCALE
The Sensory Brand: This brand makes an impression on the senses. A spa or coffee shop, for example, would be prime examples of businesses that could pepper sensual experiences into the customer’s interaction with the brand. When visiting Dublin, we noticed a candy store pumping sweet smells from a tiny hose onto the city streets. Many luxury hotels even create signature scents to customize their brand.
The Affective Brand: This brand is an emotional brand and affects feelings and sentiments. A children’s business, cosmetic brand or healthcare company are examples where emotion could be woven into the fabric of the brand. Dove proved that you are more beautiful than you think in their Dove Real Beauty experiential marketing campaign. By making consumers feel part of the movement, Dove was able to give them an emotionally-invested experience that left a positive stamp, positioning the brand as the moral product choice.
The Behavioral Brand: This brand promotes physical actions and behaviors and results in bodily experiences. An outdoor adventure store or fitness studio can find opportunity by tapping into the behavioral marketing to amplify consumer experience. When I lived in Santa Barbara, I was drawn to a local community-based group fitness program that built brand awareness by hosting popup workouts around town, eventually opening its studio doors with the same bonding behavioral experiences, such as encouraging group 5ks, giving out high-fives and meeting someone new at the end of each workout.
The Intellectual Brand: This brand stimulates thinking, creativity and problem solving. A professional services firm or art studio, for example, could benefit from sharing educational information or facilitating events that spark imagination to differentiate and position the brand. Google Pixel 3 brilliantly crafted “The Curiosity Rooms” to ignite surprise and interest. The layered experiential strategy can be celebrated here.
Managing customer experience is important for every business. People walk through their days encountering ordinary brand experiences all the time. But to offer someone a uniquely-styled experience will strongly resonate and make a lasting impression.
Knowing your customer, understanding your brand personality, creating meaning through engagement and shaping a unique brand experience will deepen consumer relationships and grow your business.
(1) Brakus, J. J., Schmitt, B. H., & Zarantonello, L. (2009). Brand experience: What is it? How is it measured? Does it affect loyalty? Journal of Marketing, 73, 52-68.