Tuesday, March 11, 2008

“Moving from a brand image brand to a consumer experience brand”

Just found this little discussion piece. Think there is some interesting points about a new starting point for brand communications...
Brand image as a business driver is an outdated model for understanding how consumers relate to companies and brands.

It relies on an old assumption that was probably wrong when it was designed (primarily in agencies) and certainly is getting less and less right. This assumption is that brands can deliver a brand message in mass media and that this will in itself create brand love.

It was probably always wrong because it does not get a couple of fundamentals about the way that people understand, absorb information and gain ‘experience’ of the world around them.
Actually we react not to what people say but by what they do. Actions speak louder than words. The medium is the message is the way to explain this in a cultural or brand context.

It is certainly getting less and less right because a couple of the key pillars that drive it are breaking down. People do not have to listen to brand messages and do not consume the channels that deliver them in the same way. The only stuff that gets through are the things that people choose, things of value to the individual. Ads can be dialed down or ignored more and more easily because generally they do not offer anything of value.

On the other hand what is valued is the consumer experience that is delivered. Whether this be in a direct product related way such as help about how to use a product, or in a more extended general way such as an interesting project that involves them or captures their interest at least.

For this reason it does not make sense to think first about brand narratives or personality – the big brand message that could work as a piece of advertising… Instead the starting point should be to think about the consumer experiences that the brand delivers within and between every communications touch-point.

What kind of experience would this be?

Experience is how we learn stuff so what do you want to teach?
Experience is something we participate in by choice.
Experiences are live, lived and real things in our lives rather than brand image which is the big unknown incalculable
Experiences happen in destinations – retail and digital spaces
Experiences tie products and brands together
The experience of using a product should be married to the entire experience a brand gives... i.e. if your product offers creative thinking tools then so should the brand through every thing it does.

“So decide what you want the consumer experience to be and then work up and outwards from that”

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