We all know of brands that evoke strong feelings and fond associations, such as a special treat from childhood (Nutella, anybody???) or Apple’s latest release (Apple watch???). These positive brand experiences are what keep us coming back and wanting more. Like Coca Cola’s secret recipe, it is a magical formula that companies try to achieve. According to statistics from Havas Media, “only 20% of brands worldwide make a significant, positive effect on people’s well-being. Most people worldwide would not care if more than 73% of brands disappeared.” It’s easy to see how cultivating a unique and meaningful brand experience is a large and necessary order.
There are seemingly infinite factors to take into account when creating a unique brand experience. Not one thing defines the way a brand is received by consumers. But, every element of a brand experience should move together in a well choreographed dance that excites and delights. Today, consumers are more volatile and mobile than ever before. With a plethora of online and offline offers, 24/7/365 connectivity, consumers are in control on how and where they want to engage with brands. 64% of American adults now own a smartphone. According to a recent report from Dunnhumby, 17% of North American consumers use their mobile to buy goods and services (42% in Asia Pacific and 24% in Europe). The trend is growing at a massive pace. Developing a unique experience is a key differentiator for brands to engage with their consumers. What’s more important for brands is to follow consumers wherever they go and engage them in the context of time and location. Content is king, context is god. People now use powerful mini-computers in their hands to pretty much do anything (read, listen to music, watch movies, communicate, shop…). This means they can be reached anytime anywhere. Companies must think of mobile devices as two-way communication platforms, where they can engage with their consumers in a instant and genuine conversation. I’m not talking just about sending push notifications about your latest sales, but about creating an ongoing and personalized experience. Many start-ups use an agile model to develop and test products in an ultra-competitive market to get instant feedback from the market, and make enhancements on the fly to their products. This agility must also be used with how brands interact with their consumers. Companies like Apple, y!kes and others have developed devices (beacons) that locate where consumers are in a defined perimeter to allow businesses to communicate with their consumers in context of time and location. Based on geo-location and proximity awareness, brands can now create content that is specific to each individual at a given time and place, and alter this content as consumers move along. Mobility and agility meet content and context. Disney launched its magical wristband, making their Disney park experience frictionless to their customers. A company like Geofeedia offers a location-based social media monitoring platform which helps organizations join the social conversation in real-time at locations of interest around the world. Today’s technology has redefined the way brands can interact with their consumers. Content and context are intertwined, and brands’ mobility and agility are key to provide a unique and ongoing experience. What’s your brand experience like?