Why Brand Experience Matters Now More Than Ever

In the world of marketing, it’s the non-stop pace of change that motivates, inspires, and scares us all simultaneously. There are few fields where this is so clearly demonstrated, as in the world of brand experience, particularly as the line between physical and digital starts to blur and we enter a new ‘phygital’ era.

On the menu for today:

We’ll also provide a quick checklist designed to help you get the most from your work going forward.

So let’s kick off with a few basics:

What exactly is brand experience?

As you’ll hopefully already know, at Quantum, we care about one thing: changing behaviours – and we happen to think brand experience is the best way to do this.

At Quantum, we define brand experience as:

“The sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioural responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, communications, and environments.”

That’s a great starting point, but we need to take this further when it comes to practical application.

Why is a brand experience so important?

It’s often said that you can’t make anyone do something they don’t want to, so if we’re to make a real difference in the way our audiences behave, it’s not enough just to talk at them; we need to make them think, make them FEEL something.

Brand experience gives us the ability to create tangible memories, which live in the mind of our audience, forging a meaningful relationship with a brand.

You’ll already know that the much-talked-about Millennial and Gen-Z audiences value experiences more than things. But it’s not quite that simple anymore. Experience for experience’s sake is no longer enough; it’s quality, meaning, and the people that you share an experience with that truly matters.

Today’s audiences understand the term brand experience, but equally, they are selective and cynical; they can spot and evaluate a well-crafted marketing message from a mile away, and now they need more.

Brand experience delivered correctly can overcome today’s media-savvy audience. It enables brands to act with authenticity, to be transparent, to be personal, human and stimulate the senses.

Make Memories that last

All audiences expect more from the brands they engage with, and the power to create lasting memories using multi-sensory stimulation helps brand experience succeed where other mediums fall short.

One of the most valuable elements to creating a brand experience in a real-world space is that when you link memory to more than one of the senses, you increase the strength of that memory.

The Science bit

This all ties into how our brains work. Experiences that incorporate multi-sensorial stimulation (visual, tactile, and audible stimulation), allow us to speak to both sides of the brain, our rational cerebral cortex, and our emotional limbic system.

It’s this emotional engagement that, when used correctly, can inspire and generate love, and from there, influence perceptions, feelings and behaviours.

Where do we start?

Most experiences occur when consumers shop, buy and consume products, so this is where we will focus.

We begin by forming a clear understanding of the challenge we face or the behaviour change we wish to inspire.

We then drill into the consumer reactions that create the experiences, sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioural responses that we wish to evoke.

Then we break this down into the specific sensory, intellectual, behavioural, or social content of the experience.

Think Phygital

The phrase ‘phygital’ refers to the combination of physical and digital worlds for an experience full of immediacy, immersion and interaction.

We talk a lot about a phygital approach. This is a whole topic in itself, one we actually ran a webinar on a little while back.

The highlights are that an integrated digital approach allows us to increase engagement, reach, and scope in ways that we only dreamed about a few years ago.

We are in an era where the digital and physical worlds are becoming increasingly seamless. For the brand experience to work, it’s essential to apply an integrated approach to any activation.

The advent of phygital brand experiences means that audiences are more accessible, and there are more opportunities for influence. Still, with this new world, the price of engagement, advocacy and endorsement is far higher than ever before.

As technology has developed, we continue to find new and exciting ways to put the consumer at the centre of the experience and to make that experience more personal and targeted.

From AR and VR technology to interactive apps and digital check-ins, it’s now possible to create profoundly personalised and customised interactive brand experiences.

Using these new tools allows our audiences to take control and become the curator of their own experience. This allows our guests to tell their own stories.

Your checklist

  1. Start with empathy: Think about what you are doing for your audience, not what they are doing for you. For example, how are you adding to and enriching their lives, or what problem you are helping to solve?
  2. Think beyond experience for experience’s sake: Time is the most valuable commodity; how we spend it matters.
  3. Know which levers to pull: Focus on the sensory and emotional stimulus. Be clear about the responses you wish to trigger.
  4. Engage all the senses: Think about all the senses that you can engage – this is how we create lasting memories.
  5. Think ‘phygital’: There are no walls. If you’re not fully integrated, you’re missing a trick.
  6. The devil’s in the detail: People do notice the subtle details, particularly when it comes to what they touch, feel, see and taste.

What does the future hold?

As new tech is developed, the field of brand experience will be going from strength to strength. Innovative digital engagement needs to be baked into the experience. This isn’t linear – think multi-dimensional. New technologies will continue to connect us and enhance our lives.

We will see continually increasing speeds with 5G integration, allowing for more seamless, immersive environments.

Experiences will be served in a more instant, immediate, and on-demand schedule, any time, anywhere.

New niche platforms will connect like-minded people like never before.

A little stimulation

As an agency, it’s our role to inspire you, and we don’t just talk the talk. So to see how we have brought brands to life and created some fantastic experiences, why not have a look at our recent work.

Want to create a brand experience that inspires your consumers and creates lasting memories? Why not drop us a line, and we’ll have a chat.

And remember… People forget what you tell them, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.