Worldwide companies can sometimes go wrong in understanding how brand value is created for the consumer. In other words, companies lack to understand value creation in branding at all. Instead of creating efficiency, effectiveness and experience, the most of companies have their good-for-nothing approaches without any insight that it is important to understand that experience is gaining in importance when it comes to creating value for customers and notion that brand image in the minds of consumers, not on shelves and other spectacle strategies. The very problem is with these companies that these companies have failed to illustrate the difference between what the consumers think that it might be quality and what quality is when it comes to products.
Let’s put this theory into motion and before the reader of this blog goes further it is important to understand that every product is an experience in its way. For example, think of products like a Nespresso, which has taken the art of coffee making into a whole new dimension. Nespresso is a coffee making machine. Which has been ritualized compared to the solutions that were there earlier?
Or you might think of any DIY brands where what they’ve done is that they’ve outsourced the whole production process. You’ve got unmake things to create a whole set of experiences, a whole ritual around making those things of your choice. Now imagine someone came to you, and said, you are doing all wrong, this is kind of cheating that you make people make their things and instead of giving them concession and comfort and for that, you are charging them, you would have probably laughed at vender. But it’s a very successful concept. Therefore, when it comes to products, there are experiences and everything that surrounds them, like, shopping for the products, using them, disposing of them, getting service, all of those are separate experiences which add up to an overall experience. Experience is an occurrence, an event, an episode. Something that happens to someone and that engages all of the person’s senses. Our senses are not just, sight, smell, touch, hearing. It’s also a perception of time. It is maybe how people relate to others, certain thought processes that might have. It’s how all of these add up together and these episodes, they leave impressions on people, sort of indelible impressions on the mind and that’s what really what the brand image is.
If one can think about how to build a brand image, well, it’s that combination of many, many different experiences. It’s not how we thought about brand building in the old days with a mass advertisement, where you had a big bang about your product or service. It’s much more about that collection of many, many different experiences. Many of them might seem rather mundane. Experiences when it comes to building the brand image, are also very, very powerful, and they also are a part of the self-definition. If companies build a brand with which customers identify, those tend to be the more powerful brands.
Let’s explain it with another example, some years ago, there was this movie called The Bucket List, and it was this movie about two patients with terminal cancer. They escaped the cancer ward and they create this bucket list which comes from the notion of you’re going to kick the bucket or die. And on this bucket list were all kinds of experiences. It was visiting the great pyramids, going to Paris, skydiving, all kinds of unusual things that people wanted to do. And that’s the focal point, it’s what we do rather than what we have in terms of possessions. When people look back upon their lives and when people think about what enriched them, it’s more the things they’ve done than the things that they have owned. There’s a lot of research that shows this, and many of you might have a bucket list too, and you might want to take a look at your bucket list. So, if the experience is so important in our lives, then the challenge is, well, how can we surround our brands with these experiences? How can we use experiences as a way to build our brand and maybe to prevent some of the not so good experiences from destroying our brand?
Now marketers tend to know this and some research shows that experiences are increasingly the way brands are trying to differentiate themselves and that other levers like product quality or price are increasingly less effective at differentiating the brand. Similarly, if one can think about, for example, why does the person want to stay with a company, what drives that person loyalty? It turns out that experiences, by far, are the biggest driver of loyalty and this is across different segments, in business-to-business or business-to-consumer. They’re less the reason you might join a new company. They’re still important. But of course, customers would not have experienced the brand before you’ve tried it. Thus, switching is not driven as much by the experience, but certainly leaving a brand. Customers switch brands because of bad experiences and if companies think about, they might want to ask their customers what were the things that delighted them about companies’ brand? What are the things that are memorable and positively stick with them?
What are the things that upset customers that made them switch brands, or consider switching? Companies should think about what kind of aspects those are and also think about who stands behind those aspects. They are very often people who stand behind those experiences. Not just products, but people. This gets into the realm of customer satisfaction and the way companies tend to think about satisfaction because satisfaction is actually when companies offering met their target expectations. Now customer delight or surprise is when companies exceeded those expectations and disappointment comes when they have failed to meet them. If companies think about that simple equation, that satisfaction is the difference between what customer expects and what customer experience, whatever that might be then thinking about the role traditional marketing plays in its communication to what degree does advertising build the experience versus the expectations? An obvious answer, it raises expectations. Companies should switch marketing, or brand-building, from focusing on building expectations, to building the experience because that’s a step change for the marketing function and the organization as a whole.