It seems like all the talk with businesses today is about the “experience”. Business leaders in their respective industries mention this experiential aspect between a brand and her customers. This brand experience is typically discussed with reference to technology and its ability for us to engage our customers differently and at record speed.
Every other month or so, we hear new developments on existing platforms and innovations promising a groundbreaking way to engage with our customers. It’s honestly an exciting yet perplexing time to be in.
Speaking of technology, there are brands who view digitalisation as a negative disruptor to traditional marketing. However, this perception cannot be further from the truth. Embracing digitalisation is the key to making your brand current and relevant to customers – finding out how it works, discovering opportunities and how it fits into your all-encompassing brand strategy.
Here’s where brand experience comes in and makes the business-meets-technology phenomenon exciting for businesses today. Brand experience is about delivering a sensory experience to your customers, developing a long-lasting, but more importantly, meaningful relationship with your brand.
The great thing about the previous statement is the absence of the “when” and “how” that relationship begins. That’s because brand experience is all about making it happen. The means of how it’s achieved is left to the creativity of us marketers.
Welcome to digital marketing
It’s important to note that today, we have businesses who have either embarked in digital marketing and have seen its potential, thereby believing in it, or others who don’t due to a bad experience or a lack of understanding. Remember that digital marketing is a means of achieving your business goals, just like traditional marketing. Though they may not be as flashy like a billboard ad, or like other experiential technology like augmented and virtual reality – digital marketing is a vital component to the growth and success of your brand – one that cannot be ignored.
In 2018, a Nielsen study found that the top digital channels for generating revenue and increasing sales were social media (79%), search engines (73%), online video (63%), and email marketing (59%). According to the study, chief marketing officers spend the most resources on these channels and for good reason – they work.
There have been vast improvements to email marketing, and social media since their early days. They are advanced, driven by self-learning algorithms, and gives insights and metrics on the performance of our campaigns – some of which are not even possible to know without their platform.
The invaluable benefit to all this is the access to a world of customer data. A well-planned digital marketing strategy gives you the ability to target specifics like demographics and interests. Search advertisements (ads) allow customers and potential ones to find you, while display ads build on your brand awareness.
Another thing that is bringing brand experience to another level is retargeting – a nifty tool that allows you to retarget those prospects that didn’t “buy” from you when they visited your website.
The point of having all these digital channels is to allow your customers to experience your brand through different touchpoints – each one delivering its own unique experience for engagement. Further, each platform gives you newer insights into your audience’s behaviours, allowing you to improve your campaigns based on the insights discovered.
When you have a suite of digital channels at your disposal, it gives you the ROI you’ve been seeking for; more leads, growth in sales, more subscribers; and best of all, an impactful brand experience that your customers will never forget.
Embracing digital technology
Digitalisation gives us the perfect opportunity to reevaluate our brand and how we go about promoting it. Technology enhances how we serve our customers and clients by providing more touchpoints to connect them with our brand. The data, along with tools, allow us to strengthen our narratives and build more amazing experiences for our beloved customers.
The sad truth is that not all businesses are hopping onto the digital train and reaping its benefits.
In Singapore, our economy is now in a transition period of digitalisation which is causing a significant gap between businesses. Those who embrace technology will thrive and the laggards will, unfortunately, be left behind.
New generation marketers who are more digitally savvy, tend to have a quicker adoption rate to new technology and thus are more inclined to experiment and suggest such technology to develop brand experiences.
360 Facebook Post by Star Wars
Source: Ad Age
According to a brand experience study in 2017, “42 percent of Asian marketers tap into sensory interaction as a way to personalize brand experience.” And we don’t just mean digital platforms – these experiences can also happen in the form of traditional marketing like ad spaces at bus stops but using technology to enhance interaction.
The Vanishing ATM by POSB
Source: Untitled Project
On a larger scope, technology allows us to humanise brand experiences – the more human they are, the more easily relatable a brand is.
Bring out your creativity
As people are having shorter attention spans and demanding answers within the touch of their smartphones, creativity in digital marketing becomes integral to successful brand experiences. Take DBS Bank for example. In May 2018, the bank launched “Your Financial GPS”, a digital financial advisor.
“Financial GPS” interface in DBS ibanking app
Source: Business Insider Singapore
The in-app advisor was designed to help people “navigate through life’s changes, uncertainties and opportunities” through the advisor’s ability to analyse transactions and classify them in general categories for financial management. The encompassing brand experience is for people to think of the bank as a brand that is more than just a place to store your savings. Creativity in digital marketing is possible for any industry, even for routine activities.
As marketers, our tools of the trade have gotten a lot bigger – and more tools equals more opportunities to engage your audiences. It is with certainty that digital marketing has a cosy place in bringing brand experience to new heights. New avenues for engagement can be created, fostering conversations and interactions with customers like never before.
Where brand experience is concerned, digital and traditional marketing are becoming one when businesses start seeing and embracing brands as an experience rather than a one-way communication channel. After all, the whole point of developing your brand is for it to exist as an entity that is not bound by any physical space or technology – it’s meant to be in the minds of your customers.