Monday, April 6, 2015

What's Your Brand Experience?

The puzzle of how to create memorable customer experiences is not new to the business landscape. The digital world we live in has definitely expanded the possibilities for creating experiences before clicking on the Buy button, but the need to create an experience that causes people to come back and find you specifically is as old as the marketplace.

A tried a true method of creating an experience that precedes a purchase is providing samples to passersby. This cost heavy try-before-you-buy practice isn’t going anywhere—especially when it comes to food products—but many companies are able to provide digital samples or giveaways of their product for little or no cost.

Digital samples and shares are so common that they’re almost expected these days, which means companies need to look for newer and memorable experiences they can create. To remain memorable, something about the experience of being your patron should be unique to you.

Two questions that can help you find a strong customer experience for your business are:
  1. What are my customers already doing when interacting with my product?
  2. How can I own that activity?
Joe Fresh is a fashion retail brand that is using this approach to lure online shoppers into their brick and mortar stores this March. They realized that people like to take pictures of themselves in store mirrors of the outfits they were considering.

So Joe Fresh turned this customer habit into a contest. This past March, they posted the following contest.

Joe Fresh clearly posted the rules on how to enter, and offered their customers a prize to do what they were already doing: take pictures in our clothes. Only instead of texting the images to friends for an opinion, Joe Fresh invited customers to post their pictures to Instagram for a chance to win a shopping spree.

Image credit:
The customer's goal: Win a shopping spree.
The business goal: Get free publicity by having customers voluntarily broadcast that they shop at Joe Fresh to get new eyes on their products.
The prize: $1,000 in-store credit

I think it's fair to say that this campaign was a shot in the dark for them. There's no way to predict what response would or wouldn't be, but the point is that the company found an experience-based marketing campaign that matched their values and their budget and ran with it. How effective the campaign was will likely be spelled out in financial reports several months from now, which will in turn inform future marketing efforts.

Even the big boys have to do a shotgun blast into the dark while they're trying to refine new laser approach. I think this campaign qualifies, which is why it's such a great example to small businesses everywhere. Sometimes everyone has to throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks for them.

Take a few minutes to consider what you can do with your customers to build your brand. How do they want to engage with you, and how can you run with the energy that is already out there to create a branded experience?

There is no right answer, only the answer that is right for you. Find a responsible way to give it a try and see what happens!

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