Brands are really just a fancy way to talk about a compilation of your customers’ experiences with your business. These customers experience brands a lot of different ways.
As customers’ interactions with companies (brands) are increasingly online, shouldn’t we shift our focus? Why do we still believe traditional marketers should control branding? Why are we afraid to put branding power in the hands of the digitally-driven folks? After all, for many current and future customers, your website is your brand. It’s the hub, the driving force behind all of the experiences customers have with your company. People are spending as much or more time online as they are watching TV these days – and that’s not just the teens and 20-somethings. Digital is already driving brands, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.
Online-only businesses are obvious examples, but increasingly, traditional brick and mortar and B-to-B businesses are reaping benefits – and raking in sales – by creating digitally-driven brands.
Let’s review a familiar example: Best Buy. They’re still an electronics store with lots of semi-annoying helpers in blue. The face-to-face experience will never go away. It’s just enhanced by a bevy of online communication tools.
For example, customers can reserve products online (on a phone or a computer) and pick them up in stores.
Once they take products home, they can talk in real-time to Best Buy’s customer service folks through Twelpforce, a group of 2,200 Best Buy employees who answer customers’ questions and solve issues via Twitter.
If customers come up with grand ideas that would make their experiences better (a key component of branding), they can share them at Best Buy’s IdeaX.
Best Buy has tackled everything from creating a streamlined mobile site to customer and employee forums, blogs, and Facebook applications on their fan page. They’re all over digital branding. In other words, they create positive customer experiences through the tools, accessibility and information they provide online.
Now, I know you’re thinking: well of course she believes in digital branding…she works at a digital agency! And that’s fair. As an early adopter and digital marketing geek, it’s easy to see why I’d be a proponent. But there are plenty of people backing me up these days. And there is plenty of new research that supports the theory. An example? How about this Razorfish report about digital experiences driving brands. I think you might like it.
Slide 8 is my favorite:
- 65% of consumers have had a digital experience change their opinion about a brand.
97% of consumers say their digital experience influenced whether or not they eventually purchased a product or service from that brand.
So tell me: how do your customers experience your brand in this Digital Age?
Miranda McCage is an Associate Digital Strategist at MediaSauce. She’d like to hear about how you’re developing a brand with digital. Contact Miranda at 317-284-5683, on Twitter @mirandamccage or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.