Creating a great brand experience starts with building a brand identity, but it doesn’t stop there. The brand experience encompasses everything that influences the way your audience feels about your brand – from colors chosen to elicit certain emotions, to your brand logo and website design, to slogans and brand positioning statements that fully capture the essence of your company’s identity, advertisements, the stories you tell on social media, and so much more. But with so many factors in play, what really matters when it comes to creating a great brand experience?
One thing that matters is brand consistency, maintaining a consistent brand voice across social media and other platforms, along with using consistent visual imagery and design elements in line with your brand identity. That’s easier said than done, though, especially when multiple teams and departments are tasked with managing different functions and marketing channels. A digital asset management solution like MerlinOne can help you keep your teams on the same page on task, streamlining workflows while ensuring that every team member has access to the digital assets they need, when they need them.
To learn more about what ingredients are most essential for creating an amazing brand experience, we reached out to a panel of branding experts and asked them to answer this question:
“What’s the single most important ingredient for creating a great brand experience?”
Read on to learn what our experts had to say about the most important ingredients you should have to create a great brand experience.
Sean Dudayev, Founder of Frootful Marketing
“Creating a great brand experience is all about synergy…”
What most entrepreneurs don’t realize about branding is that it isn’t just a funny commercial or a cool logo, but instead, the entire experience a customer has with your company. This means that there has to be synergy in everything that you do. Every engagement your customer has with your brand has to be outstanding. This starts with how the customer feels looking at your advertisement, to how they feel through the sales process, and how they feel as a customer. You have to maintain the same culture and feel through and through. When the customer goes from a friendly salesperson to an apathetic customer service rep, it will mean disaster to the customer experience.
Patrick Dhital, Co-Founder of Honey Skin
“To create a great brand experience, you must have fantastic customer engagement…”
In the age of the internet, it’s easy to rely on businesses that run online. For example, the boom of websites such as eBay, Amazon, The Iconic, and various others have made it easy for customers to buy products without ever having to set foot in a store. This anonymity makes it easy to forget about connecting with your customers; however, customer engagement is an extremely powerful tool in creating a great brand experience. Some ways of connecting with your customers can be through social campaigns, engaging in discussions with your customer base on social media, and regularly updating blogs that are relevant to your product and business to drive advocacy. By doing this, you are able to build rich customer experiences which in turn creates a fantastic brand reputation.
Antony Zagoritis, CEO of Lapigems Gem Company
“An exciting post sale program is the key ingredient in brand experience…”
It is a well known fact that a customer who has already purchased from you and is satisfied is much easier to market to than one who hasn’t. This is why it is surprising that so many businesses tend to forget about the customer once they have made a sale. Apart from adding them to a mailing list, they are effectively forgotten. In our gemstone and jewelry business, the key ingredient in our brand experience has been building a customer post shopping experience. Every gemstone we sell is connected to the mine via a blockchain type technology, which effectively connects the client to the mine it came from and shows them where a percentage of their purchase goes in terms of our CSR program to improve miners’ livelihoods. Once the customer gets the gemstone set in their hometown, we ask them to send us a photo of the completed piece, and this gets added to the blockchain history of the stone. If gems are gifted to friends and family, we add the new owners to the system. This gives us an opportunity to really build a relationship with our customers that goes far beyond the initial sale experience. My feeling is that companies that build customer after sales marketing into their brand experience will find that their repeat business and referral rates increase exponentially.
Audrey Strasenburgh, SEO Strategist at LogoMaker
“The single most important ingredient for creating a great brand experience is to have…”
A logo design that aligns with your industry, your company, and your beliefs. If your logo is outdated or doesn’t speak to your customers, then they will not have a great brand experience. Poor brand experiences then lead to brand mistrust and eventually a loss of reputation and customers. Your logo is the one branding element that will ensure you have brand consistency throughout all of your marketing channels. It is this consistency that allows for a great brand experience. Without your logo consistently placed across all marketing materials and online platforms, customers will have a hard time identifying your business.
Camille Davis, Brand Strategist and Public Relations Specialist at MontagePR
“I believe the single most important ingredient for creating a great brand experience is emotion…”
When creating an event, I ask my clients how they want their guests to feel about their brand. This could include the event color theme. Do we want to use colors within the brand guidelines? Do we want to use warm colors or cold colors to reflect the energy in the room? This could include whether we attach a charitable cause to the event or not. Do we want the attendees to feel compelled to donate? If you’re an eco-friendly, all-natural company, the experience you provide should reflect that through using earthy colors in your packaging, communicating your CSR or sustainability efforts through the experience, etc. At the end of the day, it’s my job to ensure my clients’ brand messaging and values are communicated to their audience.
