We've established that people will perceive your brand based on their own experiences with it. And if those experiences are unremarkable—or worse, negative—your customers won’t miss you when you disappear. The best way to design a remarkable experience is to design it around the customer’s needs throughout the buyer’s journey.
Some retail and consumer brands are already excelling with this approach to designing an experience. BMW, Burberry and Trumaker understand what customers are trying to achieve while they're browsing, shopping and purchasing, and they create experiences that provide value to customers along the way. This draws customers into an ongoing relationship with the brand as they build trust and loyalty with the brands the serve their needs.
Any car can get you from point A to point B, but only a few truly deliver on the customer need to feel prestigious and identify with a way of life. Even fewer have figured out how to deliver this feeling while you are browsing and learning about the brand.
BMW’s experience center in Brussels has done just that. To maximize foot traffic and exposure, the experience center is located in the city center. Inside the brand's location, the mood is set with electro music and a new age lighting. You are greeted by a BMW brand enthusiast that guides you through designing your own ultimate driving machine and educates you on the company’s history and mission. After you have designed your car, you can review the specs while having a cocktail prepared by a skilled bartender at the bar/restaurant in the experience center.
Perhaps you have clients in town, and you need a space to entertain and impress. The experience center has an entire floor that you can reserve to entertain, impress, and inspire your clients through one of the world’s most iconic brands. BMW has created an attraction that you will leave wanting to tell your friends about.
The bar and rent-able space at BMW's experience center. Photo credit: http://www.eventonline.be/
High-end outfitter Burberry also focuses on hooking customers early with a superior experience. Burberry shoppers are looking to achieve certain apparel looks—but like BMW shoppers, they are also likely to be looking to exude a certain status with their clothing. The retailer responds appropriately.
When you visit the London retail shop, you are greeted as an honored guest. They offer you champagne. A stylist helps you design outfits and try on clothing to suite your needs and tastes. It's not about searching through racks for your size; it's about one-on-one attention that helps you to find exactly the right look while also treating you like royalty.
Part of the Burberry shopping experience at the London concept store. Photo credit: http://graine2geek.com/.
Trumaker is a men's shop "offering built-to-fit clothing for men" that they claim is "like custom—but easier." I’m a taller guy and can't easily buy off the rack at Macy's or Nordstrom, for example. I'm also somewhat fashion-handicapped; I never know what's in style! I'm able to visit a Trumaker shop, tell them what sort of event I'm shopping for (an important meeting, a formal affair, or just another day at the office) and they can recommend entire outfits that fit me. I can also be confident that they are on trend.
After experiencing this brand once and seeing how well they help me to complete my job of dressing well for the occasion, I've been happy to return on multiple occasions and recommend to my friends.
An "outfitter" appointment takes place at a Trumaker showroom. Photo credit: Trumaker
Decoding Customer Needs
To create these experiences that customers value, brands need to go beyond a traditional ideas-based approach to solving problems. Instead, brands need a thorough understanding of the emotional, social, and functional needs of the buyer, and how those needs evolve at different stages of their journey to purchase.
Check out this ebook for the step-by-step process we use to understand customers, their journeys and their needs along the way through the lens of the Jobs-to-be-Done theory:
Decoding Customer Needs with the Buyer's Journey Framework