build brand affinity 2: their experience

Delightful experiences build emotional connections.

Why? Because we remember people mostly by how they make us feel.  What is it that makes us feel? Our experiences. Literally. When you experience something, your nerves pick up on it and send signals to your brain to tell it what’s happening. Your brain then responds by producing hormones and neurotransmitters that directly stimulate your feelings.

So, if experiences give rise to feelings, and feelings determine our customer relationships, then our goal is simple. We need to make sure that when consumers engage with our brand, their experiences evoke positive, delightful feelings. This way, everytime they think of us, they feel delight. They now have an emotional connection to our brand.

So how do we do this?

Identify your touchpoints.

First, we need to identify all the possible instances where a person can engage with our brand. These are called ‘touchpoints’ and they vary depending on your brand. Common brand touchpoints include:

  • Your website or app
  • Your advertisements
  • Your social media presence
  • Your physical location and its exterior & interior environment
  • Your product, its packaging, its shelf presence, etc
  • Your employees (whether in person, by phone, via email or live chat)

So how do we make sure all of your touchpoints stimulate a positive, delightful experience?

Leverage psychology to design delight.

Be consistent. Your brand should have a visual and verbal identity that permeates all your touchpoints consistently. Whether a consumer is on your website, unpacking your product or stepping into one of your locations, each of these experiences should feel familiar and consistent with one another.  Consistency is important because the brain needs it to feel trust. When consistency is broken, we have a discrepancy which makes it difficult for a consumer to trust us. If a consumer can’t trust us, how can they possibly establish a positive emotional connection with our brand? A talented brand strategist and designer can help you create a visual and verbal identity to permeate all your touchpoints, giving them a sense of consistency and familiarity.

Apply empathy. How are you communicating with consumers? Are you talking with them, or are you just talking about yourself? Top sales people make great copywriters because they know that effective selling is not presenting your product or service. Rather, it’s asking the customer about their needs and then showing them solutions. It’s a conversation. Take a look at the customer communication throughout your touchpoints. Are you just talking about your products and services, or are you showing consumers that you understand their pain points and giving them solutions?

Remove friction. Seamless digital experiences are essential to foster positive feelings. Have you ever visited a website where it was hard to find what you were looking for? Have you ever downloaded an app that was too complicated? Did you enjoy being frustrated? In order to have a pleasant digital experience with your brand, consumers need to feel as little friction and frustration as possible. They need an intuitive experience that helps them find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. This is why it helps to work with a designer that has a strong grasp of user experience concepts such as information hierarchies, layout architecture and gestalt design principles. Employing these will help you design intuitive digital experiences for your customers. 

The little things make the biggest difference. Try to incorporate pleasant surprises into your touchpoints. You can do this by going above and beyond to show your appreciation for your customers, or by giving them extra value they weren’t expecting. For example, let’s look at a restaurant that’s fulfilling delivery orders via Uber Eats. In each order they can include a small, inexpensive snack with a small paper attached via a toothpick. The paper has a picture of the owner with a hand written thank-you note. A pleasant little surprise like this shows your appreciation, gives value and helps build an emotional connection with the customer. By infusing pleasant surprises like this in all your touchpoints, you’re casting your net for consumers’ hearts much wider.

The final touchpoint that leads into our next post, is your team. They present the biggest opportunity to create emotional relationships with your customers. So how do we make sure that your people treat other people well? Behaviour is always more wholesome when it’s fueled by a set of values…