Trends for Brand Experience Design

There are a couple trends that we’ve been watching for a while that leads us to believe there is something big happening to the traditional marketing and advertising mindset. Not just the fact that the players in the industry are changing (even though that’s part of it), but more the consumer and social behaviors that are surrounding business and how that translates to the idea of advertising. A stat that keeps us up at night is that by 2020 consumer experience will become the number one differentiator over product and price. I think this is a result of these trends. For us the future is Brand Experience Design, where we create an interconnected brand > consumer relationship with a foundation of a brand purpose that is fulfilled at every touchpoint.

Advertising Isn’t the Cure: The first trend is that consumers really don’t like advertising. Well, at least what advertising is. A disruptive message that intrudes on a particular channel (i.e. TV, Snapchat, Print, etc). In this highly-connected society, we have found a way to continuously put advertising on everything and we don’t hold back. It has gotten so bad, that there is an entire industry built around blocking advertising from our lives, from ad blockers on our iPhone to no ad subscription models. Hell, the city of Sao Paulo has even banned outdoor advertising to cut down on visual pollution in its city. I believe we have gotten here for several reasons, but feel that the current state of advertising follows a formula and mindset on consumer behaviors from the 1960s, not today.

Brand Purpose: There was a great article in the New York Times last week that vocalized something that we’ve been noticing over the last couple years. Consumers are using businesses to make their voice heard. Whether it’s boycotting a company because of labor disputes or supply chain sourcing or becoming extremely loyal because of the stance a company takes on politics, consumers are using their wallets and their voices to make a stand with brands as the target. There are many factors that is causing this behavior, but with the turmoil in our current social environment, consumers don’t feel as though their voice is being heard anywhere else. So, they take to their daily purchase activities. This is causing brands to become more transparent, which in turn forces them to become something more to consumers; a leader in a particular value system. Consumers are expecting brands to have a point of view, a sense of values and a position of good in society. Those that aren’t or are against a consumer segment values are being battled in a very public way.

Brand Experience: Established big brands and new up-and-comers are starting to react on this trend. They are seeing that their companies need to have a different point of view on business. They are looking at the consumer first and building product and brand experiences that support the needs and the values of their consumers. Only when these two mindsets intersect will a company be successful in the future economy. Companies like Warby Parker and Tesla have built their entire business model at this mindset intersection. Warby Parker has a brand point of view that aligns fashion, value and good to create a brand experience that completely delights their consumers. Tesla has done the same at the intersection of innovation, celebrity CEO and driver experience. These companies are successful because of their experience, not because of their advertising. We’re also seeing the big boys get in this mindset with P&G announcing they are cutting $2billion from their media and agency budgets to support a product mindset of Irresistible Superiority. P&G’s Jon Moeller said, “When a consumer has an Irresistibly Superior experience with our products and packages, it raises their expectations for performance in the category. It makes it hard for them to go back to what they were using before."

Key Takeaways

  • Stand for something and build that into your brand purpose.
  • Create products, services and moments that fulfill that brand promise.
  • Build a brand experience that immerses the consumer in your purpose.
  • Find your true fans, those that have the same values and build relationships with them.
Paul Miser