What defines your own brand experience?
A few business owners whom I spoke to shared about their business passionately, on how they spent a substantial budget to ramp up their marketing effort, did a revamp on their logo, stationery (i.e. letterhead, business cards) and website. Some even went the extra mile by renovating their office to suit their new marketing collaterals.
A lot of buzz was being generated during the rebranding process, so much so that when it was completed, sales went up on average by about 20-35% – quite a decent ROI. People were curious to know what the change is about and willing to purchase and try out the product. After a few months of hype, business owners started to feel the sense of reality slowly creeping in. Sales started going on a downward trend, repeat customers were getting few and far between, and it is affecting staff morale as well.
What exactly happened?
Now, apart from the aesthetic changes that the brand has gone through, how can you offer a more positive brand experience?
FROM THE CUSTOMER’S POINT
Often, we will see things from the company’s point of view. Now, let us take a look from the customers’ perspective. They might have seen the previous product, bought it, but did not have a positive experience with it. Chances of them returning to purchase it again are slim. Now that the brand has gone through a change, some of them may be willing to give the product a second chance. If the purchase and ownership experience again offers no differentiation, the negative brand experience will etch deeper into the minds of the customers. It is as good as saying that you’ve lost them forever.
We can categorise the customer brand experience to three broad categories:
This stage is usually where advertising and promotion is done to attract customers to your store. Is the message you’re trying to convey in line with your marketing and company’s objective? Did you educate your customers well enough for them to make the effort to visit your store? If the customers require more information, did you provide them with a website link so that they can be better informed of your products, and make a justifiable comparison with your competitors? Alternatively, you can also set up a hotline number to respond to queries.
At this stage, your potential customers have seen your advertisement, done their own research and determined that it is worthwhile to pay your store a visit. How will your store greet them? Research has shown that store ambience and background music will play a part in the customer’s purchasing decision process. The lightings must be bright enough to showcase your products properly, while ambient lightings should provide a comfortable environment to put your shoppers at ease. Soothing music will also provide a form of relaxation and may encourage them to stay at your store longer. Signages and product specifications must be clearly displayed so that shoppers can navigate through your store easily and gain a deeper understanding about your products.
Congratulations! Your potential customers have made the purchase from you and leave your store happily. But wait – this is not the end of the brand experience. In fact, this is just the beginning. At this stage, customers will be interacting with the product they’ve just purchased from your store. Are they satisfied with it? If they are not, are there any ways they can seek assistance? You can consider the following after-sales services:
- Hassle-free Return/Refund
- Customer Service Hotline or Online Support Forum
- FAQ to be shown on the website
- Thank you email/letter to customers for purchasing your product
The last stage is the most crucial as this will determine whether you can retain your customer successfully.
As you can see, developing a positive brand experience is not just about revamping or redesigning your logo and stationery. In fact, the entire brand experience should wrap around a customer – how you engage them successfully – so that he or she can make a well-informed decision to purchase your product, is satisfied with it, and eventually return to make a repeated purchase.
A last piece of advice – Remember, you do not consider a customer as your customer unless he or she has made a second purchase from you.