There are moments in life that share a deep connectedness with what it means to be human. These moments can be as profound as meeting a significant other for the first time or as simple as sharing the last slice of pizza with a friend. The experiences they create are powerful and moving, and they are often held onto as mementos of joy and the good in life. Though they may be on a different level, companies and their brands are trying to tap into hearts and minds of consumers with the hope of creating equally memorable experiences. The process is called experiential marketing, and the results can enchant customers for life.
Think back to the last big purchase you made or gift you received. Whether it was a new car or an engagement ring, assuming a lack of buyer’s remorse, there is often a bond between the owner and the item. The items become more than a shiny piece of metal or a stone; they can represent happiness, freedom, coolness and even love. It follows naturally that you tell your friends, share pictures, tweet and bask the in the experience that feels unique to you. The best brands not only provide for these moments, but they are also encouraged and listened to.
In marketing there’s a notion of brand perception and awareness. From the first time you hear about a new company, product or service, you begin to form opinions about what it means to you. Is it good? Is it bad? Why or why not? In turn these opinions will solidify over time, and through communication they can become the first experience to the brand for someone else. Thanks to web 2.0, these experiences can be tied together in the form of general sentiment and reviews and become what Google has coined the “Zero Moment of Truth” or ZMOT. What happens to you can become the critical influence over the next person in line. The sentiments take on a life of their own and out for the seedlings of the first customers, a large mosaic is formed for the better or worse.
Companies have begun to take notice. This process behind the Zero Moment of Trust will happen with or without them, and as a result they wish to steer the ship. They track everything they can about customer experience from all of the social channels and manage the customer relationship. Every time the company sends an email, makes a phone call or has an event, they are keeping a pulse on the holistic experience. In turn, the best of the best brands engage the customers along the journey and strive to smooth over any rough patches and amplify the shining stars. Like a good friend, they begin to know you and how you feel about them in return. When done correctly, it fosters brand ambassadors and lifetime customers- the value can’t be overstated.
Think about your customers and the experience they’ve received so far. Are they just another wallet or are you trying to build something deeper? How can you create or strengthen the bond with every touch point moving forward? The lifetime value of a customer goes far beyond a quarterly result and the companies that understand this will not only survive, they’ll thrive.
When have you been moved by a brand experience?