“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,” stated Maya Angelou, “but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This statement is more relevant in branding today than ever before. The secret is to surprise and delight consumers, giving them more than they expected. Brands have an opportunity to build strong and lasting relationships with their customers by creating experiences that are relevant, intimate, and memorable.
In today’s society, the customer is in control. They have so much choice, so competition for their business is rife. Modern shoppers are fickle, impatient, and incredibly savvy. They are now seeking out experiences that make them happy and assist with their well-being rather than simply making a transaction. They also want a personalised experience, one that will engage and connect them to the brand. And as they have access to buy from whomever, whenever – they are the ones calling the shots. This is where customer experience becomes essential.
1. Understand your personality
Building a brand with personality is the easiest way to differentiate your brand and subconsciously connect with your audience. If your brand has personality, it makes it so much easier to create a customer experience that is memorable and something that everyone in the company can understand, identify and replicate.
2. Know your market
Understanding your market is critical in creating a brand experience that will speak directly to them. Most businesses have a few audiences so knowing your products intimately and who will buy them, will help you understand what kind of experience you want to create. Look at who buys from you now, how often, and is it for them or for someone else? How can you make them remember your brand, engage them further and turn them into loyal clients? Do you have a loyalty program or a mailing list to give them exclusive offers or VIP shopping experiences? There are so many options at our disposal.
3. Use the senses
Tapping into the five senses allows you to create a physically, emotionally and sensually connected experience. Brands that play music, burn candles or scents, have taste tests, are visually appealing or allow the customer the opportunity to touch and feel the products, are able entice their customers to linger longer and spend more money.
4. Emotional connection
Brands need to create a meaningful and emotional connection to the customer. Social enterprise brand ThankYou has built an entire business on the fact that 100% of their profits go toward water projects in developing areas. People can buy bottled water consciously knowing that part of their money goes directly to helping those less fortunate.
Personalisation is becoming one of the most popular ways to create a memorable customer experience. Just look at how Coca-Cola reversed a decade-long sales decline by printing names on cans. They increased awareness, engagement and sales with their “Share a Coke” campaign.
6. Create happiness
The simple act of purchasing can make us happy. There’s even a name for this – retail therapy. The challenge for brands is to heighten this sense of happiness. Why is it that most people that buy Apple products keep the boxes while other brand packaging gets thrown out? The joy of “unboxing” has become synonymous with Apple who has figured out that their packaging is a way of extending the happiness far beyond the walls of their stores.
Spending time infusing your brand values into your customer experience will go a long way in cement brand loyalty with your perfect customer.
Debbie O’Connor, Founder and Creative Director, WRD, and CEO, The Creative Fringe