At the end of the day, we want to cut through the noise and leave a lasting impression that grabs market share. But an ever-crowded space filled with brands and creators means your relevancy is always at risk.
When a brand experience is consistently good, it champions powerful brand recall, turns customers into advocates and builds credibility that ultimately increases your repeat business.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to build an exceptional brand experience with a step-by-step brand strategy framework that adapts to your customers’ needs, plus social listening examples that show how sentiment mining drives ongoing customer growth and retention.
What is brand experience?
Brand experience is the sum of all the feelings—joy, nostalgia, excitement—consumers experience during their engagement with a brand. This could be via your social media channels, website, in-store, during events or with your customer care team. All these customer touchpoints contribute to shaping the overall brand experience and leaving a lasting impression.
Your audience’s reaction to your brand, or their brand experience feedback, helps you gain insights into their preferences and motivations, and predict future buying behaviors. Unlike customer experience, brand experience extends beyond the act of purchasing a product or service, so feedback may not be directly from a customer and instead reflect the general perception of your brand.
The elements of a good brand experience
A well-developed brand experience differentiates you from competitors and engages your audiences and customers on a deep emotional level. This, coupled with an exceptional customer experience, ultimately drives customer acquisition and retention to fuel your business growth.
Here are the key elements of a good brand experience:
Consistency across touchpoints
Giving your audience a consistent experience requires cohesive brand messaging, visual elements, online user experience and customer service. It also means a unified experience across all the channels you use such as your website, social media, mobile apps, advertising or physical stores.
Consistency in your content and communication across all touchpoints is crucial for a great brand experience. Your brand voice and storytelling need to match the wavelength of your target audience so it resonates with their needs while staying rooted in your brand.
Choose what narrative you want to build and follow it through in all your communications. For example, if you want to focus your brand narrative around your product, ensure your content has the same flow across all social channels. In fact, The Sprout Social Index™ 2023 shows that posts about products are the most effective type of content among consumers.
A successful brand experience evokes a positive emotional connection with its audience. Customers go through a range of emotions (like happiness, inspiration or nostalgia) when they interact with a brand, and when the experience is positive, it creates a lasting impact that fosters brand loyalty.
By giving them something they want, you make customers feel like they are important and their opinions matter.
Personalizing your brand experience to match customer personas and preferences adds value and creates a sense of personal connection with your brand. Analyze feedback data with sentiment analysis to develop targeted content and customized offers that increase customer delight.
Customer engagement and participation
When customers feel like they are part of your brand, it instills a sense of ownership in them. This means encouraging customer-generated content, social media interactions, soliciting customer feedback and choosing relatable brand ambassadors to encourage advocacy.
Why does brand experience matter?
A memorable brand experience boosts brand recall and nurtures current and potential customers. This further strengthens your efforts to build brand loyalty and trust—two things that influence up to 58% of consumers’ decision to choose a brand over competitors, according to The Sprout Social Index 2022™.
Let’s dive into the advantages in detail.
It helps with market differentiation
A unique brand experience separates you from the competition. Whether it’s a catchy jingle, a mascot (think: the Gerber baby), exclusive behind-the-scene footage or curated in-store interactions, an immersive brand experience establishes a distinct and memorable identity for your brand.
Enhances customer experience
A unique brand experience captures customers’ attention, provides excellent customer care and encourages authentic engagement, leading to an elevated customer experience. Happy and engaged consumers are more likely to spend time interacting with your brand and explore your offerings with an open mind.
Fosters customer loyalty
When a good brand experience fuels your customer experience, it enables businesses to connect with customers on an emotional level that turns casual buyers into repeat customers. It increases the chances of customers becoming brand advocates, sharing their positive experiences on social or through word-of-mouth.
Builds brand equity
When a customer has a powerful brand experience and feels the brand aligns with their personal value, they use that as a benchmark when engaging with other brands. Our 2022 Index shows that 40% of consumers will choose such a brand over its competitors. This raises your brand’s perceived value, which ultimately leads to higher brand equity.
