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Brand experience - standing out among the competition

18/08/2022 2022/08

There you are now in front of the display of various headphones and should decide. Wireless, in-ear or classic headphones, with noise cancelling, suitable for sports, clear or bass-heavy sound experience, do I like the design and not to forget, where is the price point. There are many criteria that can be decisive for the choice of headphones. The image that consumers have of a brand is often as complex as the technology itself. Not only memories, but also associations are summarized under the term brand experience.

What is the brand experience and why is it so important?

First and foremost, the brand experience is the brand perception, i.e. how consumers assess a brand. This perception can be influenced by experiences, such as that this particular brand was always bought in childhood, or by reviews from other buyers. Thus, a consumer is not only influenced by personal experiences, but also by external influences. In addition to this, however, the Customer Journey as well as the Buyer Experience Cycle also influence the Brand Experience. While the Customer Journey describes how a potential customer can be won over, the Buyer Experience Cycle describes how a customer perceives the product from purchase to disposal.

Both processes have an influence on how positively or negatively a brand is assessed or remembered. In times when consumers can inform themselves better than ever before, the relevance of brand perception increases. Especially in highly competitive industries, where there are many suppliers with similar products, a differentiation strategy is needed to win over buyers. In addition to making it easier to obtain information, the social media factor and its impact on a company's reputation and thus their brands should not be underestimated.

A company that can score points online through a well-thought-out marketing strategy is shared more frequently and thus also reaches more new customers. At the same time, bad news spreads just as quickly and can escalate into an image-damaging "shitstorm." The external impact should therefore be closely monitored and controlled.

Achieve a positive association

For a positive brand perception, positive experiences or memories of a product are needed first. That is, whenever a consumer comes into contact with the product or service, it should be positive. This includes marketing, but also the appearance of the products online or in the store. In the same way, the features of a product or service are crucial. Do you offer something special like a 100-day return guarantee or an extra long warranty? Is your product certified or can you boast that your product has been around for an especially long time and thus enjoys greater trust, among other things?

Likewise, the design can be crucial for a positive association, both noble materials and sustainability have a positive effect on the perception. In all of this, it's important not to neglect what your brand's message is in the first place. For example, a central point of your identity can be responsibility for the environment, with the help of proportional donations to aid organizations and recycled packaging.

You may have won an award or be able to shine by offering a price advantage. However, differentiation does not end with the product alone, but is also influenced by the service that follows the purchase. A well-developed service system that listens to customers and ensures their satisfaction is essential for a positive perception. Poor customer service can diminish the value of a product, no matter how good it is, while good customer service can compensate for potential problems with the product. In all of this, care should be taken to ensure that these benefits and values are also communicated. A corresponding strategy should be developed to evoke this. In this way, a uniform image of the brand is created, rather than an iridescent one. 

Designing a brand experience requires, among other things:

  • a well thought-out Internet presence
  • Social media presence
  • Trade shows
  • flyers
  • Events
  • Corporate clothing
  • Advertising

In addition to these resources, employees are also crucial because they also contribute to a positive image. If you hear over and over again how bad a company is as an employer by exploiting its employees, this has a negative impact on the brand experience. For example, the term "McJobs" derived from jobs at McDonalds is still recorded in the Oxford Dictionary and refers to a low-wage job with poor working conditions. This neologism due to the working conditions at McDonalds damaged the company's image immensely, so a lot of time and money had to be invested to compensate for this.

Consequences of a positive brand experience

With the help of a clear differentiation thanks to the brand experience, first of all the brand and its products remain longer in the memory of the consumers. This has an enormous advantage for future purchases, for example, the decision-making process is accelerated. Most people still decide on the basis of habit for a product that they already know and above all have a positive association to. This even results in price inelasticity in certain areas, i.e. a purchase despite higher prices. For example, L'Oréal's slogan "Because we are worth it" provides an explanation as to why customers should buy the comparatively more expensive L'Oréal products. They represent an appreciation of oneself. This, combined with high-quality design and packaging, as well as representation by well-known and popular celebrities, creates the perception of a high-quality brand whose prices are justified.

Likewise, certain colors can remain in the memory or a certain smell, which create a recognition value. An eye-catching design or a patented color allows customers to recognize the products of a brand even from a distance. Among other things it could be found out that it needs partially only the outlines and/or a certain color, in order for our brain to form the connection to a mark. Ultimately, a positive image of the brand not only has an impact on the sale of the products themselves, but also on the company's reputation as an employer.

A positive image also increases the desire among employees to work for precisely this company. As mentioned above, several negative examples can be cited at this point. However, it is crucial that the brand experience plays a role in employer branding. A positive brand perception can be decisive in the long term for whether or not you get enough applicants. Especially since the change from employer to employee market puts companies in a position where they have to compete for workers.

 

Sources: Uni Bremen | onlinesolutionsgroup.de | markusgull.com | feeddough.com

About the Author
Maria Kießling
Working Student Marketing

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