Mark Armstrong, Owner of Mark Armstrong Illustration
I know that sounds trite, but it encompasses so much that’s essential to a brand’s success.
For starters: steer clear of buzzwords and jargon. It makes you sound pretentious and unapproachable. It also inhibits communication: who wants to admit ignorance and risk looking foolish by asking ‘dumb questions’?
Employ humor, especially self-deprecating humor. It humanizes a brand, and helps people relax and drop the shields we all put up against 24/7 marketing. You don’t have to tell jokes or be a professional comedian; humor can be as simple as a ready smile and a twinkle in your eye. It makes you likable, and it’s so much easier to do business with people you like.
You’re being human when your website is inviting and uncluttered, with smiling photos of you and your staff, an about page, FAQs, testimonials that vouch for your humanity and good service, and easy-to-find contact info.
And when you’re being human, there are some things you don’t do: you don’t connect with people and immediately hit them with a sales pitch, and you don’t surprise people with hidden fees or by doing things without consulting them.
Being human is all about treating people right. It means keeping them informed, admitting mistakes, and making things right, going the extra mile and following up. All those things create trust and help deliver a great brand experience.
Michelle Kubot, Vice President of Marketing at Ambrosia Treatment Center
With the advent of social media and review sites, there’s nowhere for brands to hide. Why does everyone know Walmart equals low prices, Red Bull is cool and extreme, and Chick-fil-A makes fast food pleasant? It’s because these brands don’t just say that’s what they’re about; they live it. It’s the foundation on which they build all their internal processes. It’s what guides their decision making. They are selling their brand and what their brand stands for, not products. They’ve figured out what consumers want from them, and they embrace it with everything they do. The consistency and transparency needed to give a great brand experience only comes from this kind of raw authenticity.
Alex Vale, Growth & Marketing Leader at Attio
“The single biggest ingredient for a great brand experience is cohesiveness…”
Everything a person sees that is related to your brand needs to have a cohesive message. It doesn’t matter whether that is a luxury fashion brand or a budget gym chain; everything needs to align with your target. You would never see a luxury fashion brand advertising in a cheap magazine, for example. If every part of your external messaging is centered around the same goal/image in a cohesive manner, then your brand experience will be infinitely stronger than if it’s not.
Steve Pritchard, Digital Marketing Consultant for Ben Sherman
“The single most important ingredient to creating a great brand experience is…”
Connecting with your audience. You can subtly do this through the stories you share, the language you use, and the visuals you display.
One of the best ways to connect with your audience is through social media, where you can develop your brand’s voice and build a direct relationship with your customers. By bringing your audience together online and relating directly to them as a brand, you can foster a personal consumer experience with each individual and their identity as a whole.
Whether that means bringing together a generation through style or appealing to a demographic whose needs are typically overlooked, connecting people through your company will resonate with your audience and create a powerful brand experience.
Polly Kay, Senior Marketing Manager at English Blinds
“A great brand experience is one that resonates on a personal level with prospects, so…”
Anything that you can do to boost personalization will help towards this. However, achieving this across a broad demographic of brand fans and followers is generally only possible if you can enable your prospects to personalize the experience themselves, such as by providing interactivity and the opportunity for prospects to make their own memories.
This is achievable both online and in the real world, but how it is applied in practice will vary hugely depending on both your niche and your audience.
When it comes to eCommerce stores, the type of product suggestions you serve up to repeat visitors, the variety of incentives and deals you offer them, and the programmatic ads that are showcased to them off-site can all enhance this personalization.
In brick-and-mortar retail units, personalization is in many ways easier, because your brand has the chance to engage prospects individually, as well as provide a full sensory experience where relevant, too. Simply ensuring that a store is sufficiently staffed with friendly and well-informed staff that are proactive about engaging with shoppers is often the best and most effective approach to achieving this!
Fabian Geyrhalter, Founder & Principal of FINIEN
“It has been such a marketing buzzword in recent years, but most don’t get it right: Authenticity…”
It is the single most important ingredient to a great brand experience. If a brand – and that means every single employee – knows what it stands for and why it exists, then it is easy to authentically voice and share that brand essence with their tribe. No need to craft and fabricate, no need to ‘project’ authenticity. That is why so many startups get it right and so many Fortune 500s are still struggling as they ‘project.’ And only once the audience feels like they are authentically spoken to, they encounter an honest brand experience, will it turn into an exceptional brand interaction for them.
Darren Easton, Vice President and Creative Director of The Cyphers Agency
“Consumers today don’t want to simply purchase a brand; they want the entire brand experience…”
To provide this, brands must court then sell each consumer, creating customers for life by fostering a sense of community that exists not only with the brand itself but also with everyone who shares a passion for it.
