Brand experience innovation is anything a brand does in culture to bring its purpose to life.
It’s more important than ever for marketers. Consumers today are far more interested in what a brand does than what a brand says. They remember how brand experiences make them feel, and link those feelings to the brand.
Brand experience is how brands make a meaningful contribution to culture. Being innovative with brand experience allows brands to differentiate and deliver their purpose in a refreshing way that engages consumers.
Without brand experience innovation, new products or services can have limited impact, especially in mature markets where competitors can replicate quickly and people are already spoilt for choice.
We came up with 5 “must dos” which businesses should follow for successful brand experience innovation:
1. Brands must have 100% clarity on the brand purpose and character. Brand purpose is why you exist. Brand character is who you are as a brand – the values and beliefs that determine how you behave. Clarity here is a crucial foundation for any brand activity, and particularly for brand experience innovation. It provides direction on the type of experience that you want to create for your customers, and how to do it in a way that is unique to your brand.
2. Deeply understand your target consumer and the culture that surrounds them. Knowing what is important to them, the tensions that they experience, allows you to identify how your brand can make a valued contribution to that culture. Credibly resolving the tensions that exist means you can create valued brand experiences that build vibrancy into your brand in a meaningful way. The Color Run is a global phenomenon because it tapped into a cultural tension (we all know we should go for a run, but it’s so lonely and boring) and resolved it by injecting fun into a shared experience.
3. Creating a mission for your brand focuses your attention and effort on a specific goal. The most powerful brand experiences are focused on a single goal, avoiding over-complication and helping consumers to instantly understand the brand’s point of view. A mission is something your brand has a right to do, that will bring value to your consumer’s lives. It should be audacious and stretching, but also tangible and real. This mission creates coherence across every brand experience you create, ensuring that they all build towards bringing your purpose to life. The commitment that Always has made to building self-esteem among young women during puberty is a fantastic example of a brand on a mission.
4. Understand the key moments of truth along the customer journey, and build your brand experience to deliver at these moments. Every customer has a journey with your brand, both holistically and over time. Bringing value to people’s lives in the key moments that matter drives engagement with the brand. It’s a great way to demonstrate that the brand understands and cares about its customers. Brand experience innovation can entertain, solve problems or create new utility across the journey. IKEA’s delivery and furniture building service recognizes that their customer journey does not end when they leave the store, but only when the furniture is built and being used at home.
5. Focus on growth in the long term. Brand experience innovation creates meaningful relationships between people and brands that endure over time. It creates strong perceptions about brands in the minds of consumers. While brand experiences may not always have an immediate commercial payoff, the value comes from playing a vibrant role in culture, constantly re-engaging consumers using innovative approaches, and driving consumer advocacy of your brand. It’s long term brand value that you’re building.