You already know that branding is important. You’ve got a tagline, your website looks great, and you’re creating kickass content that shares your work with the world. But how do you take your brand to the next level? One of the ways you can do it is with a consistent customer experience that wows your audience every damn time. In this article we’re gonna go through the ultimate guide to making it happen.
You might not think about it, but experience is a huge part of branding.
A brand is what people think of when they think of you. That means the things they remember, the encounters that come to mind, etc. So if their experience with your brand was above and beyond amazing, that’s what will come to mind when they think of your business.
THIS is the thing that will get people raving about you. THIS is what will get them sharing on social media and telling all of their friends! When you have a consistent brand experience that wows your customers, you’ll have more and more raving fans, loyal customers, and avid advocates before you know it.
So, what is brand experience and where do you start?
Brand experience includes all of the interactions that a person has with your brand and their experience during those interactions. That means the thoughts, feelings, reactions, and perceptions that they have along the way.
Brand experience design is the act of creating and curating the interactions someone has with your brand to influence those thoughts, feelings, reactions and perceptions that they have throughout and after the experience.
For creatives, this is super important, because you want your audience to have a great experience with your brand so that they keep coming back and telling their friends all about it! A wow-worthy brand experience is the key to brand loyalty, and brand advocacy!
If you’ve heard brand experience and customer experience used interchangeably, or are thinking, “wait, but isn’t that just customer experience,” you’re not alone. But here’s the difference.
Customer experience happens once someone becomes a customer, and is part of the overall brand experience. Brand experience covers every interaction someone has with your brand, including before they become customers, when they become customers, and after they are customers.
TL;DR: all customer experience is brand experience, but not all brand experience is customer experience.
First, you need to know who you are and who your audience are, so that you can take those into account throughout the next steps. When you know this, you can create an experience that’s consistent with your brand, and custom-made for your ideal customers.
The first step that you can take in creating this wow worthy customer experience is to list out literally every step a customer takes to purchase your products. Including how they find them, buy them, receive them, and review them, et cetera.
For example, when a customer is looking at your products on your website to purchase, your list might look something like this:
It might seem like a lot of steps, but you wanna list out literally every step in that process because we are gonna take every single one of those steps to the next level to make it amazing.
It also doesn’t just have to be about buying your products. You could outline the experience for a customer seeing you at a market, browsing your social media, finding you online, reading a blog, watching your YouTube videos, joining your Patreon, signing up to pay you on KoFi. Think about every way that somebody might engage with you and every single step that they're gonna go through during that process.
The next thing you're gonna do is decide how you want your customers to feel at each of those steps.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
This is what brand experience is all about. Creating interactions that impact how your audience feels about your brand. You want them to leave feeling positive feelings, and remember how the experience made them feel when they think about your brand the next day, week, month or years later.
For example, when a customer has just purchased an item, you might want them to feel excited, appreciated, and assured that you've got their order. It might be your goal for them to feel like, "man, I really just made a difference to this person's life, I'm super pumped to get my item, and I feel really comfortable and safe knowing that they've got my order and it's confirmed and I know it's gonna come through.”
When you have done that, you're gonna do an audit of each step. Ask yourself questions like:
You might have to go and do that experience yourself. Go add an item to your cart on your website and see what that experience is like. Or google your business and see how hard it is to find you and your work to buy.
Now you’re going to make a plan for improving each step.
What actions can you take to make each step more wow-worthy? It doesn’t have to mean adding a million and one special things to your packages, or overcomplicating things. It can be the little changes that pack the most punch. A thank you message here, a reminder here, an easier step there.
And keep your brand strategy in mind here. Use your brand voice, stick to your visual direction, choose things that are authentic to you.
Choose whatever actions are going to work for you and your brand and then do those things. Assign them to yourself as tasks. Make them happen. See what you can do, one thing at a time to improve this process.
As a creative, you need to focus your brand experience work on the places that people engage the most with your brand.
Where is the biggest impact going to be for you and your audience if you improve the experience? That’s where you need to focus.
When it comes to brand experience, the three strategies you can use to create your wow-worthy interactions are:
This is all about how you communicate with your customers in real life, online, or through automated means. That could include things like what the email says when you’re confirming their order, how you greet them at a market, or your reply on social media. Your focus here is on the copy you use, and the brand voice and tone of your communication.
User experience is all about how easy, simple, and streamlined it is for someone to take an action. That could include how easy it is for them to buy something, contact you, join your patron, etc. It means removing friction, making sure things work, creating a clear sequence of steps, reducing bugs, and anything that will make the experience easier or more streamlined.
And lastly, the third strategy you can use to create your wow-worthy brand experience is your visuals. This is all about making things on-brand, engaging, and unequivocally yours. That means thinking about how your brand is seen everywhere - social media, your website, emails, packaging, signage and so on. You want your audience to recognise your brand, know that it’s you, feel assured that they’re in the right place and things are legit, be wowed by how professional it looks, and be excited to engage with your brand.
The process of auditing and improving your brand experience is simple but it may take some time. You don’t need to make all of the changes right now, but each little change you make will accumulatively make a big difference over time. So do a little bit here and there, one change a week or a fortnight or whatever will work for you. Maybe assign some things to your assistant or contractors who can help with different parts. Make a plan and a timeline that works for you, and make it happen. You’ll be amazed by the results!
And don't forget to download the free Notion template I created to help you with the whole process!
March 29, 2023