A New Brand Experience
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As we say goodbye to 2012, it’s a perfect time to start looking ahead to 2013. This past year was full of change in the areas of brand and marketing—with technology playing a huge part. From geo-location advertising to responsive web design to real-time decisioning, the space has evolved at a rapid pace. Our biggest observation is that these sweeping changes affect a central piece of the puzzle: the brand experience.

Connection is everything

Customer expectations have drastically changed. Technology, digital touch points and social media have given them more power and influence – and they want a meaningful experience awaiting them every time. In order to deliver, brands must design a seamless journey that can easily transition between the online and offline worlds. While trends and tactics will change, an ongoing, evolving brand experience is required, not just a series of one-off interactions. Without an experience that connects the brand to its customers, evolution, success and growth is an uphill battle.

According to Garnter’s Research, the percentage of customers lost after a negative brand experience skyrocketed from 68% in 2006 to 89% in 2011. So, if your customers can’t access what they want, find something they need or have their problem resolved, they will move on – very quickly. Consumers now expect to have real-time engagement and meaningful connections with brands.

Heading into 2013 – where competition will continue to increase – organizations will need to tailor their entire brand experience on a more personal level, with a strong focus on creativity in order to stand out. While sales, marketing and customer service silos will still exist; organizations must work to embrace the idea of cross-functional and real-time evolution in order to stay competitive. The traditional brand and marketing segments are becoming more blurred as time goes on. However, this change isn’t something to fear – it should be embraced and seen as an opportunity.

Your brand is in constant evolution

We believe the most important thing to remember in 2013 is that your brand is a constant, integrated experience that grows, evolves and changes, not a “project” with a specific end-date. For example, many websites used to be a static marketing element – built and then mostly ignored. Now, they are constantly evolving mediums that need to adjust to their audiences and meet expectations like engagement, information sharing and relationship building.

Changing expectations have forced brands to adapt. You shouldn’t view social, web, mobile and print as four distinct marketing approaches – they’re all connected. While a direct mail piece may have a specific intent, wouldn’t you want the reader to have an opportunity to spread the word through social media, find additional products or services on your website and then download your mobile app to stay connected?

This new approach is about seeing brand development and marketing as a “living organism” that allows a customer to seamlessly transition through multiple touch points – from a direct mail piece to social feeds, from a website to a live person on the phone. It’s not about channels and channel differentiation, it’s about a creating a common experience for your customer, from the first point of contact all the way through to the last.