Simon Pugh, head of strategy and communications planning at PHD West, recently wrote an article in Adweek about instant gratification and what that means for brands winning over consumers. I see the brand experience evolving to allow instant gratification for the consumers. Like Pugh states in his article, the brand’s that are able to offer immediacy, personalization, authenticity, and accessibility will win out. Let’s dive in.
As new technologies sweep across the landscape, infiltrating and disrupting every industry, strong human impulses are beginning to unfold into one of three categories: complete acceptance, neutral but weary, or fear of the technological unknown.
For the consumer, the advance in artificial intelligence technology and software allows more to get done in less time, less steps, and less worry. From the employee perspective, it can be hard to see what lies ahead as it is projected that by the year 2021, robots will have eliminated 6% of all jobs in the US, starting with customer service representatives and eventually truck and taxi drivers, according to market research company Forrester. And for brands, it is a matter of developing deep, interactive relationships that cater to the immediate needs of their customers, while keeping them within their BrandedWorld.
Pugh clearly states in his article the new challenge that all brands, regardless of industry are going to be faced with in the coming decades:
“We are quickly moving toward a reality in which everything happens in real time. From communication to coordination to purchase, brands will need to react with the pace of the consumer (think “right time, right message, right place” amplified). The point of engagement and the point of transaction are converging, meaning brands that can offer immediacy, personalization, authenticity, and accessibility will win out.”
Brands Should Focus on the Experience They Provide
The last point Pugh writes is completely spot on. How brands develop a strategy around the convergence between engagement and transaction is through thoughtfully designed experiences. The brand experience is the culmination of systems, processes, and technology working together to provide a seamless, personalized and authentic experience for the customer.
The BMW Brand Experience
The experience your brand provides should offer immediacy, personalization, authenticity, and accessibility. The BMW brand experience does this exceptionally well. I’ve had the pleasure of owning and leasing three BMW’s over the years and each experience of choosing and customizing the vehicle has been more fun than the last.
BMW is intentional about the experience that they provide their clients. From the moment you step into the showroom, they are subtly guiding you towards a singular goal: leaving the showroom in the ultimate driving machine. From touring the showroom floor to see the newest models up-close, to test driving, to sitting down with a representative to custom design your personalized, custom-built BMW in Germany, the brand hits all four points Pugh has made.
BMW has been able to package their technology, processes, systems, and customer service into a measurable, scalable brand experience worldwide.
The Four Characteristics of a Winning Brand Experience
Immediacy – BMW creates experiences full of quick wins – such as being greeted and cared for as soon as you step foot in the showroom, having a variety of models to choose from on the spot, test-driving your ideal model minutes after walking into the showroom, and having access to a database of vehicles around the country in order to find the one best for you.
Personalization – A BMW is not just a functional vehicle – it is a statement to the world. Knowing this, BMW capitalizes on the opportunity for their clients to personalize the BMW model to their exact liking. There is nothing quite like going through the detail-oriented process of fully customizing a luxury sports car to your specifications, send the document off to the factory, and receive updates via an interactive website notifying you when you vehicle has been built and is available at the showroom.
Authenticity – BMW is an authentic brand that stands for quality, honesty, and integrity. They back their values and claims up with stellar customer service, full maintenance packages, and a track record that has built a large amount of brand trust.
Accessibility – BMW has developed a more transparent and seamless process for their clients. Whether it is custom building a dream car or discussing finance options, BMW has turned accessibility and transparency into a core strength, which speaks volumes to the value of the brand.
How Your Brand Can Embrace Instant Gratification
You offer an incredible set of products or services that improve the quality of your customer’s lives. The question to answer is, “how can I provide more value to better serve my client’s needs?“
In order to answer this question, you don’t need to start with expensive, cutting-edge technology. It may be that you have a website that has become known as a fantastic resource, but the site is not mobile responsive. In order to provide more value and to serve your clients better, the solution may be to update the site to become mobile responsive. The next step may involve developing an app that seamlessly integrates with your website’s membership area to enhance the experience for the end user.
Then, with those solutions in mind, ask yourself if they encompass the four characteristics of a winning brand experience. Do they allow for:
Know that in order to continually enhance the customer experience, you must commit to small changes to your brand’s infrastructure, platforms, products, and services over time. Eventually, artificial intelligence and augmented reality will become the new normal in addition to even more futuristic technology.