Creating Memorable Brand Experiences in the Digital Age
Compelling brand stories and stunning visual design can power brand equity in the digital age
The Digital Age has brought in much-needed democratization to the marketplace. With a mobile phone in every hand and a plethora of channels and choices at the disposal of customers, the focus has shifted from visibility to virality, from shouting off the rooftops to word-of-mouth, from merely selling products to creating memorable “brand experiences”, which keeps customers coming back for more… gosh, maybe even earning you their loyalty!
So how does one go about creating a unique and compelling brand experience in a highly noisy and frenetic digital era?
Map a 360° Brand Experience
The 360° brand experience covers everything your customer senses in your “brand ecosystem”: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. In many ways, the Digital Age has blunted these senses, with brands losing more and more physical contact with customers. But on the other hand, it has amplified the brand’s ability to appeal to the senses of sight and sound, leading them to carpet bomb the internet with “content”.
However, many brands forget or underestimate the sixth sense: how your brand makes a customer feel. Because a feeling can stay with you for eternity, long after your sponsored ad has been lost in the endless newsfeed.
Therefore it is important to map a 360° brand experience that centres around the sixth sense of “what do I want my customer to feel?”, amplified by sight and sound (content), which then compels customers to experience your brand fully and in a more engaging way.
Tell us a Good Story
Everybody loves a good story, from the time we were cavemen huddled around a fire, to stalking people on social media today. From news to Netflix, from gossip columns to cocktail conversations, we feed on stories and more importantly, we want to be part of one.
Brands who tell stories that elicit a powerful yet familiar human emotion, build strong connections with their customers. The famous 1984 Apple ad is a classic example of how a brand associated the very core human feeling of “freedom” with its product. Of course, it helps if your product is Apple.
A Brand is a Person Too!
Brands who think of themselves as a person and develop a personality that is relatable, believable and cool, tend to ace out the ones who don’t.
This philosophy can be extended to almost any brand, as long as the brand knows what it stands for, and what its inspirations and aspirations are. A clear vision is critical to developing a brand personality that connects with customers.
Move Over Brand Identity, Welcome Brand System
An identity that is a natural extension of your brand story and personality is obviously a must, but it is more imperative now to create a “Brand System” that encompasses your customer in a 360° brand experience, enthralling all six senses.
That’s why it is important to choose a design agency that gets into the skin of the brand. Ensure they start from first mapping out every brand touchpoint your customer will experience or interact with, and then designing a larger brand system that amplifies your story, personality and voice.
Typically you would want to define the following in your brand system:
Patterns / Motifs
Font and Typography
Never Underestimate the Human Factor
At the end of the day, this is not really a science. Maybe some people will tell you that, but a lot of it depends on human thought, creativity and intuition, and that is why who you employ to develop and execute your brand strategy is perhaps the most critical factor of all, not just your agencies but perhaps more importantly the employees on the ground, who will make or break your brand strategy. Having a culture that is as immersive to your employees as it is to your customers will go a long way in the success of your brand.