It's easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed with a lot of terms and phrases which are essential to a businesses success. It seems like every week there's a new "must do" for businesses and it can be very easy to miss important practices but in the midst off all of these is one which is genuinely crucial to a businesses survival and it's a term not many are even aware of. Brand Awareness.
A few things before we get stuck in.
There are another few popular "experiences" which you may be familiar with which are important to take note of before we speak about brand awareness.
- User Experience: Often abbreviated to UX, this is how you, as a user of a product or service, feel about every interaction you have with what’s in front of you in the moment you’re using it. Most commonly associated with website design.
- Consumer Experience: Sometimes called Customer Experience and both abbreviated to CX, this is the experience that your customer has when interacting and buying your product or service.
So, Brand Experience is...
With those two definitions out of the way, its time to define the topic of this article. The simplest way we thought of to describe it is as follows:
Brand Experience is the public's perception of a businesses brand, product and service as a whole, from the logo and website to the product and interactions with employees.
Brand experience takes UX and CX into consideration and much more. It's a detailed look at how everything that makes up a business impacts both the consumer / target market and the general public. The easiest thing to do is use an example.
Example: A Generic 5 star hotel chain.
For the purposes of this example we'll pretend there's a 5 star hotel chain called ACME Hotels. Replace this with the fanciest hotel chain that springs to your own mind.
So. ACME is a 5 star hotel chain. With the 5 star rating comes a certain element of expectation in how guests are treated. Guests will pay big bucks for the experience and expect their moneys worth. All of this is very obvious however it's not just the guests experience in the actual hotel that counts. Think of ACME's logo. It will appear on all marketing and advertising and will serve as a stamp of approval that represents the hotel chain and its 5 star service.
One would expect that the logo represent elegance, luxury, class, expense and exclusivity. When the public sees ACME's logo they will immediately associate it with the above terms. Branding done right - as you'd expect.
These principals apply to everything associated with the hotel. The website, marketing, advertising, food served, staff interactions, booking procedure, valet service, special offers - the list goes on and on.
It's only when there is a shortcoming in one of these areas that you see where Brand Experience can impact a business. As is often the case, when something is working well it's often easily overlooked and taken for granted but once there's an issue, the importance is blatantly obvious.
With all the money ACME will have spent in advertising, branding, website design, hotel and interior design, the last thing they need is for a guests stay be ruined by sub standard service. How about having fantastic service but a horrible booking procedure on the website. Everything not only has to work, but it has to work to the standards that the business expects to be met. This is where we make an important distinction and see where Brand Experience comes into play.
Brand Strategy is how a business will market themselves to their customers. Brand Experience is how the customers feel when they see or interact with the business. If all goes well, the experience should match up with the strategy. Often, strategies focus on marketing and branding but fail to take into account the obvious but less glamorous elements of a business - the customer service.
No matter how much money you pump into a new logo or website or fancy premises, nothing beats quality customer service and meaningful and genuine interactions and that's a lesson every business needs to take on board.