All the above advantages of a great brand experience contribute to a higher customer lifetime value (CLV) that increases profitability. Customers who truly feel connected to a brand tend to be less price sensitive because they value quality over price. They also contribute to a recurring sales revenue model.
What is a brand experience strategy?
A brand experience strategy is a framework outlining your plan of action to develop and implement an impactful brand experience throughout the customer journey. It is based on customer interaction, engagement and relationships and aims to measure and improve all these aspects.
How to monitor and improve brand experience in 5 steps
Building a brand experience strategy that provides a foundation for business longevity and customer retention needs foresight and structure. Here are five critical steps to develop a stellar brand experience.
1. Understand yourself, your customers and your competition
A strong brand experience starts from an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses so you know how best to provide value to your customers. In addition, you’ll need to know your target audience’s purchase motivations, buying behavior and opinions on competing brands. And, of course, keep an eye on how your competitors are playing the field and how audiences are responding to them.
That is a lot of information to keep track of and social listening data is often a crucial partner in this endeavour. According to The 2023 State of Social Media Report, 91% of business leaders say social listening impacts their critical customer insights.
Social listening involves analyzing conversations on social media and review platforms related to your brand and industry, which you can use to make better decisions. Sprout’s social listening tool analyzes hashtags and keywords, and captures trends from conversations across social networks like Twitter, Instagram and Reddit.
We synthesize the results into insightful reports that show how people are talking about and engaging with your brand, competitors and industry. These reports, when combined with other business intelligence you’ve gathered, give a holistic view of your entire brand experience so you have tangible insights into how you can elevate your brand.
2. Define your goals and objectives
Once you have a full scope of your business environment, you must define your goals and objectives. This could mean deciding what brand perception you want to build, how you want to differentiate from competitors or what emotions you want associated with your brand. Ensure your targets are achievable and connected to business goals.
Establishing this direction will help you obtain buy-in across teams, as you’ll need support from your entire organization to build and improve your brand experience.
3. Collect and analyze customer feedback
To get unbiased, relevant and targeted brand insights, this step requires collaboration between human expertise and intelligent automation that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) techniques like natural language processing (NLP), text analysis and emotion mining. Here’s how to use both to get relevant customer feedback:
Collect customer feedback from a variety of data sources to get reliable and holistic results. These include social listening data from relevant social networks (TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), review websites (TrustPilot, G2), forums (Reddit), sales emails and other business-critical channels.
If you conduct a survey to solicit feedback, ask customers specific questions about their interactions with your brand such as “What do you like most about our products?”. Allow for open-ended responses, like the example below from Yves Rocher, so customers have a chance to mention information on topics you may have missed in your questionnaire.
Once you’ve chosen your feedback sources, use a social listening tool, like Sprout, to capture and synthesize accurate brand experience insights from the data.
Text analysis classifies and processes text from social and review sites using NLP and machine learning (ML) to understand the conversational lingo and break it down into topics and themes for thorough data mining.
Sprout automatically collects and consolidates information from a variety of sources such as Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor and Google My Business, and analyzes the feedback data through text analysis.
NLP tasks such as topic classification use machine learning to attach a theme (food, drink, accommodation) to the feedback data. Semantic classification further ensures there are no duplicates. Named entity recognition (NER) helps Sprout to recognize brand names, locations and other named entities so it can draw insights based on authors, competitors or store locations.
All these AI and ML techniques ultimately analyze massive amounts of qualitative data quickly and accurately to give insights most relevant to your brand.
Once all the data is processed and run through the text pipeline, sentiment analysis interprets it for brand sentiment. Sentiment is measured for topics and categories and assigned positive, negative and neutral scores. These are aggregated so you get a holistic sentiment score for your brand and individual topics.
