Brand & Customer Experience: Exploring The Connection
Your brand goes beyond the logo and name. It’s a multi-faceted concept, incorporating intangible elements that shape perceptions and evoke emotions.
What’s the role of customer experience in this? Customer experience encompasses every interaction that a customer has with a brand at any stage of the customer journey and the opinions and impressions that form as a result of those interactions. There are, of course, some key differences between brand experience and customer experience – which is why they are usually treated as two entirely separate things. However, they are both pieces of the same proverbial pie – and both are equally important for your bottom line. Today, we want to explore the dynamic and, in a sense, symbiotic relationship between brand and customer experience to see how one impacts the other – and how creating a memorable customer experience can set your brand apart from the competition.
How Are Brand Experience & Customer Experience Related?
Most people view brand experience and customer experience as two entirely separate things – and branding, in this scenario, should come first in the customer journey. That’s not necessarily the case, though. Your brand is a combination of elements, both assets, and actions, that work together to shape a strong positive perception of your brand in the customer’s mind. It’s a recognizable and carefully curated image, the impressions you leave, the feelings you invoke, and the promises you make to your customers, all at once. Customer experience is, in essence, the complete experience that a customer has in relation to your brand – from discovery and the first time they interact with your company to the moment they finalize their purchase. In that sense, customer experience actually encompasses every single stage of the customer’s journey.
That experience is, in a way, your brand – because it is what creates the emotional attachment and perception of your company in the customer’s mind. And in most cases, it forms long before you get to present a carefully curated image of your brand. The core relationship between brand and customer experience can also be illustrated with an example:
Great customer experience will shape the new customer’s impressions and perception of the brand they’re engaging with for the first time in a positive way. Even if the brand in question is unknown, these positive initial interactions will leave a lasting mark – and will, most likely, impact the customer’s future behavior. On the other hand, if that initial interaction turns out to be poor, no matter how recognizable the brand might be, the customer’s perception will suffer – primarily because the experience did not live up to the expectation.
That is to say:
A positive customer experience can lead to a positive brand experience – and vice versa. Brands that prioritize both will be able to foster customer loyalty and build a strong reputation for themselves – which will ultimately drive long-term success.
Why Focus On Customer Experience?
Whether it’s intentional or not, the fact is that your brand’s image will create certain associations in the customers’ minds – and those associations define what experience they expect to have when interacting with you across different touchpoints.
Here’s one way to look at this: If your brand is the promise you, as a business, make to your customers, then the customer experience is a reflection of how you keep that promise.
Make no mistake about it; customer expectations are higher than ever. It is no longer enough to offer a good product at a fair price. Instead, there is an expectation of a personalized approach and an emotionally rewarding interaction, which means that these days, brands are increasingly competing on the basis of customer experience. Here’s how a strong customer experience can shape the way customers perceive your brand – and why it should be approached as an important part of your brand strategy:
- Differentiation – Customer experience can be a key differentiator for brands – especially in a highly competitive market. When you prioritize customer experience and deliver a positive, memorable experience, you set yourself apart from the competition.
- Reputation – Positive customer experiences lead to word-of-mouth recommendations and a good reputation – and a good reputation, as you can imagine, is invaluable for your brand, especially when it comes to growing your customer base.
- Revenue – Satisfied customers are more likely to make repeat purchases in the future. Or, in simple terms, a happy customer is a loyal customer. In that sense, a positive customer experience can create a loyal, revenue-generating customer base. Remember, it will cost you seven times more to acquire a new customer than to nurture existing customer relationships.
- Brand Equity -The more the customer experience aligns with the promise the brand is making, the more trust and brand loyalty is established. Customers begin to assign more and more value to the brand they are interacting with, and that perceived value raises the equity of the brand itself.
Here are some stats that solidify the importance of customer experience:
- 73% of consumers say that a good experience is key in influencing brand loyalty.
- Companies with a customer experience mindset tend to have revenue up to 4-8% higher than their competitors.
- Customer experience is seen as a competitive differentiator by 81% of companies.
- Customers will share a positive brand experience they’ve had with a brand with an average of nine people. They will tell 16 people about a negative experience, though.
- Customers are likely to spend up to 140% more time following a positive experience than customers that had negative experiences.
- 87% of customers who report having a positive experience will make another purchase from the same brand; this number drops to 18% for customers who had a very poor experience.
Customers are not merely looking for products and services; they actively seek an emotional connection with the company. That’s where a strong brand comes in, as your company’s most valuable asset that fosters emotional connections, loyalty, and recognition.
Customer experience can help shape those perceptions, though. When approached the right way, it can also serve as a framework for how to intentionally and strategically manage the way customers perceive your brand and build a reputation that commands attention.
If you need assistance with shaping your brand, get in touch with Pastilla’s team.