Building an Unforgettable Brand Experience
You’ve heard it from just about every other designer and brand strategist out there. Your brand is so much more than your logo.
A logo is a piece of a larger picture, yes and an important piece at that. But ask yourself how many purchases you’ve made in the past based solely on a company’s logo. None? Me either! Ok maybe, like, Nike shoes or something when I was younger and brand names on clothing mattered...though when I think about it, I’m not sure I ever really cared for it then either.
Logos are a part of an entire brand experience. And a brand experience, when thought of as a whole, is far more effective in getting clients and customers to trust you enough to buy something from you (or recommend you) than focusing entirely on a logo design.
So what is a brand experience, exactly? So many things.
It’s your logo (huzzah!)
It’s your colour palette
It’s your fonts
It’s your images
It’s your language
It’s your brand consistency (how you share things from one platform to the next or one day to the other)
It’s your website and how users feel using it
It’s your website copy
It’s your tone
It’s the emails you write
It’s your process
It’s how easy or hard it is for someone to find what they need
It’s how people can pay you
It’s how clients/customers feel after buying something from you
It’s how you follow up
It’s how you package your services or products (online and physically)
It’s how someone feels receiving your package
It’s your social media platforms
It’s what you choose to share and say
At the end of the day, a brand experience is how someone feels about every single interaction and touch point they have with your business. And you want them to feel amazing as often as you can.
To focus only on creating visual systems for my clients would be a pretty big disservice in my opinion. Of course, people come to me to help with just that, but my job is to make sure they’re crushing it from a brand experience perspective. It’s my job to go through some brand foundation work so that I can hear their business model and say “OK, but how are you presenting that welcome packet to them?” and be able to make sure every aspect of their business communication is in line with a phenomenal brand experience. Sure, I focus on the visual parts of that brand experience, but it's so much more than that.
Brand experience is what makes people want to share your brand with everyone they know. We all know how important shareable content is these days, and we also know how crucial word-of-mouth marketing is to any business, really. So in order to really get people excited about our services and products, we need to take care of those people who are already buying from us. We need to make sure they’re having a hell-of-a-time hanging out with our business.
Once I stopped chasing the idea of “more more more,” my business seemed to align with my own values and needs so much better than before. When I say “more,” I mean more followers, more subscribers, more clients, more shares...etc. Of course, I always want to see growth in my business, but I realized it had to start with my current clients. That meant taking a good, hard look at my entire process from initial inquiry through to finishing up a project.
I refined every single step, every email, and every detail that goes into a client branding or web design project so that my clients felt assured and taken care of throughout our time working together. Little details like welcome cards, coffee gift certificates, homework packages, clarity calls and support, hardcover coffee-table books of their Brand Style Guide, and wrap up thank-you surprises in the mail. I want to make sure my clients feel special and encouraged about their new brands and websites. (By the way, you can read more about my brand process here, or web design process here).
If you have a product-based business, something as simple as beautiful packaging, or a postcard with their delivery makes all the difference. I will sometimes share brand experience stories on my Instagram stories. A couple recent experiences come to mind:
Receiving my photo prints from ParaboPress - amazing brand experience. From the packaging, to the Mother’s Day coupons (I ordered around Mother’s Day and included in my package were some adorably-illustrated coupons I could give my Mom for things like a free manicure). PS - if you want $10.00 off your own prints, use the code: WZOYJR at check out!
Receiving my business cards or any printed material from Moo Printing never lets me down. They always have beautiful packaging that makes me feel like they took the extra mile-long step to make sure I had an awesome brand experience.
Here are some ideas on getting started with your brand experience:
(you can totally start with some of these small steps)
Refine your client onboarding process
Add a special something to your packaging
Make your payments easier for clients/customers
Refine your offboarding process
Check out your website and figure out if you can make it even easier for your visitors to find what they need
Make sure your brand is consistent
Check in with your social media accounts to see if they’re consistent with your website
Review your website copy against the rest of your communications (email newsletters, social media...etc.)
Send out a survey to your audience to see how you’re currently doing/where you can improve or what else they’d love to see from you
Brand experience as a whole is what matters most to your clients and customers. Going that extra step, even if it costs you a little more upfront, is what pays off in the long run. When people are willing to be an advocate for your brand simply because they loved their experiences with you, that’s way more valuable, in my opinion, than a lot of other marketing efforts. And it’s made all the difference to my own business, so I’m speaking from experience :)
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