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Branding is so much more than advertising, marketing, even internal communication. Every customer interaction with your brand defines that brand, and that makes every experience undeniably important. The catalyst for this blog aside from my love of great chocolate was a piece in branding magazine; The Future of Branding is User Experience. In that piece, Ethan Martin outlines the importance of user experience, specifically in the digital realm, when creating impressions of a brand. His claim, that user experience is more and more important in the role of branding, is based on the increasing amount of time consumers spend with a brand in the digital realm. Consumers aren’t looking to just buy an item from you.  They are looking for an emotional experience.  How it makes them feel is the end goal of any brand.

The Future of Branding is Everything

Branding has always been about more than advertising. In the future, that will continue to be the case and it’s always been true. So while we agree that user experience is the future of branding, it’s also the past and present of branding. In fact, every consumer interaction is branding. From your in-store experience to your on-hold messaging. The tweets your consumers send to your brand to your logo on a t-shirt. Every time a consumer sees, touches, or interacts with your brand, it’s branding. Freaked out yet? It’s a big world out there and that’s more moving parts than you could ever hope to control. What’s a marketer to do? Do a great job on the things you can control. While you may not be able to moderate every tweet that includes your brand’s hashtag, you can run a quality twitter feed. When you pay attention to all the little details, you create one giant lasting impression.

The brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what they say it is.  Marty Neumeir

Your Brand is Built on Thousands of Tiny Impressions

You can make all the TV commercials you want about how customer-centric you are, but if your customers are waiting twenty minutes on hold to talk to a grumpy customer service rep, what kind of impression are you leaving?

It’s the Little Things That Matter

When companies go the extra mile to make a difference, those are the companies that stick in the minds of consumers. Some personal favorites of mine are from the skincare company LifeCell that make sure to send out personally crafted thank you messages with every order.  Sure they could just send the typical computer generated one but it’s the personal human touch that makes the shopping experience all the more enjoyable.

When I want to send a gift to someone special, Nuts.com always comes to mind.  Aside from the great products they provide, they like to throw in some generous samples of other amazing products they sell.

For a guaranteed memorable experience, I look forward to my stays at Rotana Hotels because they never fall short of their brand promise to deliver “treasured times”.  My recent visit to Rotana’s  Fujairah Resort & Spa was especially rewarding because this hotel offers something for everyone.  I got to spend some quiet time while my children enjoyed playing with friendly staff like Mariette Njang who left such a huge impression on my kids that the never wanted to leave.  We even saw Mariette in other areas of the hotel and she never failed to call my kids by name and ask if they could come play. Needless to say, I will visit again because they leave a lasting impression each and every time. I’ve even tried and tested other Rotana’s in the UAE to see if I’d get the same level of satisfaction and they haven’t failed me.  I recall a recent encounter with Martin who is the Spa Manager at Beach Rotana.  Although my facial was great, his friendly attitude was what I remember the most.  This is what keeps people coming back for more.

Ways To Provide a Memorable Brand Experience

So if you look at the following list and think about how many of these you’re using to make a positive brand impression:

  • website
  • emails
  • packaging
  • on-hold messaging
  • customer service greetings
  • point-of-sale displays
  • contact forms

Every one of these is a chance to make a consumer impression so make sure you’re making the most out of each opportunity. How are you using them to your benefit and show off your brand personality?