Branded Customer Experience: Building Authentic Relationships
What do you remember when you see a paper cup with a big, yellow, curvy “M” on it?
Chances are, even if you don’t see the name of the business printed on the cup, you will know that it’s from McDonald’s, right? The company’s logo is so ingrained in our consciousness that we don’t even have to look at the item twice or analyze it deeply to know where it comes from.
Such is the power of branding. But did you think slapping colors and logos together was all it took for large companies to build a brand? That was not all; they incorporated these into the customer experience.
Many eCommerce business owners are looking for ways to improve their online sales. They may be on the fence about whether or not they should invest in branding, but it’s important to understand that without branding you won’t have any control over your customer experience.
So to help you understand everything about branded customer experience and how you can apply it to your store, we’ll discuss the following in this article:
- Website Branding
- Email Branding
- SMS Branding
- Social Media Branding
- Branding in Packages and Products
What is Branded Customer Experience?
Branding goes deeper than just your color theme and logo. It’s the way you present what you offer to the world. It’s what people feel about your products or services when they’re not engaging with them.
How do you know you’re purchasing from Amazon and not eBay? It’s the branding. Or, how do you know you’re eating at McDonald’s and not Burger King? Still the branding. When a person sees the name of a brand they know, they already have an idea of what they’ll get.
Your branding can also remind your returning customers of what they previously experienced with your brand—like how we know what we’ll get when we order a pizza from Dominos. It’s not enough for your product to have a lot of sales. You also have to stamp your customer experience in your customer’s heart.
When you get it wrong, it affects everything about your brand since customers will only have negative thoughts and experiences.
Your brand experience is everything from the look and feel of your website and logo, to the customer’s experience in making a purchase, to how your customer service team resolves a customer concern.
It’s why well-trained customer service teams are so important these days. More importantly, customers now have direct access to companies, making the customer service team the first point of contact if they have issues. Now, how these issues are resolved determines if your customers will become loyal or not.
What is the difference between having a brand and being a run-of-the-mill store?
Having a brand is giving your customers a chance to remember you and hopefully in the future would come back as a return customer and purchase from you again.
If your brand is selling on huge online marketplaces like eBay or Walmart, you’ll have no control over customer experience. Since you’re selling under a name that’s not yours, it might be easy to forget your brand, if you have a brand at all. What people would remember is the name they got the product from, like “Oh I got that from eBay”.
However, when it comes to your online store, you’re in full control of the whole process from the beginning to the end. Not only would you control the copy and pictures of the products, but you’ll also control the layout of your store, shipping methods, all brand values, and even refund and return policies. Choosing to create your store using Shopify is already a step in the right direction when it comes to branding.
Why is Branded Customer Experience Important?
When your customers have a unique experience with your brand, it becomes difficult to find such an experience elsewhere. And for this reason, customers will seek you out for more.
Sometimes, a positive brand experience is all a customer needs to choose your brand over another. Thus, having a consistent branded customer experience as a foundation will often lead to more exciting engagements between you and your customers/clients.
Here are a few reasons why branded customer experience is necessary:
- It makes it easy for customers to find you online
If they have a unique experience with your brand, they’ll usually want to share what they experienced. In this day and age, word of mouth spreads like wildfire through social media. And if their friends also had a great experience with you too, then that’s double the marketing power you’re harnessing.
- It creates more opportunities for targeted marketing
Your company could share the experiences your customers had with your business. You can also use these stories to create case studies or tutorials that make it easy for other businesses to emulate what you did.
- Your branding will be consistent throughout all platforms
From your website to social media, everything has to be in sync with your brand. To keep things simple, you should have one central idea that connects all customer experience mediums together. This is always the best approach because it makes it easier for people to remember and recognize your brand everywhere they go.
- You get multiple channels of feedback from different sources
It allows other people (your team or potential clients) to understand how your customers think about your product or service. And in turn, you can use this feedback in the future to improve the quality of what you offer.
- It helps with customer support
The experiences shared by different customers may include stories that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your services. This information is very crucial when it comes to developing better support practices for your brand if ever you choose to expand into other markets someday.
- You get multiple channels for marketing through word-of-mouth
When someone’s happy with what they experienced, they’ll usually want others to know too (which means more business opportunities). On average, people tell at least 20 people about their experience with a company whether good or bad. So it’s always better to give your customers a positive experience so that they tell their friends about it.
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most authentic ways to market your business because you don’t have to pay for it. This doesn’t only benefit your brand but it also benefits your customers since they get rewarded with discounts or coupons when they take part in spreading the word about your brand.