If a brand can connect their objectives with what the consumer actually needs, every touchpoint will result in a great brand experience.
Creating an amazing brand experience is one thing, but doing it consistently is another. Download our white paper, How a DAM Can Help Marketing Leaders to Unite Their Teams, to learn more about how MerlinOne can help you keep your decentralized teams on the same page so you can deliver an incredible brand experience consistently.
Avinash Chandra, Founder and CEO of BrandLoom
“The single most important ingredient for creating a great brand experience is listening to customer feedback…”
Always do what your audience wants from you. Marketing your product consistently tells your audience about your goals and ethics, but knowing what your audience feels about you is also one of the most important parts of marketing. People love your brand if you listen to them and do what they want.
Conduct audience research and know about their feedback. Tweaking your offerings according to audience feedback is a crucial part of ensuring a good brand experience for your customers. People will listen to your plans and will respect your decisions if you react to their feedback well.
Brian Burkhart, Founder & CEO of SquarePlanet
“It doesn’t matter if you run a nonprofit, a huge global enterprise, a small private company, or even a government agency…”
If humans built it, there was a reason they put it together. That reason is the heart of the organization. It’s more than a vision for the future, and it’s certainly more than a mission statement. It’s a core belief, and it’s why your company exists.
Imagine a business that people are almost magically attracted to – a business where people line up for your latest products, regardless of price, feature, or service. Imagine selling your services even though you barely mention who does the work, how it’s done, what it costs, or what your experience is.
That’s the power of knowing your core beliefs. And shouting those beliefs to the world is the single most important ingredient for creating a great brand experience.
See, the brands that people love the most – including Nike, Disney, and Apple – have the most concretely defined core beliefs of any companies in existence.
Core beliefs are how we align ourselves not only to the companies we work for and run, but also to the companies we buy from (and even the political parties we associate with). They’re a mission-critical element in creating a great brand experience.
Yet most companies don’t nail down their core beliefs. In fact, most companies don’t even realize they should. They don’t inspire customers, employees, or anyone else for that matter. Nobody hears these companies’ names and says, “I love them.” Still, there is a reason these companies exist, and their founders did believe in something when they first started them. The problem is that these companies’ core beliefs aren’t clearly defined. Nobody has put them into words.
And if they’re not put into concrete, relatable words, then the core beliefs don’t exist.
The most loved companies stand for something – and they shout it out over and over again.
The point is, all your actions must be run through the filter of your core belief. If you don’t, you risk incongruence in your company, which can tear you down over time. But as long as you’re consistent with them over time – and intentional – your core beliefs will permeate everything you do. In other words, you will lead with your core beliefs.
Think about it this way – imagine Whole Foods selling Oreos. Imagine BMW building cars that are just mediocre. Imagine Disney making pornographic films. Those brands have the ability to do those things – they have the resources, knowledge, and personnel to make it happen. But those efforts would be counter to their core beliefs. They would confuse the marketplace and lead to a long line of disastrous missteps.
OK, I realize those examples are a bit far-fetched, so I’ll give you a real-life example.
Imagine your business lost half a billion customers in just over six years.
Heck, imagine if you even had a half-billion customers to lose! That would be pretty devastating, wouldn’t it? But that’s exactly what happened to McDonald’s between 2012 and 2018. Why did they lose all of those customers? Because their customer base doesn’t know what the company stands for.
McDonald’s sells deep-fat-fried, greasy french fries and not-made-to-order cheeseburgers on the same menu with the McFit salad featuring fresh leaf lettuce and mandarin oranges, and now, all-day breakfast. I look at that menu and say, “What are you?” They call it fast food, but it’s not even fast anymore!
Then there’s the McCafe Carrot Muffin. What the heck is that? Is it a bakery item? A dessert item? A lunch item? Do you guys bake all of a sudden? WHAT ARE YOU, McDONALD’S?!
I’m hard-pressed to come up with a single, clearly defined statement of what McDonald’s believes. That’s their fatal flaw: They believe that everyone should be their customer. That leads to inconsistent and incongruent messaging. As such, customers like me have a muddled picture of who they are and why they do what they do, which ultimately creates a subpar brand experience.
The point is, nobody can fully engage with your company if you aren’t clear about your core belief. And that’s why having a clearly defined, well-codified core belief – and shouting it to the world – is the single most important ingredient for creating a great brand experience.
Dip Dhingani, CEO at Creole Studios
“Different things work for different brands…”
Engineering design worked for Apple, brand ambassadors worked for Nike’s Air Jordans, exclusivity worked for Supreme, etc. But if you want to pin it down to that single greatest ingredient, then that’d be ‘user experience.’
