If branding is all about creating awareness of your brand promise, brand experience is proof of the lengths you’re willing to go to deliver that promise.
Brand experience seamlessly integrates every touchpoint your target audience has with your brand across multiple channels,. This shapes the way they experience and relate to your business in a very holistic way.
Why is brand experience important?
In this age of information overload, your potential customers are bombarded with marketing messages from the moment they look at their device. You might have the snazziest campaign in the world, but they will scroll right on by unless you give them a really good reason to slow down and take a closer look.
An effective brand experience captivates your target audience by showing them you understand who they are and what they want. This lays the foundation for a deeper emotional connection and an enduring affinity with your product or service.
Brand experience vs. Experiential marketing: What’s the difference?
Simply put: brand experience is a vital part of your overall marketing strategy, and experiential marketing can be part of that brand experience.
So what is experiential marketing, anyway? Well, the name says it all—experiential marketing is all about offering your audience an authentic, interactive experience with your brand in a live environment. You’re handing them the reins to explore it the way they want to. The goal is to help more people get to know your business better, allowing you to build brand awareness on a larger scale.
The best experiential marketing encourages potential customers not only to actively engage but to contribute and share user-generated content (UGC). Word of mouth is a major factor when it comes to converting experiences to sales. A staggering 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 70% trust opinions from other online consumers. If you want to boost your bottom line, you need to offer experiences that give people something to talk about.
8 examples of exceptional brand experiences
These businesses actively encourage meaningful interactions with their audience in unforgettable ways. The brand experiences they offer their customers are great sources of inspiration, no matter how big or small your marketing budget is.
1. Patty and Bun
The offbeat experience begins with an animated walking burger and gets weirder (in a great way) from there. Keeping pace with current events, the London-based burger joint has a huge “lockdown DIY kit” button on their landing page. Click the button, and customers can purchase made-to-order burger assembly kits that are then delivered straight to their doorsteps. The website also features curated Spotify playlists, wearable merch, gift boxes that include house-made hot sauce and “Patty Pils” beer, and the owner’s original artwork on recycled cardboard.
2. Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League
This Florida-based animal shelter’s interactive “Meet Your Match” survey helps pet seekers match up with the perfect adoptable dog or cat for their household, an experience that feels paws-itively personal. If you want to take a closer look at where your furbaby-to-be lives, you can experience an immersive 360-degree virtual tour of the facilities. That’s not all—the website also offers pet-themed virtual storytimes for kids and parents to enjoy.
3. Rococo Ice Cream
Melding together handcrafted flavors like garam masala, molasses gingersnap, and mango citrus thyme isn’t the only thing that this indie Maine ice cream parlor specializes in. If you join the Pint Club, you can please your palate with four shipments of artisanal ice cream, delivered on your doorstep each year.
Locals can also skip the lines and order the ice creams of their choice online for same-day pickup. You can also take part in the test kitchen to sample some of the newest delightfully exotic flavor concoctions. Afterward, you’ll get a shot at winning a free pint of your choice when you fill out an online survey afterward.
The Scottish whiskey distillery had the whole world laughing when they launched their huge successful #OpinionsWelcome campaign. The global contest encouraged entrants to express their most “expressive, poetic, and downright unusual” descriptions of the whiskey’s flavor palate in a text box on their website. The five winners received an all-expenses-paid trip to Islay, Scotland (home of the distillery) with a private tour. Their descriptions and full names were also printed on Laphroaig containers for the world to see.
Speaking of containers, each one contains a booklet with a unique reference number that entitles you to your own honorary “plot” of land at the distillery when you sign up on the website. And, although most events have been canceled this year, they offer live virtual whiskey tastings to tide their target audience over.
5. Inspired by Iceland
Iceland might be a tiny country, but when it comes to tourism, its marketing campaigns leave a pretty big impression. Take the “Inspired By Iceland” website, which offers a virtual “Iceland Academy” to teach you “the most essential things you need to know before visiting Iceland”. (“Avoiding Hot Tub Awkwardness” is one of them.) After each lesson, you take a quick quiz.
