Having a business that stands out and creates loyal customers is harder today than it once was. Where decades ago you may have found one or two coffee shops per town centre, today there are likely a handful or more all competing for custom. Which is why ‘brand experience’ is so important these days to your overall business success.
Choosing where we spend our cash is no longer limited to the product or service itself. People want and expect a grand customer experience and are prepared to shout about it on social media and in reviews when they get it.
This is reflected in the stats – 89% of businesses now focus on delivering an excellent customer experience as opposed to a measly 36% back in 2010. Even well established coffee brands are racing to compete - because while their name got them far before, with so many newly emerging brands selling products/services that rival their own, it’s the artisanal experience that can make the difference now.
But what is ‘brand experience’?
Put simply, brand experience is your customer’s response (their feelings and behaviour) to everything that exists around your brand, including packaging, your communications, your customer service, social media, and your identity. Here’s why it matters…
Brand experience helps people to differentiate between comparable brands
With fierce competition out there, it’s vital to stand out – and that means offering something that lasts longer than the time it takes to make the purchase itself. That’s where brand experience comes in. It’s bigger than just the product.
For example: Two coffee shops deliver great-tasting coffee - but one speaks to a desire to be sustainable and ethically conscious as well, while the other is known for little else. The ethical brand will attract a niche audience, on top of those who already appreciate the amazing cup of Joe they serve, because they become known for offering something over and above cracking coffee.
Customers want to feel good when purchasing
Consumers pay attention to more than what you sell. They respond to how they feel when doing business with you. If the experience leaves them feeling good - special even - then you’ve earnt yourself some brownie points and they’re likely to return.
Remember to make sure both your bricks and mortar and online experiences work for your customer, so you win favour.
Simple things can make a huge difference to people’s perception of your brand. Think offers, discounts and loyalty cards to help people feel appreciated, fantastic customer service, great communication and even reduced order processing time. Finding ways you can connect and give back to your local community can also help consumers confirm their decision to choose you over your competitors. Remember that what consumers want will vary so take the time to understand yours specifically so you can take the right steps to identifying a better customer experience for them.
People buy experiences
Ultimately, people are looking to buy experiences - a feeling - even an identity. Businesses that stand the test of time and outperform competitors offer more than just a purchase, they evoke a feeling, which will vary depending on the business. A Rolex customer may be looking to buy status and superiority that comes with owning a watch of that calibre, while the socially-minded local coffee shop customer may be looking for the feel good factor of helping an independent business have a positive impact on the planet.
Understanding what your customers are looking for, and what they want to feel when doing business with you will help you to set your brand up for success and ultimately increase your chances of bringing in those loyal, raving fans who choose you over your competitors time and time again.
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