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GuidesUser experience (UX)What is brand experience?

What is brand experience?

Last updated

19 May 2023

Author

Claire Bonneau

Reviewed by

Jean Kaluza

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In 2023, modern brands essentially have a personality and reputation of their own. Are you doing enough to ensure your company is leaving a good impression on your future customers?

Your brand is a lot more than just the products and services you offer. In the modern age of flashy advertisements and snarky, self-aware brand social media accounts, your brand’s impact (and persona) is broader than ever before—and you need to be aware of how your brand is landing with your target audience.

Well-loved brands create an amazing brand experience at every level of their company, from their external marketing to how their employees speak about their work and office culture. These brands create a warm welcome and carefully ensure that every step of the pathway towards a purchase leaves their customers feeling supported and heard—and, unsurprisingly, their efforts are met with a near cult-like following of support and loyalty.

It’s tempting to assume that this level of curated brand experience is only available to multi-million global corporations. But we have some great news—creating a stellar brand experience is something you can do too, no matter the size of your company or team.

What is brand experience?

Brand experience is the total result of a customer’s every feeling, interaction, and exposure to your business. The brand experience isn’t limited to one specific area of your external efforts—it encapsulates everything from purchasing your products to speaking with your customer service representatives or viewing your marketing campaigns. 

Essentially, brand experience is the impression (good or bad) your brand has made on your target audience from every channel of interaction. Starting from when a potential customer becomes aware of your company, creating a positive and engaging brand experience is one of the best ways to connect with your target audience and enhance customer loyalty.

Brand experience vs. user experience

Although brand experience and user experience (UX) sound like similar concepts, they’re actually different and shouldn’t be used interchangeably:

Brand experience 

Brand experience is the summation of every interaction a customer has with your brand, from seeing digital marketing ads to using your website interface.

User experience 

Alternatively, user experience refers to the specific takeaway a customer has from interacting with a particular area of your business (e.g., a customer registers with your product effortlessly and then uses your product to achieve their particular goal, which is part of a positive user experience).

Despite their differences, UX experience and brand experience are interconnected—you cannot have one without the other. And this is a great thing, as any efforts to improve one will improve the other, which is a net win for your team and company!

Why you need to care about brand experience

If your team is new to brand experience, it can be tempting to side-step the work in favor of other “more productive” endeavors. And while this sentiment is common, it’s not the best path forward—and may actually hold your business back more than you think.

We encourage you to fight the urge to push off working on your brand experience and instead work towards understanding its many benefits. Companies who spend the time and resources to create an immersive, positive brand experience benefit from a wide variety of tangible and intangible perks, including the following:

Connect with your target audience

A brand that has spent the time to curate a desirable brand experience will have taken the time to research and interview its target audience. In doing so, not only are you benefiting from better customer research practices, but you now gain better insights into their needs, wants, and preferences that you can work towards meeting.

Build brand awareness and loyalty

Building a strong, positive brand experience is one of the best ways to get customer referrals and create organic recommendations from your top clients. People love to talk about and share their experiences (in-person and on social media), meaning a strong brand experience is like free marketing gold if you do it right.

Edge out your competitors

Every company in any industry has competitors looking to poach their top customers. By creating a comprehensive brand experience that entices and holds onto great customers, your company can edge out your competitors not only in the products and services you offer but also in value, community, and overall experience.

The 4 P’s of brand experience design

If your company is looking to improve its brand experience, there are four primary areas you need to consider as part of your brand experience strategy. The 4 P’s of brand experience should act as guiding principles for your team to consider as you build a comprehensive plan to enhance your company’s brand experience:

Perception

To improve your current brand experience, you first need to thoroughly understand how your company is currently fairing. As we mentioned earlier, brand experience is about more than creating a few targeted ad campaigns and hoping for the best —you need to get a full-picture understanding of every interaction your customers have with your business. 

Conducting thorough customer research on different aspects of your brand, like aesthetics, performance, and overall sentiment, is essential. Your brand is likely perceived differently by different demographics of customers, and you’ll want to know this information to better serve your target audience.

Participation

Customers love brands that are involved, both in local and fun events and in the general pop culture zeitgeist. Depending on the type and size of the company you work for, finding ways to connect and participate with your customers and target audience is a great way to foster an improved brand experience. 

Some examples of ways to improve your brand’s level of participation include:

  • Sponsoring or attending local events your brand supports and endorses

  • Posting on social media to connect with your target audience

  • Commenting and engaging with popular causes and events within your niche

Personalization

In addition to enhancing the unique message and value your brand offers your customers, a great brand experience also helps companies better connect and speak to the needs and wants of their target audience. 

