The Future of Brands is Experience

The Future of Brands is Experience. Close your eyes for a moment and think about a time when you had a truly great brand experience – an experience that engaged you, that moved you, sent those little tingles up your spine, captured your heart and mind… and made you want to share it. Now think… what was so special about it?

Today, businesses are no longer the sole creators and curators of their brand because consumers are right in the thick of the very act of creation with them – sharing experiences, conversations and personal expressions of the brand. The experience divide today is between what brands ‘say and do’ and what people ‘feel and share’. In this new era of business – where your brand is defined by those who experience it – the desire to deliver new, captivating, compelling experiences (that defy hedonic adaptation) is what’s truly driving innovation and consumer engagement. As my friend and author Brian Solis says, “In our connected society, if an experience isn’t shared, it didn’t happen.”

When I close my eyes and think of experience, Cirque du Soleil always comes to mind, and not just because it’s an “experiential brand.” Cirque has a special way of talking to the audience, of forging a relationship and transmitting its unique energy. The entertainers bridge between the acrobatic aspect of the show and engaging the spectator by continually breaking the fourth wall that typically divides you from the action. But it’s more than that. At every touchpoint from online to offline, the brand carries a level of playfulness, creativity, curiosity and wonder. This is not the circus of old. Cirque is a brand built for our short attention spans and our fast-paced, digitally immersed, multitasking lives. I mean… who’s reaching to check their phone at a Cirque performance?!

But… my brand cannot possibly be as exciting as Cirque du Soleil… you say. If we define a great customer experience as something that a customer feels, senses, craves, dwells on, shares and ultimately feels compelled to take action on – then can’t we say we want that for any product or service? Do you know what people feel about your brand? How they experience it? Do you know what they say when you’re not in the room? Don’t all these questions make you think that being human-centric is what every brand should strive to be?

If experience is the sum of all engagements and the unforgettable moments a customer has every time they encounter your brand, then there is an ongoing organic opportunity to realign, make new investments in technology, and reassess business models to more effectively engage at every touch point in the customer journey. Experiences are at the core of all things that are disrupting the brand world today. It’s the way we make people feel when they spend time with our brands that truly resonates. Those who get it will be those who thrive, prosper and live to see many more glorious sun-filled days.

As Maya Angelou proffers, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Michael Chase, CMO
St. Joseph Communications


Posted on March 28, 2016 in Marketing, Technology, Trends

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About the Author

Michael Chase - a true hybrid – part strategist, part data monkey, part creative director, part global growth hacker (when you're doing bic pen tracheotomies you still have to think of EBITDA) and through and through an innovator.

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