Digital technologies are enhancing and disrupting the brand experience across the spectrum – from how pizzas are ordered and delivered to how household appliances function. It is an emerging revolution that is causing lots of discussions, both positive and negative. In the midst of this revolution is the brand experience and how it too, will need to adapt to keep up with digital technologies.
For a while, it appeared that the digital revolution would only affect those industries centered around technology. But as technology improves and advances, it has infiltrated into industries that some thought would be protected. Professional services, such as law firms, are now beginning to test and use artificial intelligence in their work. The newest AI lawyer is named Ross. Banking is being heavily disrupted with the rise of mobile apps and banks no longer needing physical locations to succeed.
One segment of the fast-food market that has rapidly adapted with new technologies is pizza. Pizza Hut restaurants across Asia are deploying a robotic waiter, Pepper. The robotic waiter can take orders, accept digital payments, can make small talk with customers, and give food recommendations.
Domino’s Pizza allows customers to place an order with a tweet, track their orders in real-time, and get notification when their order is sent out for delivery.
The brand experience for the customer changes quite dramatically. As a consumer, the brand experience is enhanced through added layers of information. Transparency into the process for the consumer builds trust and shows the steps along the way.
For the brand, transparency into the process holds them accountable to their brand promise. If the brand cannot consistently deliver on the brand promise, their consumers will let them know about it.
Transparency Leads to Brand Intimacy
Before the rise of technology, private businesses were less likely to divulge their process to the public or their consumers. Now, if a brand is not being upfront in the customer journey, it can feel like mistrust.
MBLM recently put out their report on brand intimacy. What I found extremely interesting was their analysis into brand intimacy. They write:
Fusing is the highest stage of intimacy, when a consumer and a brand become inexorably linked and co-identified. In this stage, the identities of the consumer and the brand begin to merge and become a form of mutual realization and expression. Why does this matter? Our research has revealed that the higher the percentage of fusing customers a brand has, the greater propensity consumers have to pay more for its products. In addition, intimate brands endure and outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indexes in profit and revenue over ten years.
Brands adapting technology to provide better customer service and an exceptional brand experience are fusing with their ideal customers. To think that a brand can merge with its ideal customer and create a relationship bond so interwoven is incredible. It is the ultimate BrandedWorld.
When you think of a brand like Starbucks, you can see how their ideal customer is fusing with the brand. Starbucks has a close relationship with their customers, seeing them once a day in their stores, if not more, interacting with them via social channels, and updating them about specials and their balance through the mobile app. Consumers who are all in on Starbucks appreciate this communication and welcome it as part of their daily lives.
How Can you Take Advantage of Technology to Deliver an Exceptional Brand Experience?
The question that keeps coming up is the fact that technology companies can create these experiences, but how can non-technology brands compete? In order to compete, non-tech brands must start utilizing software off the shelf that can be customized to fit their needs. There is no excuse why any company cannot utilize technology to create a stronger bond between their brand and their ideal customers. Here are a few simple ways to take action:
- Utilize Social Media with a Clear Intent – everyone says to get on social. So your brand has a few profiles. But what is the purpose of your brand on those channels? What are you working to accomplish with each channel? SM can be a first step towards enhancing the brand experience you deliver.
- Think about the platforms that your brand currently has (corporate office, retail stores, websites, apps, live events, podcasts, email newsletters) – these platforms are all touchpoints into your ecosystem or BrandedWorld. What are each of those experiences like for the customer? Do the platforms enhance one another? Are they fragmented? Working out the kinks so that a customer going from platform to platform or channel to platform is smooth is another building block in creating an unshakable brand and an exceptional brand experience. Need help? Check out our services.
- Make your Customer Journey More Transparent – brands and organizations may believe they are communicating very well to their clients. However, when you interview the clients, the feedback is often the exact opposite. Getting clear on the customer journey with your clients – and making that a transparent process that the entire company adapts – can be enough of a spark to elevate your brand. You’ll gain more brand trust, both parties will understand where they are in the process and what’s next, and is a constant the client can depend on.
Brand experience is continuing to shift and will play a larger role in how clients and customers interact with and trust brands. If your brand experience is misaligned and delivering inconsistently, your brand will lose trust quickly. The more transparent your brand can become, using technology as leverage, there is an opportunity to merge with your ideal and best customers, creating a synergistic bond and a lasting relationship.
What are your thoughts on how technology is disrupting and influencing brand experiences across industries? Leave a comment and let me know.
Also published on Medium.