The experience matters, and it is no longer optional. For an organization’s leaders who want to advance their brand, they know that every decision can build or break brand loyalty. Creating exceptional experiences should be at the heart of every decision a company makes. But this isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
At The ExperienceBuilt Group, our interdisciplinary expertise helps businesses integrate and operationalize experience decisions. We combine the best of experiential marketing and marketing research principles to rearrange the strategy puzzle and lead with experience.
Another way to say this? We quantify the qualitative, so brands better understand their customers, employees and stakeholders.
It starts with three core beliefs
The ExperienceBuilt Group believes that Experience Enhances Everything. This summary of our core beliefs grounds how we approach our business relationships, and guides how we work with clients.
Our three foundational beliefs inspire everything we do:
1. The Experience Matters: Think of this as mass customization – efficient, multi-sensory engagement that is experienced individually. You set the stage, leading with experience design, to build relationships between your audiences and your brand.
2. Integration Enhances: The “whole” is greater than the sum of its parts. Design-focused organizations need to weave together learnings from many sources into one cohesive ethos that augments each individual thread.
3. Everything Communicates: We live in the “beyond advertising” era. Everything an organization does — no matter how small it may seem — says something about the organization’s culture and how it values the people who care about its brand.
When The ExperienceBuilt Group integrates marketing research and experiential marketing, we shift from “What do you think about ‘X’?” to “How do you feel about ‘X’?” This shift helps us get to “why” people believe something, not just “what” they believe.
Taking a people-centric, emotional approach to a feedback conversation yields more nuanced, actionable results. The truth is that we conduct research with people. So what we ask and how we ask it opens the door to better conversations.
We think of “respondents” as people, first. When we meet them where they live and work, we can make their participation in our conversation more rewarding for them, and ultimately the brands we represent. Then, we can learn what motivates them and provide insights that predict future behavior — a gold mine for brands.
Shift the burden
Our core beliefs infuse everything we do. And that means turning our own process on ourselves.
Consider how research gets conducted. Organization leaders need data interpretation to make informed decisions that will have an impact. But marketing research often focuses on “parts” instead of an integrated whole.
Rather than making the research process easier for us, an “enhanced experience” as framed by our beliefs guides us to make feedback collection easier on the people responding. We lead with emotion-based questions, asking about brand experience first to connect them to the brand. This provides a more accurate, deeply intuitive understanding of how people feel, think and act vis-à-vis a brand.
Those feelings can be converted into insights that inform experience improvements, leading to brand affinity. This improved, end-to-end, research experience produces more authentic, honest feedback that, in turn, helps remove friction from the experience – a perfect example of integration impact.
Would you be a brand fan or reconsider?
Organizations often have difficulty walking the talk and therefore make decisions that send all the wrong signals. Brands that don’t think about how all their touchpoints work together miss out on understanding and operationalizing for their ultimate experience.
How would you feel if…?
...a brand’s font choice was hard to read on a mobile device?
…a brand known for valuing positivity and happiness had entrance security procedures that rivaled Fort Knox?
…parking lot traffic patterns were so disorganized that it was hard to get in and out of a restaurant?
Much has been said in marketing about taking a 360-degree approach, and it’s all true. Today’s 360, however, requires more than an omnichannel presence based on data. To be successful, brand communication must create experiences that delight people at every touchpoint.
Authors Carl F. Mela and Christine Moorman, writing in Harvard Business Review, suggested the data used in analytics, and the analyst talent producing it, are causing a discrepancy. Their solution aligns with The ExperienceBuilt Group’s guiding belief that, if everything communicates, then an integrated 360-degree view must map, measure and revise (as needed) each touchpoint. EBG helps develop these personalized, emotional experiences, and continuously strives to improve them.
Why all this attention to how people feel?
Employees serve as brand champions who carry brand experience forward, the personification of an organization’s culture and its feelings. Consumers choose what they’re going to buy, where they’re going to buy, and how they’ll buy (onsite or online) based on their emotional responses to brands. These two examples illustrate why our core beliefs revolve around emotional connections.
Today’s consumers, and employees, are very vocal about brand connections — and how they feel about an organization plays a definitive role in its success. Brands who pay attention to “the experience” are setting themselves up to win share of heart.
When we can eliminate the disruption, brands communicate their innate respect for the people who care about them, creating lifelong relationships.
Building and delivering a solid experience requires strategic design direction up front. It cannot, must not, be designed in a vacuum. Rather, it must be engrained into everything an organization does. When organizations get the experience strategy right, the other pieces of business strategy fall into place.