How a Better Brand Experience Turns Consumers into Loyal Customers
Your brand experience is a multi-layered avenue that draws a connection between you and consumers — positively or negatively. It’s your personality, values, and attitude that fuels your brand’s perception out in the world. You can, and should, use the brand experience as a frontline tool to turning consumers into customers — and loyal ones. But how can you do that? Let’s first define brand experience.
Brand Experience vs. Customer Experience
These two terms may sound similar, but they are quite different and it’s important to know the distinction so you can point your optimization efforts in the right direction.
- • The brand experience caters to the consumer, before they are a customer, and drives your brand’s perception.
- • The customer experience helps to guide a customer throughout a transaction or an interaction with the brand.
Without a strong brand experience, there’s hardly an opportunity for a positive customer experience. As such, brands must think through how they treat the world of consumers before they even meet them.
How Do Consumers “Experience” a Brand?
Up to 83% of consumers admit paying just as much attention to how brands treat them as on the product they sell. And the same study, reported at Forbes, states that 73% are willing to pay more for a product — if they love the brand.
The most successful brands are those who are re-imagining every touch-point a consumer has with them. Make sure to pay attention to the ways through which consumers experience your brand:
- • Word-of-mouth
- • Social media
- • Reviews on various sites
- • Customer effort
- • Engagement and responsiveness
- • News coverage (positive or negative)
- • Offers and incentives
Here’s how you can optimize your brand experience to create relationships with customers that will last.
Adjust Your Brand’s Attitude/Personality
Brands that make an effort to understand what their customers are going through, especially in challenging times, can build a deeper connection to customers that can last well beyond the tough moments. Altering the brand’s existing personality to show customers the brand is listening and empathizing is meaningful and important.
How does your brand come off to new and old customers? Sometimes, it’s hard to know the answer to that question. Consistently measuring brand performance through Mystery Shopping, Customer Surveys and Social Media Monitoring will help you get those answers. It’s actually what we do (and have done for 31 years for some of the top global brands across various industries).
Moving forward, think deeply about your ideal customer — and then ask yourself, “What are they going through?” and “What are their preferences?” When you answer questions like that, you can keep your message and personality aligned. And with those preferences in mind, make sure that your brand is being:
- • Authentic
- • Trustworthy
- • Consistent
- • Empathetic
- • Relevant
- • Valuable
Make Your Brand Experience More Memorable
Consumers experience such a vast amount of communication and information constantly in modern society, and any way that your brand can stand out in the mind of your consumers can be essential to your brand’s retention rate.
To accomplish this your brand needs to provide a great service and be an experiential destination for your target customer segments. Ways to make sure you’re offering a memorable brand experience include:
- • Giving quick responses to inquiries (engagement)
- • Sending targeted, personalized emails
- • Offering a mobile communication option
- • Offering a variety of discounts
- • Providing expedited and/or free delivery/shipping
- • Careful packaging and product presentation
- • Offering a warranty
- • Offering a reasonable return policy
- • Making environmentally-friendly changes to packaging and shipping
- • Offering a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee
- • Following up with customers thoughtfully
- • Contributing to organizations that do good things for the world
Customers care about these things, and you should too.
Make Your Brand Experience More Meaningful
According to a Harvard Professor, 95% of purchasing decisions are driven by subconscious urges, the biggest of which is emotion. In this way, positive and negative experiences directly impact customer loyalty, repeat business, sales, brand perception and referrals.
And especially these days, customers have extremely high expectations, based on budget, time, safety, and convenience. Effectively communicating and servicing customers with these in mind is key as it relates to a memorable brand experience.
Essentially, it all starts with excellent customer service and making sure you have a knowledgeable staff that has the customer’s best interest in mind. Empower your staff members so they can instantly solve customer issues on the first call/contact — whether that means activating a refund or coupon on the spot — rather than having customers wait for their request to go up the chain at all.
Close the loop on customer contacts by making sure all efforts customers make to reach your brand via phone and online are returned, ideally with a note personalized to the topic or issue the customer mentions. This targeted interaction (whether online or in-person) helps your brand stand out amongst the rest.
Moral of the story? Go above and beyond for the person, not just the customer.
Ask Customers About Your Brand Experience & Grow Organically
Once a customer has purchased your product or used your service, the brand has an opportunity to grow organically without marketing spend. How? By reaching out to customers who have used your brand/products to learn from their experience. This can open new paths for brands to expand their reach and customer base.
Read more: Why Reporting Matters When Developing a CX Measurement Program
For example: does your brand provide a service to homeowners? Ask your customers if they have a service-sharing site online with their neighbors or HOA. If your service/costs are favorable to your customers, getting your brand listed on those sites can generate new customers for years, with $0 spent to market to them.
Ask, and you shall receive feedback.
Your Brand Experience will Lead to Loyalty
As you think through your brand experience, run through this priority checklist:
- • Am I making the customer feel special?
- • How can I customize our customer service?
- • Am I under-promising and over-delivering?
- • Are we consistently measuring brand performance?
This starting point will absolutely lead to longer-term customer relationships and loyalty. If you’re still not sure where to start, feel free to take our short Journey To Joy Quiz to get an idea of what you need to make your customers happy.