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The Experience Effect

January 6, 2011

In “The Experience Effect”, author Jim Joseph talk about how to engage your audience with a consistent and memorable brand experience. While reading the book, I have really become aware of what brands I am loyal to and which brands I seem to resist, whether consciously or not. Joseph emphasizes because marketing is a spectator sport, we can all learn just by watching brands in action.

We are constantly exposed to and interacting with brands.

Even clicking on a banner advertisement can bring you to a website, that happens to sell an item that you love that you didn’t even know you wanted and happens to be offering free shipping that day. These kinds of interactions are our personal experiences with brands that completely shape our perceptions. They subconsciously influence our feelings towards the brand and the value that we allot them. After a good experience like this, it is our job as marketers to continue to create that consistent brand experience with each specific consumer interaction. For example, websites should use the same brand character as the company like colors, fonts, and imagery.

Joseph uses two very relevant examples to explain our nature as humans and how it affects our consumerist behavior. In his opinion, J Crew does an excellent of branding because it works for him and not necessarily for everyone. With all good marketing, a strong and consistent brand message that is specific for your targeted audience won’t work for everyone. For him, J Crew’s website is designed for easy ordering, he can navigate by his clothing type, and new items are at the top of the page for frequent shoppers like him.

Although Joseph has been going to a coffee shop for years he is beginning to second-guess his loyalty as the experience continues to be more and more erratic and inconsistent. I agree with Joseph, although the coffee is pretty consistent, the lines and messy counters at a café seem to make me question my time and money there.

We should never create an opportunity for competitors or reasons for loyal customers to experiment with other options.

Ultimately, the goal should be to uniquely fulfill consumer needs so that there is absolutely no reason for them to look elsewhere. Whether that be an email newsletter sent out to a segmented audience with a clear consumer history, keeping the colors consistent between your website and brochures, or staying dedicated to keeping timely customer service.

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