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3 Ways Brands are Reshaping the Customer Experience

  • Rob Patterson

According to CB Insights, the term ‘customer experience,’ as well as other variations of it, was mentioned a record 2,710 times during earnings calls in the third quarter of 2019. While this an abnormal statistic, to say the least, it speaks to the fact that brand executives are fully aware of the importance of experience in 2019. After all, the better experience you provide for the consumer, the more likely it is that you’ll retain their loyalty over the long run.

However, there’s just one small issue. Despite this heightened focus on the customer experience, the Temkin Experience Ratings show that most Americans currently view their experiences with brands as simply “OK.” How can your brand ensure that its experiences are a cut above the rest? Read along to find out some of the ways that today’s top brands are reshaping customer experience as we’ve come to know it.  

 

Extended Engagement Takes on a New Meaning

tacobellhotel

Whether your brand is of the brick-and-mortar retail or direct-to-consumer variety, chances are that you’d like to find ways to create longer-lasting, immersive experiences for loyal and prospective consumers alike. Experiential marketing can be a great way to do that, and some brands have taken these extended, in-person engagements to the next level. For example, look no further than Taco Bell and its pop-up hotel in Palm Springs, California (right). Touting a four-night experience filled with new menu items, exclusive merchandise, and other branded surprises, the fast-food giant was able to sell out rooms in a matter of mere minutes.

Likewise, lifestyle brands such as Shinola have taken this concept to the extreme. Headquartered in Detroit, the luxury goods retailer – most well-known for its watches – opened up a permanent hotel location in the city as a physical manifestation of the thoughtful design of its products. While it wouldn’t be wise for just any brand to sink money into a permanent hotel location, we can expect brands to continue to treat their customers as guests in order to shift away from the more transactional relationship of years past.

 

Continued Focus on Human Connection

Once consumers have stepped foot inside your store, your employees become your most important ambassadors – for better or for worse. Though technology has become an increasingly important tool to augment the in-store experience, the reality is that customers want to be able to interact with humans, as well. In fact, 75% of consumers say they’ll want to interact with a real person even more as technology continues to improve.

How are brands enabling their employees to connect with consumers? Walmart decided to expand use of in-store robots that perform more menial tasks like mopping floors or re-stocking inventory. As a result, employees who were once occupied are now free to help customers with any questions or concerns they might have. Meanwhile, in the non-robotic realm, Glossier launched a program wherein its office employees were given the opportunity to work shifts at retail locations in order to connect with consumers and gather real-time insights that they would’ve otherwise been unable to glean during day-to-day duties. Going forward, we can expect that brands will continue to invest in training for customer-facing employees with the hope that they’ll build authentic connections that lead to lifelong loyalty.

 

Appealing to the Five Senses

As we noted in our Experience is Everything: 2019 Trends in Experiential Marketing report, engaging the senses has become a key tactic in experiential marketing activations to create an em

otional association with a brand’s products or services. After all, studies have shown that a pleasant smell alone can cause shoppers to spend an extra 15 minutes in your space.

Mastercard Macarons

But what about taste? That’s a question that Mastercard recently tackled. In partnership with Kreëmart and Ladurée, Mastercard created two custom macaron flavors, Passion and Optimism, in an effort to translate the brand’s identity into taste. In conjunction with the macaron release, Mastercard is also positioning its brand around culinary experiences – all with the goal of meaning more to its consumers than just a plastic card. Why food? As CMO Raja Rajamannar said in his press statement, “People expect a lot, but sometimes what they don’t expect can make a more lasting impression.”

Is your brand looking to improve the customer experience through the power of live events? Contact us today to learn how our suite of experiential-led services can help you connect with consumers and earn lifelong loyalists.

Sources: CB Insights How Brands are Using Emotion to Transform the Shopper Experience 2019, Marketing Dive Mastercard Adds Taste to Brand’s Positioning with Custom Macarons 2019