When you complete all six classes, you get a “diploma” to share on social. The rest of the website offers trip planning ideas, as well as a pledge you can digitally sign promising you’ll refill your bottles with kranavatn (tap water) on your trip to prevent plastic waste.
6. Imperfect Foods
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In this time of uncertainty, we're working hard to deliver veggies and other grocery staples to folks across the country. While we all love carrots and potatoes, we want to spread awareness about some under-loved root vegetables. 🥔 Turnips can work as a stand-in for potatoes. Roast ‘em, mash ‘em, and stick ‘em in a stew and you’re in for a cozy dinner. 🥔 Parsnips offer a mild, delicate flavor that lend themselves well to being pureed for a creamy potato substitute or as a team player in a seasonal soup. 🥔 Celery root is aromatic and sweet when roasted or simmered in a soup. Be sure to peel it thoroughly and try pairing it with herbs like thyme or rosemary! 🥔 Beets are earthy and sweet when roasted. They're perfect in your next salad or grain bowl. Save this post for reference and head to the link in our bio for more root veggie tips! What's your favorite root vegetable? How do you like to cook it?
This grocery delivery startup was founded on a premise that was ripe for the picking: ugly fruits and veggies are rejected by supermarkets as “unsellable” even though they’re still perfectly edible. While reducing food waste is the brand’s raison d’etre, Instagram is their tour de force. Ugly food “models” (with googly eyes) are the Insta-stars of their feed.
This Kentucky-based bakery has a kitschy space-themed website that is truly out there. With animations and parallax backgrounds that make you feel slightly loony, navigating the site is an experience itself. You can visit the recipe lab, purchase branded apparel, and even personalize a box of Moonpies!
But as spaced-out as the company seems, their social media feeds are full of down-to-earth humor that keeps the brand authentic and accessible. With a huge following, they know how to keep their fans and followers hungry for more.
The Toronto-based jewelry store was looking to promote its minimalist tarot card-inspired jewelry collection, so it only seemed natural that they would host free tarot card readings with real local tarot card readers right in their stores. Not only did these readings lure lovers of all things tarot through their doors, but it also created quite the social media buzz.
Mejuri keeps in regular contact with its fans via email. Their newsletter offers personal touches like movie recommendations, and playlists tailor-made for their target audience.
How do you create a great brand experience?
Your potential customers won’t interact with your brand unless they can get a clear sense of who you are and what you can offer them. This is the core purpose of your brand identity. A well-designed logo, solid brand voice, and other branded assets are the first points of contact people will have with your brand. Remember: if they don’t like the look of you, they’ll look the other way!
Design your logo in under 10 minutes!
Once you have a strong brand identity, you build on that to offer your customers a brand experience they won’t forget. Here are a few ways you can do this:
Encouraging interactive participation, also called “gamification”, is one of the easiest ways to increase the amount of time your audience engages with your brand. Gamifying content allows people to forms an organic connection with a brand. Fun quizzes, games, surveys, webinars, and free ebooks encourage that “back-and-forth” that will keep your business at the forefront of people’s minds.
Over half of consumers want to see videos more than any other form of media from the brands and businesses they support. Ideas might include “About us” videos, videos to answer FAQs and explain how your product or service works, and real-life product or service demonstrations.
In-person interactions will always be the best way to put a face to your brand. These can still be virtual though! Let’s face it, nothing is more authentic than actually meeting face-to-face with the people “behind the scenes” of a brand. Conferences, panel discussions, fundraisers, art galleries, pop-ups, happy hours, workshops (virtual or in-person) get people talking about your event before, during, and after!
A solid social media presence across multiple platforms creates strong connections and builds trust with your customers. Remember, social media has the word “social” in it for a reason: it’s a two-way street. In addition to planning and publishing regular posts, make sure you respond to comments, answer questions, and share your customers’ content.
Contests not only help you reach out to prospective customers, but they keep your existing customer base engaged. For example, you might encourage your followers to tag or share pictures of themselves using your product to be entered into a prize draw. Not only is this fun for your customers, but it helps get the word out about your business. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Awesome brand experiences show that you understand your customers love. They show that you’ll go above and beyond to give them what they’re looking for. By allowing your audience to actively engage and contribute, a growing number of prospects will feel an enduring personal connection to your brand.