Brand experience is everything that connects you with your customers
A common misconception around ‘brand experience’ is that it’s seen as purely a one-off event: a pop-up, launch party or festival marking a moment worthy of celebration. It’s understandable – for a while, that’s all the term meant. To make things more confusing, these sorts of events are often referred to as ‘experiential marketing’ - a marketing strategy that uses tangible experiences to directly engage people. As a result, it’s understandable why some might think ‘experiences’ need to be an attention-grabbing, photo-worthy yet fleeting moment in time.
But brand experience is not just one big, isolated moment. At D&P, brand experience is everything that connects you with your customers. We see it as an ecosystem. Brand experience as a whole is made up of a series of collective interactions, both big and small, and is greater than the sum of its parts. From brand positioning, identity and storytelling to digital platforms, services and spaces, every component matters. Today, being able to deliver great experiences is vital for brands to attract and retain customers.
We believe the brand experience ecosystem is made up of six pillars: Purpose, Personality, People, Place, Process and Product. The most engaging brands deliver on all six. These are the brands that customers want to spend their time with, and money on. They’re the brands that thrive in the new economy.
Here’s how we consider each pillar when creating an engaging brand for our clients.
Build a visionary brand experience on a meaningful purpose. Consumers are becoming less interested in product selection and price, with traditional advertising losing its effectiveness. They’re looking at what brands stand for, seeking those that share their values. Brands also need to understand the role they play in people’s lives and the impact they can have.
Marie’s Baby Circle is a South Korean baby brand we helped to create. With low birth rates in the country, the majority of South Korean parents are first-timers seeking knowledge and reassurance. We were clear in the role our new brand needed to have in the customer's life and built our experience around this singular thought, a circle of trust for the novice parent. Everything from the choice of name to the store environment ensures the brand feels inclusive and supportive. The product selection is curated to only include trusted items and conversational communications focus on what customers need to know and break down the jargon.
Stand out with a distinctive personality and engaging narrative. Being for everyone doesn’t mean being like everyone else; a brand with a clear personality will resonate more with its audience. This personality should be present in everything the brand does - the way it looks, the way it talks to customers and the way it behaves.
Missguided is a brand with a bold personality that disrupted the fashion landscape when it first came on the scene, delivering the latest trends with speed and talking to customers in the language they speak. When Missguided planned to make its physical retail debut, we made sure to bring its fearless, fun, expressive, born-on-the-internet personality to life, giving its fans an experience made for them IRL (in-real-life).
Rethink the role of your people and do what the internet can’t do. As technology becomes more pervasive, 75% of customers say they want more human interaction, not less. Staff are also a huge part of brand experience - they represent the brand in every interaction they have with customers.
Google’s Digital Garage initiative aims to help people grow their careers by providing free digital skills courses. The courses are accessible online but Google also set up physical spaces in several cities around the UK to reach as many people as possible. For the Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham branches, we designed a welcoming environment that focused on face-to-face interactions, allowing staff to provide coaching through talks, workshops, or one-on-one conversations for more tailored support.
Create places that build communities and generate buzz. Expectations of retail are high. We live in an age of convenience where transactions must be instant and services must be intuitive. However, physical stores offer tangible spaces where people can be completely immersed in a brand’s world. They can be places that amaze or inspire people to connect with others.
Throughout our partnership with Primark, we’ve helped to design a number of stores that give people a reason to get off the sofa on a rainy Saturday afternoon to go shopping. They’re places to hang out, browse and have a good time. We’ve created awe-inspiring spaces that become local landmarks and icons in their own right. The Madrid flagship immerses shoppers in a theatrical experience where 11 interconnected transparent screens play content in a giant octagonal atrium. Believing every new store it opens should be better than the previous one, Primark’s thirst for constant reinvention and self-improvement is one of the reasons the fast-fashion giant is enjoying lasting success on the high street.
Design a process that puts the customer in control: pre, during and post-purchase. A brand with a process that’s too lengthy or confusing will just send customers to competitors that are more convenient and transparent. Brands with a superior customer experience also bring in 5.7x more revenue than their competitors.
Rockar is a brand that was created to give customers an easy and flexible alternative to buying and owning a car. We helped bring the brand to life through its identity and shopping channels. We created a showroom more in line with the way consumers shop today, allowing customers to browse, book test-drives and even buy on intuitive screens with or without the help of staff. Transparent pricing is displayed in-store and online, making sure customers have the most up-to-date information and always feel in control.
Create new ways to define, sell or curate products and services that resonate with new and existing customers. People aren’t going to spend time or money with a brand that delivers mediocre experiences. Brands need to make sure what they give customers is relevant and engaging.
Our store concept for O2 reimagined the nature of phone stores, inviting anyone - regardless of whether they were O2 customers - to enjoy the space in a way that suits them. Visitors can work remotely at the large community table, hear about the latest local music events or take a workshop with an O2 guru. We attracted new customers and helped the brand in its mission to be famous for its service.
Stunts, messages and short-lived ideas won’t build an engaging and successful brand for the long term; it takes a more holistic approach, especially in this new era of experience. Our 6Ps framework is a simple way to create a lasting buzz. If you’d like to talk about your brand experience, get in touch.
By facing up to some hard industry truths and focussing on uncovering and communicating authentic USPs to audiences, we believe beauty brands will be able to connect in deeper, more meaningful ways.
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