Organizations provide brand experiences on a daily basis. Most are not conscious to how the brand experience helps or hurts the customer’s perception and overall interaction with the brand. Organizations that have retail locations or specialty food and beverage stores have a more clearly designed experience.
Professionals in the service industry, targeting B2B markets, often have a less designed experience. They may understand the objective they are to arrive at, but how they get there may be different for each client interaction. By not having a defined process that the customer goes through, it is hard to stay consistent when dealing with objections or to work towards the result.
Online experiences are getting smoother and more fluid. Sharply designed customer experiences can allow the customer to switch between a mobile app, a website, and interact with a storefront, while never breaking the brand experience. Starbucks, which I’ve written about before, has one of the strongest brand experiences across platforms I have experienced.
You can go to the Starbucks website and feel immersed within the brand. When you login online, you can check your Starbucks Rewards status, which most people engage with on their mobile phones. The data syncs seamlessly across both platforms, leaving no gap in the brand experience. As you step foot into a Starbucks store, when you open the app, it starts to enhance your experience within the Starbucks environment. It shows you what song is playing, what food and drinks are available, the balance on your card, and how many more stars are needed to get a free food or drink item. The Starbucks app becomes a mobile dashboard to enhance your Starbucks store experience.
I recently came across an author I follow online. He was giving away the new book, only having customers pay for shipping. I jumped at the opportunity, as it is a subject I thoroughly enjoy learning about. I began reading the book and came across a call to action, telling me that there were worksheets and checklists available at a particular website, built to enhance the material in the book. This was similar to Starbucks’ strategy of integrating multiple platforms.
I visited the website and that is where the brand experience began to crumble right before my eyes. The website was clunky, not clear that it was an enhancement to the physical book I was reading. The navigation was confusing and, worse of all, I never did find the worksheets or checklists promised in the book.
I like the author. I like the author’s passion for their craft and the book. I am frustrated by the brand experience. I hope that the author will realize the breakdown and work to improve the experience for the reader.
The Concept is excellent. The Execution is Lacking
I have found that many organizations mean well when creating and developing customer experiences. Many do a great job on a particular type of experience. When the platforms get integrated, problems start to show up. These gaps are critical to catching so as not to lose customers.
4 Questions to ask in order to Improve the Brand Experience
How will your audience interact with your brand?
There are myriad ways that your organization can engage your ideal audience. We call these platforms. A platform could take the shape of:
- Mobile app
- Retail store
- Office conference room
- Meetup events or workshops/seminars
- Membership site
- Online courses
- Social media channels
- Private FaceBook groups
All of these platforms offer ways to interact, collect data, and provide a consistent brand experience. Once you have your audience engaging and interacting with your brand on one of these platforms, how do you engage and incentivize your audience to move to another platform? (i.e. from a social media channel to your blog to becoming a subscriber, to becoming a customer)
Define the full experience for each platform that your audience will engage with your organization.
Get clear on what each experience provides, how it looks and feels, what the user can do. Think about how each experience can “integrate” or “enhance” the other platforms.
Create bridges or ways for the platforms to connect and enhance one another.
Reflect on the Starbucks example. How can each platform integrate or enhance the experience? Delta Airlines has its movies and entertainment built into its mobile app. People interact with the mobile app to check status, check-in times, gates, and when they are on one of Delta’s aircraft, they use the app to relax and watch movies.
Ensure each platform is measurable.
Each platform, within itself, should be measurable and stand alone. While the platforms integrate with each other, there may be segments of the audience who prefer just to interact with one platform. For example, there are Starbucks fans who prefer to go in person to get their coffee instead of ordering ahead with the mobile app. Others prefer to use the gold card instead of their phone to pay for their coffee. These platforms are well defined and stand-alone, but can also be integrated and enhanced when used together.
Looking to Assess your Current Brand Experience?
We work closely with entrepreneurs and organizations to assess their current brand experiences, break down the process, and find ways to both enhance the customer experience while lowering operating costs. Contact us to discuss your project.
Over to You
How do you measure and ensure a consistent brand experience for your customers? What platforms do your audience interact and engage most with your brand? How do you then move your audience towards other platforms to continue enhancing the brand experience?