What does social media have to do with packaging, email receipts, a logo colour, or even with staff uniforms? Each interaction, positive, neutral, and negative, links together to tell a story, and contributes to a customer’s ever expanding experience with your brand.
A branded customer experience (BX) is a designed experience that intends to differentiate a brand from others, with a consistent and coherent delivery across touch points, with the intention to affirm and build on the core customer promise. Basically, it’s a holistic approach to business that truly keeps the customer in mind at every single step of the journey.
One business that is setting the bar high for brand experience is online fashion platform, SSENSE. Known just as much for their editorial content and collaborative capsule collections as they are for their highly sought after independent designer range, SSENSE are the innovators of luxury fashion.
The best proof of this is their new appointment-only, highly customised, bricks and mortar store in Montréal. SSENSE Montréal has been designed to bridge the gap between the digital and physical fashion experience, and it’s not just a reiteration of their online offerings. In their own words, it is ‘a space for appointments, events, projects, and conversations. An invitation to look, feel, and interact.’ How do they do this? They don’t carry stock; instead people make an appointment to try on styles found in at SSENSE online, which are then delivered to the changing rooms from a warehouse within 24 hours. In store stylists help customers put their looks together, and the showroom space displays exclusive fashion installations. To complete the experience, there’s a top floor café, book club gatherings, and regular interactive events.
This carefully crafted experience shows how SSENSE’s customer-centric strategy makes the most of media fragmentation, increased information sharing, and social media – by allowing their brand to be defined by those who experience it. Each touch point is designed for the customer; a result of real respect for them in the first place. Brand experience is built on empathy, not algorithms.
However, developing engaging customer-centric brands is still a real marketing challenge. According to research by Bain and Co., 80 per cent of brands claimed to offer a ‘superior experience’, but customers say that only 8 per cent of companies really deliver on that. That’s a gap – a ‘reality gap’.
How do you close the distance between self-perception and reality? Regardless of the process, the answer is always to look your customer in the eye, and ask ‘does this work for you? Why, or why not?’
What do you think is the best example of brand experience? Head to our Instagram to let us know!