Category Opinions

Seeing is no longer believing; brands are now believed when they are ‘experienced’


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Brand Experience, not just a fad

A brand can be viewed and implemented from many different perspectives. One traditional assumption is that a brand is just a logo and identifier, namely seeing the brand, whilst others now see a brand as a rich source of cognitive, affective and sensory associations created through various forms of communication, namely experiences. Here at Chalk and Ward Advertising, we approach the brand as the latter, and challenge our clients to think in the same way.

So how did this all start? Well, it has been suggested that the rise in ‘commoditisation’ from informed customers and more intense competition has forced marketing to find fresh ideas and look beyond ‘traditional’ methods of simply presenting your brand. Contacting your customers once a week through the local paper whilst using your logo as an identifier no longer cuts the mustard. It’s those marketers who notice this that can thrive in such an intense environment.

This movement of marketing and branding illustrates how consumers seem to show a willingness to ‘believe’ and absorb brands, and want to be presented with more than just a logo. This inherent eagerness of the consuming population gives the marketplace an opportunity to build a dynamic future for brands to create a ‘brand experience’, and as an agency, we are definitely not ones to ignore this.

Furthermore, individuals have internal drives or motivating forces that are activated to seek out novel information, signifying the rise in an experiential economy and a brand that needs to saturate itself into such an economy. Therefore, a client’s brand must become not just an identity, but a relationship between the customer and what they can get from the experience if adopting said brand.

It is therefore normal practice for very good agencies to consider each individual project that is done for their clients, and how all of these separate experiences create an overall brand experience.

Brand Experience

The Trust Obstacle for Brands

From practice, one of the hardest obstacles during this is the need to create an understanding within these consumers that the experience belongs to that specific brand, and that no other similar brand can take the credit for. Communications that are more ‘random’ and are not created specifically to compliment the brand are much more likely to be detrimental to the trust customers hold for the products and experience. Trust is rooted in the result of past brand experience (which can be built over years). Simply put, inconsistency can disengage the consumer from the experience and can therefore disengage from your brand. Customers are only human, and the ‘let down’ feeling is all too familiar!

A common example of a brand that uses its presence to create an experience is McDonalds. They exploit people’s senses by using their unique vivid colour combination so that when you see the giant yellow and red sign on the motorway, your visual sense automatically brings back associations with the brand and the experiences you have had before. The food, smell, price and convenience are tempting you in via that one visual trigger. Experiences and communications through sight, smell, taste and sound have all been tied up via this one visual. So, we could argue that seeing is believing. But would we have anything to ‘believe’, if we hadn’t experienced the brand in the first place?

Chloe Harvey – Account Executive