Today, having an unforgettable customer experience is more important than ever before. With all the brands competing with each other, customers are now looking for higher quality services to make them feel special. So make sure to reinforce this belief by creating a great branded customer experience every time!
How to Build Branded Customer Experience
You can’t have a solid customer experience without preparation. Before you start any campaign or launch any products, you must know what your audience wants or needs. Once you have this understanding, you can appeal to your customers with real, meaningful, and unforgettable experiences.
The key to creating a solid brand experience lies in understanding the expectations of your customers and surpassing them. Something like additional support and care might just be enough to surprise your customers.
Also, a solid customer experience must be consistent. This way, you can provide more positive experiences in addition to the great services you offer.
While it’s important to understand your audience, there’s a more scientific meaning to it. According to the book, “Customer Sense: How the Five Senses Influence Buying Behavior” by Dr. Aradhna Krishna, engaging with two or more senses of your customers makes more meaningful and unforgettable experiences.
Senses can work effectively with experience. Pair the two together in a mutual relationship and it will benefit your brand experience. Thankfully, there are several ways you can use senses to your advantage—including creating different product contents.
Now, let’s look at how to get your branded customer experience right.
Your website is a crucial part of your brand that gives your customers the branding experience. Most people make sure to research anything they want to purchase.
So if your website has the content such customers are looking for (especially if you’re selling the product), then your mode of presentation would determine if they make a purchase or not.
A website with good branding can generate a kind of trust in people that don’t know about your brand but are making their research.
If you have a Shopify store, remember it’s highly customizable, making it one of the best eCommerce platforms to make a good branded experience. To emulate the branding techniques of big brands, here are some tips:
- Know What You Want For Your Brand’s Website
Every website is designed with a purpose. So, knowing why you’re creating a website for your brand is the first step towards achieving a good branding experience at first glance.
On the same note, when you define your website’s goals, it helps you to know the best way to show your brand to your audience. This example from PayPal, for instance, clearly shows the goals of the website.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- What is the purpose of this website?
- What is the goal of the website?
- What is the value proposition for this website?
- What do I need to be unique when compared to the competition?
Though these questions don’t account for all aspects of your website, it does help solidify your approach to building a branded customer experience on your website.
- Right Tone of Voice
Remember to always write any piece of information using your brand’s tone of voice. What is the tone of voice? It’s the way your brand converses with customers. A tone of voice is not determined by how you talk in real life or on social media. It’s based more on what you say, what you avoid saying, and what words are unique to your brand.
Now, if you have a large audience that regularly interacts with your brand, you have a solid base to decide your tone. If not, searching for reviews of your brand’s products and listening in on how people talk about it would help you find out what kind of conversational tone they expect from your brand.
Your brand’s tone of voice must be applied across the board: from your website’s homepage to the product descriptions, to your social media pages, advertisements, and more.
A good example of a company making a tone of voice define their brand is Old Spice. During their rebrand in 2010, they switched to a witty brand voice laced with humor, which is consistent across their social media accounts, website, commercials, and more.
- Don’t Forget Your Brand’s Logo
Your logo is at the core of your brand’s identity. It’s one of the first things visitors see on your website. Don’t just use any cheaply made logo for your brand. It would be best if you made good investments in the design of your logo by hiring a professional designer.
However, if you can’t add it to your budget, you can use online logo makers. Canva has free logo templates that can give you an idea of how to properly create a professional-looking logo. However, unique elements from Canva cannot be trademarked so make sure you consider this when designing your logo.
- Right Colors, Right Feeling
The use of colors to reach certain emotions in visitors is not a new thing in marketing. For this reason, you should critically think about your brand’s identity before choosing colors randomly.
Think about what emotions you want to set off in your customers and then find the color that transmits these values. With this, you can effectively communicate the value proposition of your site and facilitate a stronger branded customer experience.
What is email branding and how is it different from email marketing? Email marketing is an advertising tool that delivers information about products and services to customers. Email branding, on the other hand, is a way of making sure that your brand fits with how you treat your customers through email.
Think about it this way—a company that has stellar customer service makes a great impression on its customers because it can make them feel special. If you want to be able to do this through email branding, make sure that your brand’s tone of voice in customer service fits in the context of the email in question.
Not only does it help create a good branded customer experience for customers, but it also helps build trust with your company because you are treating everyone with respect while being consistent with your brand.
For a successful branded customer experience, you need to craft a brand voice in all your campaigns, and that includes SMS marketing campaigns. But, how does one create an unforgettable voice with a limited number of characters?
- GIF or images
You can do it by being witty in a way that is consistent with your brand’s tone of voice. For instance, if your brand voice likes to make jokes, you don’t have to add the text in the message! Instead, you can use a picture or even a GIF to send the message across.
