Posted: May 16, 2013
Best of CoBiz: Top 10 questions to bolster your brand experience
The world has become one big marketplaceNeil McKenzie
Your business does not exist in a competitive vacuum! Your customers and prospects have a multitude of choices when it comes to parting with their money. As the world becomes a flatter place (a term coined by Thomas Friedman in his book, The World is Flat) not only will your competition come from your local area, but increasingly, you will see it from around the globe.
You can thank the internet and trade policies for turning the world into one big marketplace of ideas, products and services. This trend could be viewed as a threat to your business but it could also be viewed as an even larger opportunity.
Today there is no shortage of companies providing any and every product/service and that probably includes your products! In order to stand out in this crowded marketplace it is imperative that you think about your brand experience. A good brand experience will set you apart from the competition and get people talking about you and your business. A bad brand experience will likely will get you passed by and a really bad brand experience will get people talking about you - and not in a good way!
Look around you and take notice of companies or products that provide a great brand experience. What makes you say wow?
o Today staying at a hotel can be more than just a room with a clean bed - it can also be an experience that takes you to a foreign land or different time (Hotel Colorado, Glenwood Springs, CO).
o Going on vacation can be more than just a visit to a popular spot - it can also be helping a worthy cause in a less developed part of the world, saving an endangered species or improving your own community (The Colorado Trail Foundation).
o Buying a computer or mobile device can be more than trying to decide from a huge selection at a big box store - It can also be being helped by a knowledgeable and almost fanatical staff that will make sure that you are satisfied with products that are impeccably designed. (Apple Computer).
o Purchasing shoes online can be more than just picking a style and hoping for the best - it can also be getting the right style in the right size delivered to your door with a minimum of hassle (Zappos).
o Going to the museum can be more that looking at art or artifacts on a wall - it can also be an experience that engages all of your senses (Denver Art Museum - Marvelous Mud).
o Buying fine art photographs can be a usual gallery experience - it can also be beautiful large prints with dramatic lighting along with the photographer's back story to create an experience (Peter Lik Gallery, Aspen, CO) .
Ten questions to ask about improving your brand experience:
1. How can you differentiate your products / services?
2. How can you provide the unexpected?
3. How can go that "extra mile"?
4. How can you educate and increase awareness?
5. How can you entertain, surprise and delight?
6. How can you engage and encourage participation?
7. How can you tell your story?
8. How can you improve your products and provide impeccable service?
9. How can you touch and invigorate the senses?
10. How can you make your brand experience permeate your organization?
A great brand experience will give you a competitive advantage and have people talking about your company and its products and services. These same ideas can also be applied to nonprofit, community and governmental organizations. As Colorado moves ahead in its economic development efforts every stakeholder should be striving to improve their brand experience.
Governments have an opportunity to make it easier to do business by cutting unnecessary regulations, streamlining their processes and providing impeccable service. Nonprofit organizations have an opportunity to improve engagement with their communities and showcase their efforts. State economic development organizations also have an opportunity to promote the "Colorado" brand experience by highlighting our tourism, innovation, creativity, arts & culture and human assets.
Take some time to look at your brand experience. Improving your brand experience is one of the most important things you can do!
Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations in the areas of business and marketing planning. His recently published book, The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox, was written to take the mystery out of business for artists and other creative professionals. He has more than 30 years experience as a management consultant and corporate marketing executive working with hundreds of organizations including some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a visiting professor at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he developed and teaches Artrepreneurship; and at University College at the University of Denver, where he teaches the graduate course, Marketing for the Arts. He is a frequent guest lecturer to artists and organizations in the creative sector and writes about the creative economy including several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Neil can be reached at 720-339-3160, firstname.lastname@example.org or http://creativesandbusiness.com