The brand is one of the most important instruments of a company. If properly used, it can contribute to the mission and vision as well as to the companies values. Let’s think about IKEA: the male voice with Swedish dialect and the informal cheerful communication seems pleasant and uncomplicated. That is how we experience the brand IKEA. Create a brand experience for your company. It is the cornerstone of all customer relationships.
What does Brand Experience mean?
Brand Experience is a marketing terminology, which describes the perception of a brand– internally and externally. The most important question is: How can a company leave a positive impact at every point of time and connect the consumer with the brand. May it be through posters, newsletters or magazine articles – Every point of contact with the brand impacts the brand experience.
The companies USP has to be decided in the first place to create a positive brand experience. Only through innovations in the industry a company can face its competitors successfully.
A brand experience is based on the following questions:
- Who do we want to be as a company?
- How do we want look?
- How do we want speak?
- Is there a need for us to communicate in a renewed and different manner?
All the fields of the company are impacted by the brand experience. All stakeholders and employees have to identify themselves with the brand internally. It involves mainly synchronizing the internal and external communication. What is felt inside can also be experienced externally. On this way authenticity gets established.
The following aspects are the result of a successful Brand Experience:
- The brand stands out from its competitors.
- The company can be straightforwardly contacted by its customers and partners through various channels.
- All interactions with the company are perceived positively.
- A strong company image is established.
- Important topics such as sustainability or a good work-life-balance of the employees are communicated to the outside world.
The experiences, you are offering to the customers with every single interaction, become the actual brand in the customers minds. You build a stable brand loyalty and strengthen your customer relationships with simple, surprising and especially with convincing experiences.
Digitization & Co.: Why is a Brand Experience necessary?
The world is changing continuously with the increase of digitization and not only customers but also employees are raising new expectations on the company.
Brand Experience bags new customers
Let us take an example of Ben Starter, who wants to change his energy supplier. Previously he would have called or made an appointment with his dream energy supplier to receive an electricity contract. He would have filled it manually and returned the same to the supplier via post.
Nowadays Ben Starter has totally different expectations of the change. He takes his smartphone and the estimated costs offered by various providers can be determined in a comparison portal. Since he does not want to specify his exact electricity consumption, he uses an alternative: He states that he lives alone, based on which the consumption is anticipated.
Besides the online calculator, Ben Starter expects that he can make changes on the webpage of the selected provider directly and rapidly. He does not want to print anything, or call anybody and send any emails, instead, he expects the possibility to directly enter his data into the website and arrange his changes with a few clicks.
Brand Experience retains existing customers
Existing customers also expect a brand experience, which simplifies the interactions with the company. Hanna Kermann, as an example, is already a loyal customer for five years. She now wants to report her meter reading and look at her consumption. She logs in a self-service-portal using her smartphone, enters the meter reading and receives a detailed overview about her consumption within a few clicks.
Her expectation of a rapid and uncomplicated interaction with the electricity supplier is fulfilled entirely, because the process takes only a few minutes of her time and is completed immediately. All interactions must be fundamentally simplified for a positive brand experience so that the requirements from the new customers as well from the existing customers are fulfilled. The one who develops a brand, always has to think from an interaction point of view. Only in this way the expectations of consumers can be fulfilled in our digital world. In the best case brands manage to surpass the expectations of their customers.
Brand Experience increases the employee satisfaction
Lets have a closer look on an employee such as Joachim Stöber. Mr. Stöber is working only for half a year for an electricity supplier, for whom he had mainly applied due to the innovative image. The topic closest to his heart is electric mobility and he is pleased that he can make further progress in this business field for his company.
The flexible working time is also important for Joachim Stöber, which are offered by the company. His flexitime account provides him with an opportunity to balance between his profession and his family. As a father of two daughters, he can pick up his younger daughter from the school. He perceives his employer as uncomplicated, modern and family-friendly.
A modern thesis regarding brand experience says: “Your culture is your brand”. The companies are now refocusing on the internal values and internal company structures as well instead of concentrating on the external perception only. When the employees like Joachim Stöber can identify with the brand and see the point of the work they do, the brand is then also experienced externally – in an honest and authentic manner.
How does the Brand Experience have an impact on the webpage?
Taking the example of our reference customer Stadtwerke Rostock, the importance of the implementation of a brand experience is clear. They had a web presence, which was already 15 years old and outdated in terms of design and usability. Electricity suppliers do not only have the task of providing electricity to their customers . They have to master new challenges such as business fields like electric mobility and sustainability.
For the brand experience, challenges mean that the perception of the company must be changed. Stadtwerke Rostock must be perceived as innovative, modern und environment friendly to stay competitive– and not only from the customers and partners, but also internally from the employees.
A successful brand experience requires today a website, which is easy to use, mobile aswell. Demanding customers such as Ben Starter and Hanna Kermann expect to execute all the functions easily using their smartphone. The mobile usage has already taken over the desktop usage. Mobile optimization must have highest priority for a positive brand experience.
Roadmaps: create a positive Brand Experience
Brand Experience has something more up the sleeves: Ben Starter wants to enter all the information rapidly and would appreciate facilities like the online-calculator, which will provide him the information easily. In order to offer the same to the consumers who are looking, the company must be able to understand the user navigation on the webpage in detail.
Which search intentions are driving the users on the webpage? Which pages are triggered there and how can the company simplify the process for an optimized brand experience? Stadtwerke Rostock has developed various roadmaps. One of them describes the way of Mr. Lahr from the search request in Google up to the confirmation of the electricity contract conclusion.
At this point, the important designing points are already taken into consideration. How can the texts and images be used, to simplify the application as much as possible with Stadtwerke Rostock for Ben Starter?
7 Tips: Following is the formula for the successful implementation of the Brand Experience on the webpage
- Analyze: Find out about the challenges your brand is facing.
- Find objectives: Determine the objectives mutually with various stakeholders in workshops.
- Information Architecture: Create wire frames and derive modules from them, which can be used on the various pages.
- Visual appearance: Define standards for colors, fonts, buttons, forms, images and photos.
- Content & editing guide: Make these guidelines binding for all editors in writing. Thus, a high quality and easily perceivable content can be ensured.
- Search engine optimization: Carry out a competition analysis and state the guidelines for the OnPage-Optimization.
- Tracking: Determine what you want to find out about the page visitor, to be able to measure the target achievement and to plan continuously further optimizations to the page structure and the content.
360° strategy: You should master these challenges
The webpage is only one element of the brand experience. Develop a 360° strategy, how your brand can be experienced additionally in all fields.
Brand Experience – Facts at a glance
- demand fast and comfortable interactions
- would like to be able to see and customize the information all the time
- should be provided with helpful tools
- would like to develop the topic important to them
- would like to find a meaning in their work
- would like to maintain a good compatibility of profession and family
- expect a good work-life-balance
- must remain competitive and expand the new business fields
- require a positive perception from the customers, partners and employees
- should be able to understand the way of the customers to the products/ services
Outlook: Further develop the Brand Experience
Enthusiasm is the essential thing for a strong brand experience. Companies need the enthusiasm not only for their customers, but also for every individual employee. The one, who can stir the enthusiasm with its brand, will sustain prospectively in our modern corporate world.
The key to the enthusiasm consists of comfortably simple and timely communication paths, useful business fields and a high presence. Especially important is a sustainable further development of the brand to be updated to the new developments of digitization and re-manifest the changing importance of topics from customers as well as emloyees.