The economies went through different stages of economic value creation. They began with commodities, then consumer goods and then to services. According to Pine and Gilmore the most effective way to create value is by ‘staging experiences’.
Breakthrough Thinking is a deliberate, focused effort aimed at developing radically new approaches that overcome constraints, instead of making incremental changes in the older ways of working. This may be applied to any industry to reach their full creative potential. Creative thinking is a skill, as like any other skill it can be strengthened, refined and mastered.
We rely on creative people because they come up with various and unique ways to demonstrate their creativity. When brands emerge to ease the life of users by adapting to technology day by day, only creative thinking can help brand sustenance. Breakthrough needs to be communicated to the target audience in a way that touch consumers’ senses in order to gain their trust and confidence. Here are some Top Ways to Humanize Your Brand .
Successful organizations innovate to ‘optimize’ their market position. They just don’t go for building brand identity, but create a total brand experience. Brand experience is an exciting concept in consumer behaviour. Marketing consultants have come to realize that understanding how consumers experience brands and in turn how they provide experiences are very critical for bringing in a differentiation in this highly competitive environment.
Experience is not self-generated one but induced. Consumers experience something in response to a stimulus. The more creative the stimulus, the more excited the consumer feels. Experience happens when a consumer use products. It can happen in diverse settings. Marketing Research shows that brand experiences occur when consumers search, examine and evaluate products, when they shop for them and receive service. Brand experiences are not based on their beliefs. Experiential branding is gaining importance as it has the incredible ability to align how brands could connect to consumers. Unlike earlier days where agencies create an ad and pushing it to the consumer front, now they concentrate on creating amazing experiences by getting them involved, giving up their time, waiting to do it and then share it with others as they find themselves happy to do it. You can check out How to master Emotional Branding? too.
Consumers are rational decision makers and a multi-sensory brand experience generates beliefs, feelings, thoughts and opinions to create a brand image in their mind. This is done by exploring the five senses – sight, sound, touch, taste and smell to relate with customers on an emotional level. It helps in relating to the customer in a more personal way. Technology changes the way experiential branding could be created because technology has put-forth a dramatic effect on how people think, live, experience and judge brands. Technology can help engage the senses better using concepts like Virtual Reality (VR).
Brakus, Schmitt and Zarantonello conceptualised brand experience as “subjective, internal consumer responses (sensations, feelings and cognitions) as well as behavioural responses that are evoked by brand-related experiential attributes when consumers interact with brands, shop for them and consume them”. The goal for experiential marketers is to provide stimuli that will result in experiences for consumers. That’s what brand managers and brand promotion agencies are trying to do.
How to create different types of experiences for customers
Experience can be viewed in two dimensions. The first one is customer participation, which constitutes passive participation at one end where customers experience an event as observers or listeners and active participation where the customers play a key role in creating performance or event that yields the experience. The second dimension of experience describes the connection that unites customers with the event or performance. Creating memorable experiences has become a business art like designing a product or a process. Keep in mind five key experience–design principles.
- Have a well-defined theme
- Impress with positive cues
- Avoid negative cues
- Convey memories using physical evidence
- Engage all five senses
Following are the two key concepts that are to be considered in Experiential Marketing with the aim of creating holistic experiences for customers.
SEMs (Strategic Experiential Modules)
ExPROs (Experience Providers)
SEMs are about five senses and how stimulation to five senses can provide an exciting experience. The more senses an experience engages the more memorable and effective it can be.
- Sensory Experiences (SENSE )– appeals to consumers’ senses.
- Affective Experiences (FEEL) – appeals to consumers’ inner feelings and emotions ranging from mildly positive moods linked to a brand to strong emotions of joy and pride.
- Creative Cognitive or Intellectual Experiences (THINK) – appeals to the intellect in order to deliver cognitive, problem-solving experiences that engage customers creatively.
- Behavioural Experiences and life styles (ACT) – targets physical behaviours, life styles and interactions.
- Social-Identity Experiences (RELATE) – creates experiences by taking in to account individuals’ desires to be part of a social context.
ExPROs are the type of communications –visual, verbal identity, product presence, product design, internet presence, cobranding, retail environment, websites, spatial environment, electronic media and people.
Managing the brand experience
Schmitt has developed and presented a managerially focused project frame-work called CEM (Customer Experience Management). Know your customers than ever before, personalize every interaction and map analytics to specific stages or touch points in the customer life cycle to deliver right message through right medium at right time.
The CEM framework which consists of three significant steps:
1. Customer Insight
Done on a broader perspective by analyzing and researching not only the brand but also consumption and usage patterns and the socio cultural context that affect consumers’ experiential needs and wants
2. The experience platform
Include formulation of a core concept that can be used as guiding principle for subsequent implementations. It is also referred to as ‘experiential positioning’. The concept must be in alignment with the brand’s value and personality.
3. Designing the brand experience
The selection of experiential features that can serve as experience providers. It includes a functionality, look and feel of the product and the environment. The design of the brand experience is usually done by design firms, graphic and interior designers, media, advertising and brand promotion agencies, event management companies by providing creative innovative solutions.
This concept is used in addressing classic issues related to marketing such as segmentation and targeting, positioning, service management and innovation management. Experiential marketing is beneficial to:
- Turnaround a declining brand
- Differentiate a product from competition
- Create an image and identity for corporation
- Promote innovations
- Induce trial, purchase and loyal consumption
The customer experience evolves from a set of interactions between a customer and a product, a company or a part of the organization which provoke a reaction. Experiences materialize at various stages like information collection, decision and consumption.
At every stage there are touch points between the company, its products and services which results in experiences. Davis and Longoria present the touch points as follows:
- Pre-purchase touch points which include advertising, public relations, web sites, new media, direct mail, samples, coupons and incentives, deals and promotions.
- Purchases touch points that include packaging, point-of-purchase displays, store and shelf placements, sales people and sales environment.
- Post-purchase touch points include product and package performance, customer service, newsletters and loyalty programmes.
What customers look for are products, communications and marketing campaigns that dazzle their senses, touch their hearts and stimulate their minds. They give value to products, communications and marketing campaigns that they can relate to and they can incorporate in to their life styles. The extent to which a company can deliver a desirable customer experience and use information technology, integrated communications and entertainment will determine its success in the present era. This is possible by way of breakthrough thinking and use of disruptive technology. You can read Top 10 tips for an effective advertising campaign also.
The focus on experiences has evolved out of two phases in marketing: the attributes phase and the branding phase. Marketers need to break existing thought patterns and highlight innovative means of problem-solving by creating WOW moments to customers. Marketing professionals and branding agencies presently need to create and design brand experiences in a professional manner at the same time using cutting edge technology and breakthrough thinking so that there is no need to put hard efforts to pull consumers. Touch their heart!!! They will come your way…