Why do we choose one brand over another?
It could be that you heard good things about the brand by word of mouth — one of the best ways to spread information, good or bad. Or, maybe you read something. Either way, opinions matter. If someone you trust has been using a service that they’re happy with and they refer you, you’re more likely to check it out. Or, it may be that it’s the brand your parents have always used, so trust is high.
Another way is through comments you’ve read. Social media and online reviews have become a popular ways to get information. It’s easy to find a rating or a review by both satisfied and dissatisfied consumers online. You can learn a lot from the experiences of others. Reviews can tell us how items fit, how good the service was, how clean a restaurant was or how tasty the food was and so on. As consumers, the internet also gives us an opportunity to engage with each other, ask questions and follow-up on comments. This all contributes to our decision-making process.
However, nothing trumps the personal experience you have with the brand and the emotional connections you make with a product or service you enjoy and value.
I was thinking about brand experience on a recent road trip. What defines a positive experience? Everyone and everything is different. I decided it boils down to preferences and choices.
After driving for several hours, I stopped at a service station to fill up, stretch and grab a snack. Lucky for me there was a coffee shop and a convenient store next to each other. In fact, their service counters were side-by-side. Now, I’m not one to stand in line, so despite the fact the coffee shop offered healthy choices and more appealing food options, I chose the convenience store. Why? Because there was no line-up at the convenience store counter. For me, convenience and quick service are things I value. Standing in line is not a positive experience for me and I relate a line-up with slow service.
People prioritize the things they value. I value healthy choices over junk food, but not before a long wait in line!
If you’re in the service industry, every experience someone has with your brand is important, especially when you’re offering similar products to your competitors. Think of auto insurance providers. The loyalty to stay with one provider over another may boil down to how quickly they answer the phone, how helpful they are when you need advice or how quickly they process your claim. You may also decide that a slight increase in fee is well worth the extra value and positive experience you have with the brand.
A positive brand experience is going to build a closer consumer connection to your brand. It will generate loyalty and trust and lead to referrals. Consider the experiences you want your customers to have with your brand. How will you ensure you deliver those experiences?
Next time I travel, I may choose the coffee shop over the convenience store, but that will only depend on the experience I’m looking for!