As you talk to more of your customers about their experience with your brand, you’ll start to pick up on the preferences, pain points, and common issues that unify this group of people—and using this information to your advantage, you can begin to design a brand experience that best serves your target audience.

Prioritization

Finally, as your team begins to have actionable steps to work on to improve your brand experience, taking the time to prioritize the most important projects first is very important. 

Working on brand experience is no easy task—so we recommend front-loading your efforts and resources onto the changes that will have the biggest and most positive impact early. This way, your team has some easy wins to celebrate throughout the process, and your customers will receive the most important improvements sooner rather than later!

Three steps to building a successful brand experience strategy

As you begin to take steps toward improving your brand experience, there are a few extra considerations your team should make to ensure you’re staying on the right track:

Are you meeting your client’s needs?

First and foremost, your team needs to know what your customers are looking for (and what aspects of your current brand experience are less than desirable). 

Your customer’s needs and preferences should always act as the north star for any initiatives your company starts—because, at the end of the day, any improvements you make are to benefit their experience.

Identify areas to improve

Through talking to your customers and collecting feedback, your team should quickly be able to identify holes in your current brand experience strategy. And that’s ok! These will be areas that you and your team can brainstorm about how to improve—allowing for both enhanced team collaboration and improved overall company strategy.

Be creative and try new things

As you begin to float ideas for improved brand experience and engagement, we strongly encourage you to support creative and fun options. 

Whenever possible, choosing to improve your brand experience with fun and company-specific events or projects is a great way to boost morale and enhance the sense of community surrounding your company—both of which are a win for your business overall.

Examples of companies with great brand experience

When you think of well-loved brands or companies, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? 

Is it their fun and colorful marketing and ads, or how great the features of their new product are? Do you love them for their stance on environmental issues, or are you a huge fan of their funny social media accounts?

Brand experience is all of these things combined, plus everything else. The most well-loved companies are aware of how every decision they make impacts their brand experience and reputation.

No matter the size of your company, there are always creative and cost-effective ways that your team can improve your brand experience and better serve your customers. With this in mind, here are a few high-quality brand experience examples worth using as inspiration as your company improves its current strategy: 

Apple

As one of the most well-known brands worldwide, Apple has created a brand experience of luxury and innovation. At every step of the process of engaging with the brand, Apple’s visuals, marketing materials, and product packaging are clean, sharp, and minimalistic. 

Continually pushing the envelope on the latest technology, Apple also positions itself as a leader in the tech industry by hosting an annual keynote event, inviting other technology companies and creators to learn about their next year’s plans.

Through these efforts, Apple has fine-tuned every step of a customer’s brand experience, from the moment they visit their website to how to interact with their devices day-to-day. As a result, customers know what to expect with every interaction with the brand, and they know they can trust the quality of their products and service.

Starbucks

Starbucks turned going to grab a coffee into a branded and personalized experience—and through detailed and well-thought-out brand experience, they have created a global powerhouse brand. 

From their well-designed to-go mugs, extensive coffee and frappe options, and the creation of a dedicated rewards program, Starbucks has become a well-loved and popular choice for working professionals and students alike. 

Additionally, by offering a comprehensive app for ordering on the go and continually rotating seasonal favorite flavors and specialty drinks, Starbucks keeps its customers engaged and invested in its brand—even if they spell your name wrong when you order!

IKEA

Swedish furniture brand IKEA is a global juggernaut when it comes to affordable home products—and because they’ve spent the time to create a comprehensive brand experience, they have loyal customers from around the world.

Aside from offering affordable build-it-yourself products that speak to both students and DIY enthusiasts, IKEA also offers quality-of-life features that improve their customer’s shopping experience. 

Known for its AR app, IKEA allows people to “place” IKEA furniture into their homes before buying, allowing them to see how it will look (or if it will fit). Additionally, with an easy-to-use online shopping experience paired with multiple delivery options, they’ve ensured that all types of customers have an option that best fits their needs and lifestyle. 

Improve your brand experience with Dovetail

Brand experience is an essential component of the success of your business. As the summation of every interaction a potential customer has with your brand, spending the time to improve your current brand experience is one of the best ways to build brand loyalty and better serve the needs of your top customers.

Looking to conduct detailed customer research to improve your brand experience? By using Dovetail, you can input your data into a platform designed to identify and create empowering and actionable customer insights that make a difference.

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