The key is to make sure that your tone of voice fits the context of the message you are sending. If it’s a joke, use something funny. If it’s an announcement, make sure it’s direct and information-packed.
A good example is Starbucks using their unique style in responding to subscriptions during their frappuccino promotion:
Emoji marketing is another way to improve the tone of your SMS marketing. The tone of any message is set by the context, which you can make more playful with emojis.
The use of emojis in SMS branding is not limited to texting about your goods or services but also includes responding to customers. It’s a great way to build up your relationship with customers by making them feel that they’re talking to a real person and not a machine.
If you’re using Shopify, you can use WinBack for your SMS campaigns. You can add images, gifs, and emojis to your messages without issues.
Social Media Branding
Since the majority of online interactions happen on social media, branding yourself on this platform is important. To create a successful branded customer experience through social media, you need to ensure that your content matches your customer service and brand voice.
What does this mean?
Content should be created in a way that matches what customers would expect from your company. If your brand is witty and fun, have a sense of humor in the content you post—but don’t cross the line.
Of course, social media platforms can be as unpredictable as they are powerful, so everything might not turn out as planned. For that reason, it’s important to think about how you will respond to any negative feedback, whether it’s in public or private, to make sure your brand keeps its image.
- Social Media Management
To create a branded customer experience that customers will remember, keep your content to 30 seconds or less . Keep your audience in mind when creating social media campaigns to ensure that you are able to deliver the message you are trying to get across to them.
Social listening is also very important on social media because it’s how you will be able to figure out who your audience is and what kind of topics you should be talking about. Whether it’s through social media management tools or third-party social listening, having this information will help you create better content that speaks directly to your customers.
- Customer Relationship Management
Every customer is unique, which is why it’s important to create a personalized brand experience for everyone who interacts with you. To do this, you need to learn everything about your customers— what they like, their hobbies, interests, etc.
For example, if a customer reaches out to you and mentions that they are very passionate about dogs, you can respond to them with content related to this topic. This way, customers will know that you care enough about them to learn how they feel about certain topics and act on them accordingly.
Take a look at how Burger King maintained their brand style (casual tone of voice) while considering their customers’ thoughts:
- Customer Service
By using the same tone in customer service as you do in marketing, you will go a long way in creating a successful branded customer experience.
However, it’s important to remember that customers will never forget bad customer service no matter how great your branding is. In fact, the type of customer service you deliver is a big part of branded customer experience! That’s why you should be able to respond quickly, accurately, and nicely when customers reach out for help through Twitter or Facebook messenger, or any other social media platform you use.
Not only is quick response time important, but so is solving issues as quickly as possible. Customers want to feel valued and appreciated, and a way of doing that is by constantly going above and beyond to help them.
Branding in Packages and Products
Opening a package, even when the contents are something you have paid for, is a very exciting moment. Whether you agree with me or not, you are sure to experience a certain level of anticipation, which all goes back to when we were given gifts during holidays and special occasions when we were young.
Branded customer experiences are all about creating a memorable experience for your customers. They don’t want to leave feeling like you didn’t deliver, so show them that they made the right decision by giving them a great experience from start to finish.
One way to make it more memorable is with better packaging, which is why you should offer products in adorable packaging and present them in such a way that it seems like they’re opening their presents.
Take a look at how Dollar Shave Club packaged its products. The items are presented nicely, making the recipient feel like he has been rewarded with something.
Aside from giving a positive experience so that your new customers will become returning customers, awesome packaging can also help in word-of-mouth promotions! Especially right now when people like to take pictures and videos or everything and post them online. If people like what they experience, they will share it with others who will care to listen.
You can combine this with your social media marketing by recognizing user-generated content, which eventually helps build your branded customer experience!
Branded Customer Experience is More Than Marketing
Remember, your customers are people with lives outside of your company! They have goals and dreams just like you do. As a business that wants to grow, it’s important that you keep this in mind at all times because it will help you create more authentic relationships with customers.
Getting to know your customers is an important part of branding because it shows that you care about more than just their dollars. When you’re able to show that you understand them, they will feel that they are being listened to rather than just talked at or at least talked around. They’ll have more of a reason to trust the brand and will be more likely to come back.
Creating memorable experiences is what keeps people loyal, which means that branding doesn’t stop at the register. It’s about delivering on your promises and making sure that customers feel heard, valued, and appreciated so that they keep coming back for more; that is the authentic Branded Customer Experience.
One of the fastest ways to establish branded customer experience is by SMS Marketing. If you haven’t started on this now, it’s best you give it a shot by signing up to our 14-day free trial.