By Marcia Degnan, CEO and Creative Director at Vivid Creative
As a small business, you know it all too well. Your client stops coming to your shop because they found something similar (if not the same product) at a local box store for a lower price. They stop shopping in your store. How do you compete with that well-known box store?
Don’t lose hope! You have a secret weapon – brand experience. Brand experience gives you an advantage over the box stores better than traditional marketing and deep discounts. Think custom packaging, personalized handwritten notes, calling your customer by name, offering them a cup of coffee when they come into your shop, etc. These things are memorable and set you apart from your competitors.
But what does creating that brand experience look like? Consistency of brand is key! From there you can utilize the power of brainstorming to develop unique interactions that keep your consumer top of mind.
Stay consistent with your branding.
Keeping your brand experience consistent from a customer’s first interaction to the final touchpoint is crucial. Your brand values and identity should shape your brand experience. For example: If you create natural products with lavender oils you may consider branded eco-friendly packaging wrapped in twine and a sprig of lavender. This unique packaging draws upon the values of your brand and is a small touch that makes a huge impact and a lasting impression.
Brainstorming is your best friend.
Begin by sitting in a quiet space, one where you feel comfortable and won’t have any distractions. Then, start a spider map, create an inspiration board or simply sit and write out any and all the ideas that pop into your head, no matter how silly they might seem. Let one idea flow into another, don’t worry about the logistics just yet. List your brand values and what is important to your consumer. Let that lead you into opportunities for your brand experience.
Take your consumer into consideration.
What will make their life easier, better, or flow smoother. How will they access this brand experience? How will they perceive it? Will a pop up shop at a nearby coffee house make it easier for them to shop for your products? Or, perhaps an online store might be better? You want to generate brand engagement. Find out how to do that by stepping into your customer’s shoes and understanding their behaviors. Also, don’t presume to know what they want… talk to them about what they want. Ex: A busy mom doesn’t go into the gas station to pay because she would have to get her child out of the car seat and it becomes a hassle. So how do you create the brand experience out at the gas pump for her?
Challenge for 2018: Every month, document at least one brand experience you had with another company (not your own and it doesn’t have to be in your industry) that you remembered and loved. It can be as simple as a cheese shop holding a tasting or a corporate company knowing you by name when they spoke to you on the phone. Seek these experiences out. Keep a list of what you liked and didn’t like, how you feel it tied in with their brand values, and ultimately, what you can use and incorporate into your own company’s brand experience.