90. Bettering Your Brand Experience, Part 2
Five ways to create pleasurable experiences
The Product Economy led to the Service Economy which led to the Experience Economy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this short piece to get in the know.
You read it already? Great. Let’s get talking about experiences then.
Experiences matter, especially when you’re trying to build a great brand (is anybody out there trying to build a bad brand or a mediocre brand?)
The more pleasurable a consumer’s experiences, the more likely they will establish an emotional bond with your brand or product
The key words here, my friend, are “pleasurable experiences” and “emotional bond”.
Pleasurable experiences lead to emotional bonds. This is a proven fact and something we’ve known for a long time as it relates to inter-personal relationships. You had pleasurable experiences with your significant other, which led to emotional bonds. It’s a rom-com story as old as humanity.
What you need to understand is that this same idea relates to experiences with a brand or product, not just with other people.
Close your eyes.
Wait, open your eyes. You can’t read with your eyes closed. Silly me.
Now, with your eyes open, think of a product or brand with which you have a strong emotional bond.
Got one in mind? Good.
Now think of the pleasurable experiences you’ve had with that product/brand. What were your feelings? What were your emotions?
Since I know you didn’t actually do what I just asked of you, let me get to the point: there are five ways in which you have pleasurable experiences with a brand.
The Five Ways To Have Pleasurable Experiences with A Brand
Humans have five senses with which we experience the world: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.
Our relationship with everything everywhere relies on these sensual experiences.
This applies to our experiences with products, brands and services. The way we translate our sensory information dictates our perception of the brand. Since there are five senses, there are five opportunities to create a pleasurable brand experience.
When I was in high school I loved Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies. L.O.V.E.D.
The sight of those small, bite sized cookies peeking through the white box with the blue logo, the sweet smell wafting into my nose when I first opened it up, the soft chocolatey goodness in my mouth... I’m drooling as I write this. (I.think.I.just.short-circuited.my.spacebar.)
I would eat an entire box of Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies in one sitting and then yearn for more. The sensory experience - sight, smell and taste - created in me an emotional bond with the Entenmann’s brand that remains to this day, many a decade down the road.
The moment I see those white boxes with the blue logo while I’m walking down the cookie aisle in the grocery store, I have an immediate craving for chocolate chip cookies. (Had they not been discontinued, I would probably be in a sugar coma right now.)
Like Entenmann’s, the best brands recognize that such emotional connectivity relies on stimulating more than one of our five senses. Which leads us right into the Starbucks store.
Bucking the Senses
Starbucks understands the power of sensory attachment and leveraged it to build one of the most influential brands in the world.
This little coffee company purposely built their in-store experience to engage all of our senses. And they did it very well. Check it out, yo.
Smell: The moment you step into a Starbucks, you will immediately smell the roasting coffee beans. The smell will help you associate the brand with one that prides itself on coffee. This tactic is designed to have the scent of coffee - any coffee, anywhere - be immediately associated in your brain with the Starbucks brand.
Sound: The barista is usually grinding beans, a sound they purposely don’t try to quiet. The sound of coffee reinforces the experience you have with the scent of coffee (see above) and reinforces that connection in your mind with the Starbucks brand.
Even more, you will be greeted with a smile from a Starbucks staff member who talks in a happy tone and asks you questions that require a full sentence response. If you’re a regular, they will know your name and your regular drink. They will always call you by your first name when your drink is ready. They are trained to do all of this - to let you experience the sound of a comforting, familiar experience.
Like the bar on Cheers, Starbucks is fully aware that people want to go to a coffee place where everybody knows their name... and their drink.
Sight: Starbucks leans into the color green. In design, green is used to help eyes relax. It is a color associated with health, optimism and comfort - all feelings integral to the Starbucks brand.
There are green awnings, green aprons, green on the cups, on the signs, on the walls. You see people sitting at tables enjoying a coffee and talking with each other. Smiling. Relaxed.
The simple sight of Starbucks is designed to elicit these feelings of comfort and happiness.
Touch: Starbucks cups are insulated… but not that insulated. When you pick up the coffee cup and wrap your fingers around your favorite drink, you can feel the warmth in your hand. You’re supposed to feel that warmth. It is the feeling of comfort and familiarity that you have, so far, sensed through smell, sound and sight.
Taste: Taste is the piece de resistance of the Starbucks experience. By the time you get to the taste, you’ve already been tantalized by your four other senses.
Each order is handcrafted to the customers taste, made specifically to create a pleasurable experience. If you don’t like the taste they will make you another drink - no questions asked.
That’s what the coffee shop has done. It’s how they transformed from a Seattle coffee joint to a community hang-out.
Next time you go get a coffee, pay a little more attention to the nuances of the experience and the perfect balance they’ve created in order to stimulate all of your senses without overwhelming your brain. It’s brilliant.
Now it’s time to think about what you’re doing. How many senses are you engaging and what type of experience are you creating with your brand? If a coffee shop can do it, surely you can think of a few ways.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
- Maya Angelou
Texting for Marketers: Hey you marketing types, here’s a good study by MarTech Series about text messaging best practices for marketing purposes!!!!! (Spoiler alert: don’t use lots of exclamation points)
Top 3 French Fries: According to me, these are the best in French Fry related nibbles: 1) tater tots 2) steak fries 3) waffle fries
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