With Sprout, customize listening topics based on specific social campaigns and get targeted insights. These insights are presented as intuitive reports that can then be shared with multiple teams to improve the overall brand experience.
AI-driven business intelligence tools depend a great deal on the quality and relevance of the data they analyze to provide accurate results. For this, you need to choose data sources most relevant to your objectives based on key factors like social media demographics, market segmentation and audience demographics. This is where your experience and expertise become most essential to the process.
4. Adjust your strategy based on learnings
Once you’ve completed the data analysis, apply the results to your brand strategy. Consider taking these actions:
- Categorize insights from your feedback analysis for a holistic view of your current brand experience.
- Prioritize areas that need immediate attention and take actions to address customer pain points consciously.
- Build on what customers expect from you and cover all customer-journey touchpoints, such as in-store experience, website user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), social networks, sales and customer service.
- Make sure your brand experience is consistent across all mediums (videos, social posts, events, TV ads).
- Pay special attention to your social media presence for stronger customer engagement and support. This is key, given that 22% of customers expect you to respond on social media within 1-2 hours, per 2022 Index data.
5. Measure your brand experience and track it regularly
Monitor and measure your brand experience continuously with metrics that speak to your customer experience, customer engagement, brand perception and reputation, customer retention and revenue.
Assess the effectiveness of your brand strategy against these metrics in conjunction with your objectives on an ongoing basis to proactively meet customer and market shifts.
3 Brand experience examples
These examples demonstrate how brands can use social listening analytics to truly understand their audience and build thriving brand experiences that support their growth.
Netflix garners tons of social media comments from its 232 million subscribers. They leveraged this massive source of customer opinions for robust insights to build a brand voice that’s authentic and differentiated from others.
They also leaned into social listening to draw inspiration for relatable content and create unique, ownable moments on social (Netflix memes). Based on their audience’s social conversations, they developed new content categories like “Netflix is a joke” and “strong black lead” and dedicated Twitter handles to drive awareness with compelling storytelling that added to the conversation while increasing engagement.
2. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls wanted to revitalize their brand experience to engage and connect with fans on a deeper level. Through Sprout’s analytics and Advanced Listening, the Bulls sought to uncover emerging trends amongst their audiences and better understand what content resonated most. They also dove into audience attitudes and opinions for insights based on audience demographics and geographic location.
As a result, they found opportunities to level up their entire social presence by creating compelling and interactive content (behind-the-scenes footage, interactive fan contests and player features), and responding to fan comments and posts that don’t tag them but are about the team.
This further solidified their place amongst the passionate sports fan community. With improved content, community management and authentic engagement, the Bulls raised their brand experience on social while implementing efficient data flows that enable timely optimizations.
Health technology company NutriSense wanted to reinforce its brand mission to achieve better health with a compelling brand experience on social that educates while impacting the marketing funnel. They used Sprout to gain data-driven insights into customer opinions and preferences that would transform interactions with their audience. They discovered user-generated content was the key to achieving their goal and fueling audience engagement.
NutriSense adjusted their content strategy to incorporate posts that encouraged customers to share candid feedback about using NutriSense’s health suite. Using Sprout’s Smart Inbox, they actively monitored and engaged with respondents to keep the conversation going and collect user-generated content.
This personalized interaction created a deeper sense of community, built a safe and supportive environment for customers and helped develop social proof around the brand. With this elevated brand experience, Nutrisense’s social media engagement grew by 45% within 18 months and their community saw an increase of 469%.
Start building a brand experience your customers love
Your brand experience is a dynamic process that needs to be continuously refined to reflect your customers’ changing preferences and adapt to moving market trends. It starts with a strong foundation that takes advantage of the billions of customer insights waiting to be harnessed with social listening. By listening to the conversations that reveal your audience’s needs, aspirations and ideas, you create an environment that continually feeds customer loyalty while proactively improving your brand’s reputation.
Read how you can take measured steps to refine and polish your brand perception in the market on an ongoing basis.
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