In a world that prioritizes ease and speed through AI and other technologies, it's easier than ever for brands to fade into a sea of sameness. To build a truly memorable brand, it's more important than ever to design a branded customer experience that stays true to your values, deepens connections, and drives brand loyalty.
But what exactly is a branded customer experience, and how can you design one that makes your brand truly unforgettable in the eyes of your audience?
Let's explore what makes an impactful branded customer experience and how you can create one that keeps your audience coming back for years to come.
What Is a Branded Customer Experience?
A branded customer experience infuses your brand identity into every touchpoint to create a unique and memorable experience for your customers. It combines elements of brand experience and customer experience to create the best possible interaction, leaving everyone who comes into contact with your brand feeling positive and interested in coming back. Let's take a look at each of these in more detail.
Brand experience is the combination of feelings, sensations, thoughts, and reactions that a person experiences through interacting with, or simply knowing about, your brand. It includes aspects such as your online representation, visual design, marketing, reviews, and more—essentially, any part of your brand that a person could come into contact with, without necessarily being a customer.
Whereas brand experience describes the feeling a person develops about your brand through indirect contact, customer experience describes the emotional impact your efforts have on a person when they enter into more direct contact, like purchasing a product or enrolling in a course. It includes every part of the customer journey, from your product design and marketing communications, to your in-store aesthetics and customer service.
Components of an Impactful Branded Customer Experience
To design a branded customer experience that leaves a meaningful mark on your customers, you must be intentional about every aspect of the journey—from the moment they become aware of your brand, to the point at which they become loyal customers and advocates. This means taking into consideration three key components, which combine to create an impactful experience:
Your brand foundations are all the aspects that make up who you are: your mission, vision, values, goals, differentiators, target audience, and more. They're the key, intangible parts of your brand that lie at the heart of everything you do—from making strategic decisions to developing a culture that attracts the right employees.
When you get clear on what these are, they can serve as the container for a memorable branded customer experience—the common thread running through each touchpoint that keeps you grounded in who you are, allowing you to create an authentic and powerful relationship between you and your customers.
Design comprises numerous parts of your branded customer experience, such as your visual assets (e.g., logo), digital marketing, and even the interior of your office. Your customers' perception of your brand and the expectations they develop about what it's like to work with you are largely influenced by what they see, so it's important to be intentional about your design decisions.
Your company culture is an often overlooked part of building an impactful branded customer experience. Employees are your biggest brand ambassadors, so they play a crucial role in influencing your customers' perceptions. If the environment you cultivate for them is values-aligned, positive, and motivating, those same sentiments will reach your customers.
Designing a Memorable Branded Customer Experience
Your brand foundations, design choices, and the company culture you cultivate all impact the way your customers feel about your brand. But how can you translate those overarching components into tangible actions that can help you design a memorable branded customer experience? Here are 5 tips to get you started:
1. Focus on Your Purpose
When you, your employees, and your customers are all on the same page about what you're trying to accomplish as a brand, it makes for a far more authentic and memorable experience. One way of ensuring that your purpose is not only understood, but also communicated clearly at every step, is to document your brand foundations in a brand handbook.
2. Infuse Your Brand into Every Touchpoint
From the very first interaction a person has with your brand, you want them to have a clear idea of who you are. The best way to do this is to infuse your brand personality into every touchpoint, hitting on everything from the initial Instagram post and website visit to your welcome sequence and onboarding process.
Another way of thinking about this is to find opportunities to surprise and delight your customers with a little something extra. For example, one of the strategies we've implemented at Miss Details throughout the years is sending our clients a welcome gift that included a handwritten note and a beautiful box with a sachet of lavender bath tea that said "Chill." The purpose was twofold: to make our clients feel special and appreciated—a core value of our brand—and to create the expectation that they could relax knowing they were in good hands.
Even businesses with the most basic or necessary service (think CPA or office supply shop rather than travel agency or massage therapist), can make their customers' experience more unique and memorable through small yet impactful actions.
3. Leverage Sensory Design
The senses have a powerful and intimate connection with our emotions, so they're a great tool to leverage when creating a memorable branded customer experience. Using colors, patterns, textures, sounds, and more that are aligned with your brand can create a positive and lasting impression on your customers.
If you're not sure how to translate the essence of your brand into an immersive sensory experience, our Sensory Branding Workbook is a helpful place to start. It will help you reflect on the sensory aspects of your brand and compile them into a complete sensory profile that you can use to design a memorable experience.
4. Get Employees Engaged
You can indirectly influence your customers' perception of your brand by getting employees engaged in the process. Part of bringing them into the fold is creating an intentional brand experience for them, as well. One way of accomplishing this is by infusing your brand personality into your employee touchpoints—such as your welcome kit, onboarding process, employee manual, and trainings.
5. Seek Customer Insight
It may seem like a no-brainer, but seeking out feedback from your customers is one of the most straightforward ways of ensuring you design a memorable branded customer experience. While you don't want your customers' happiness to be the driving factor—since what they want may or may not align with your brand's values—understanding their needs, desires, and goals can help you bridge the gap and create an experience that will keep them coming back for more.
Create a Memorable Experience With Our Ultimate Checklist
Designing an experience that leaves a lasting impression is all in the details. We are developing a resource that helps you ensure you're hitting all the touchpoints along the way— The Ultimate Checklist to Create a Memorable Branded Customer Experience. The checklist will walk you through every step of the journey, as well as highlight the places where you can make the greatest impact, so you can carefully craft a unique and memorable experience for every customer that comes into contact with your brand. This is a compilation of our 20+ years building brand experiences along with some new ideas. It is still cooking so if you would like to be notified when it's available please click below to let me know.
Don’t want to miss out on our articles and insights?
Sign up for the Miss Details newsletter today.