Why EVERYONE is talking about the Brand Experience
2020 proved to be a game-changer for every industry – notably, print. The pandemic forced a rapid virtualization of many aspects of doing business, which in turn forced us to re-think how we operate, sell, and market. Fast-forward to today, where some businesses have adapted well – while others still struggle – begging the question: what will be the differentiating factor for companies this year?
The answer – BRAND.
Building trust throughout the buyer journey is critical, as is maintaining that trust once you’ve won the business. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, the pandemic has accelerated the erosion of trust around the world. People are looking for leadership and solutions; they’re quick to reject anyone – or any brand – deemed not credible.
More time spent at home during lockdowns, means more time spent online. According to Stats Canada, online shopping has doubled during the pandemic – while social media usage has increased by a whopping 69%! With more and more eyeballs online, capturing attention is harder than ever. Your potential customers are not going to stop and pay attention to their feed until they see something that stands out.
Blink! And they’re gone.
It’s more important than ever that prospects understand how you help them within the first 5 seconds of visiting your website. With an innate ability to tune out marketing completely, this generation’s business buyers make their decisions by starting their research online and in groups. They rarely deal with a salesperson until the later phases of their buying journey, migrate to companies that align with their beliefs and social causes, and seek trustworthy resources to help them make an educated decision.
Brand is more than a logo. It’s more than your tagline. It’s more than your messaging. It’s all of those things wrapped up in an experience that leaves a positive – or negative – feeling that resurfaces every time it’s encountered. Jeff Bezos said it best: “Brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Today, it takes more than 10 interactions before brand recall even begins to set in. These 10+ “touches” come in many forms, including digital marketing, social media, advertising, websites, cold calling – and print, which has the strongest memory recall of all. Each touch is an opportunity to create awareness, build trust and develop a relationship.
Print puts your brand in the palm of their hands
Physical, touchable, smellable, colourful print complements immersive and interactive digital customer journeys with fun, one-of-a-kind experiences. Providing a multi-touchpoint, engaging and relevant omnichannel experience becomes a brand-showcasing opportunity at every step of your customer’s buying journey. And NOBODY builds a memorable brand experience better than the print industry. Direct mail and postcards are just two examples of how printers can literally put your brand in the palm of your customer’s hands. Adding interactive elements, like augmented reality and QR codes heighten the experience – and brand recall.
Print puts your brand in front of the camera
With more and more calls taking place over video, it presents a great opportunity to show off your brand. Don’t wait for a trade show to wear your logo’d shirt – wear it on camera! Better yet – send your branded swag to your customers, prospects and influencers. Lanyards, clothing, wall graphics, mugs, water bottles – even pens – if it shows up on camera then it can be branded.
People share your brand with other people
Give your buyer a chance to connect on a deeper level with the people in your company – as well as your brand – and learn more about why you are the right business choice for them. Using new social selling techniques, brand ambassadors can connect with, understand, and cultivate relationships with your audience – whether it’s on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok or somewhere else.
One LinkedIn study showed that over 70% of all sales people have adopted social selling – if you’re a millennial salesperson, the adoption rate is nearly 80%. People buy from people – not companies. Today’s salesperson is not pitching products and services. They’re online, using proven techniques focused on helping prospects transition from “I’m just looking” to “I’m ready to talk dollars”.
New approaches to selling – and buying – behaviour has heighted the need to know exactly where your business is coming from and who is making the buying the decision. Brand experience is what separates YOU from the competition. And it’s no longer in the hands of the marketing department. From the floor sweeper to the CEO, every employee is a brand ambassador – with the power to share information and knowledge about who you help, how you help and why it matters.