You see, a great brand experience is all about perception. Regardless of the quality of the product or even number of units sold, a brand gets revered as a great one if its perception is cool, modern, and exclusive. If people feel good when they buy a product or a service, then for them it’s a good brand experience. Humans are creatures of desire. If you can create a wanting in people’s hearts and control that craving carefully until you fulfill it perfectly by providing your product to them at the right time, with the right reveal, then people’s minds are flooded with the chemical dopamine. It feels almost euphoric to them. If you can achieve that, then you can create a great brand experience.
Remember, its all about perception. Supreme’s brick reselling for $1,000 and Rothko’s pieces selling for millions is proof that what you’re selling isn’t important if people perceive it as cool, modern, and exclusive.
Morgan Lathaen, Marketing & Brand Coordinator at thumbprint
“Many people feel as though the way to create and executive a successful brand experience is through consistency…”
This is an aspect of brand strategy. However, brands can become irrelevant when they choose consistency over change. There are times when a brand must able to be flexible. Knowing when to change and be flexible with making changes is the most important part of a successful brand strategy. Flexibility allows you to take your brand to new heights. Don’t let consistency hold you back.
Alistair Dodds, Marketing Director & Co-Founder of EIC Marketing
“The single most important ingredient for creating a great brand experience is to know your audience…”
You have to match and align your target audience’s needs with your product or service solution. Only by knowing the problems they have and are facing can you build a brand experience that will engage with them on a deeper level. It’s what drives true brand equity and loyalty. Failing to do significant market research and testing messaging with them will hurt your bottom line in the long run.
Bryan Osima, CEO of Uvietech Software Solutions Inc.
“Have empathy for your customers and put them first…”
If you can empathize with your customers or the customers you are trying to reach, it will inform everything you do with regard to making sure you meet their needs (creating products and services of real value to them) and treat them the way you would like to be treated (provide great customer care).
It will ensure that you create products and services that meet their needs and requirements and that in every interaction you have with them, you treat them with the same respect, attentiveness, and courtesies that you would also expect yourself.
The most successful brands are the ones that keep this in mind.
Slisha Kankariya, CMO at With Clarity
“A fantastic brand experience is all about creating a consistency across all platforms that customers are communicating with you on…”
It’s essential to have a singular tone, consistent imagery, and feel. These are the intangibles that will make customers feel confident and secure in your brand and messaging. The more disjointed it looks, the more it will feel like the company won’t be able to deliver on it’s promises.
Ciara Hautau, Lead Digital Marketing Strategist at Fueled
“I think usability is definitely the most important ingredient…”
You could have an incredible design or wonderful value offering, but if no one can use or access it (easily) then you will lose customers. Always keep in mind: Who is my target audience and how can I make this product most accessible and user-friendly to them?
Andrew Alexander, Online Business Consultant at
“The most important thing for creating a great brand experience is…”
The customer support and being there for our customers when they need us the most. With personal responses to every email, always doing the best for the customer, and having their best interests at heart (instead of financial gain), even customers who may have had a poor experience due to a product being damaged during delivery always turn around to be our biggest fans. I can’t stress enough to put the personal element back into your business, no matter how large or how small your organization may be.
Stacy Caprio, Business Coach at Stacy Caprio Inc.
“The most important ingredient to creating a great brand experience is surprising the customer in delightful ways…”
This can include sending a surprise note or gift along with their order, or any fun email, call, or text they are not expecting. Anything that brings an unexpected smile to their face will help them remember you in a positive way by creating a great brand experience.
Jack Wight, CEO of BuybackBoss.com
“Personalized customer service…”
This is the single most important factor in gaining repeat customers and amazing reviews. We’re extremely in-depth when we train our team on how to do customer service, but encourage each member of the team to use their own personal touch. Fostering a fun and helpful culture internally creates better experiences for our customers and many raving reviews.
Ronald D’souza, Digital Marketer at Angel Jackets
“The single best ingredient for brand experience is to…”
Give them something to talk about. Giving them something to talk about encourages your customers to share their photographs, tag you, and mention you. Once you’re able to utilize the posts of your everyday consumers to promote your products, you will create a fantastic brand experience.
Michael Stahl, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of HealthMarkets
Your customers want to have a positive experience – no matter what you are selling or offering – and by keeping the customer as the primary focus of who you are and what you do, and maintaining focus on providing a positive experience for the customer, you are one step closer to having a great brand experience.
Creating a great brand experience is an ongoing, multi-faceted process. A digital asset management solution like MerlinOne makes it easier to maintain brand consistency and create an exceptional brand experience for every interaction.
Download our white paper, The Business Case for DAM, to learn how MerlinOne helps you manage all of your ﬁles across your content, publishing, advertising and marketing channels, making it easy to find, organize, version, approve, use, and export your content to a range of different destinations with ease.
Business Case for DAM
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