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Brand Communication Is Brand Experience

April 15, 2019

Brand Communication Is Brand EsperienceEverybody knows by now that it’s not what your market thinks of your brand that counts. Your customer could spell out, in bullet points, everything that’s wonderful about your product. That doesn’t mean you’ll make the sale. Decisions are made by the lizard brain – in the limbic system. That’s what governs emotion. We know now that what matters is how a market feels about a brand. And that is determined by how the brand is experienced. So how does your market experience your brand? Do customers come into a retail environment? Do your clients lunch in your office? Is your trade show booth the place where you interact with your primary buyers? These are all experiential events wherein the people who matter most to the success of your brand actually get to rub shoulders with it. Promotional and advertising campaigns also give your market a taste of your brand. But, for most small and middle-market businesses, there is no retail environment, no hosting clients at lunch, no trade shows. There aren’t ever any promotional events. There’s no budget to do any real advertising. How then can the brand ever be experienced?

It’s all in how you communicate with your market. It’s not just a matter of giving your clients or customers the information they need to make smart buying decisions. It’s the manner in which you impart that information. Most buyer personas are thoroughly researched and codified. Businesses know what makes their customers tick. Once identified, the business has to meet its buyers where they live. It has to match up to their markets’ values. (If you can’t do this, you’re in the wrong business.) Markets have to see businesses as belonging in their lives. That’s the prerequisite for even beginning to market to them. 

If you’re in a B2B market, assemble the logos of all the companies who purchase from you. Put them all on one screen. Now add your logo. Does it belong in that group? Is it of the same quality in design? Legibility? Meaning? Does it stand out – but in a bad way? Odds are your potential clients see this too. They won’t let you in their world if they think you don’t belong. Run a parallel exercise comparing websites. Does your site seem up to running with the big dogs? If not, time to upgrade that site.

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Visual communication is paramount. Purchasers use that information to let you in – or screen you out – of their lives. Once you’re in, you have to talk to them. You have to learn about their problems. Describe the solutions you can deliver. But, again, it’s not just the words you use. It’s the way you use them. The language you use, the tone of voice, will differ if you’re selling to skateboarders or to boards of directors. 

It’s those visuals, that vocabulary and that tone of voice that your market experiences. This is how they “feel” you. This is how they determine if they have confidence in you and whether or not to buy from you.

Every business has to communicate with its market on some level. It has its website. It has its visual identity. It may have sales representatives talking to clients on the phone. A brand strategy should provide directions for creating the kind of experience the business wants its customers to have through those interactions. Most businesses never create brand experiences like trade show booths or promotional events. In those cases, the only experience of the brand comes through its brand communication. Best to put some thought into it. Speak to the human brain and the lizard brain.

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