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Brand Experience > Brand Campaign

Rick Perkins
Director, Strategic Planning | Trajectory Data

Let me set a little context for my blog title. Our agency, and hence my work, is heavily focused on helping contender brands grow. But contender brands face some steep challenges.

Contender brands in every category I’ve worked with are in “double jeopardy.” What I mean is smaller contender brands are penalized twice for being, well, smaller.

JEOPARDY 1: Contender brands are bought by fewer people than bigger, leading brands
JEOPARDY 2: The people who do buy contender brands buy slightly less often than leading brands’ buyers

Therefore, the number one, and perhaps only, strategy for Contender Brand Growth is acquiring new customers. But how best does a contender brand attract new customers?

For contenders, the biggest challenges to getting new customers are early in the sales funnel: Brand Awareness and Consideration. That brings me to my subtitle. Most contender brands have marketing budgets commensurate with their size. Translation: contender brands can’t outspend leader brands to achieve needed brand awareness and consideration. So, contender brands need to outsmart leader brands.

In my experience, a great way to outsmart is with brand experiences. In today’s marketplace, consumers are bombarded with communications, making brand experiences more effective than more communication noise. Hence, my marketing math blog title, Brand Experience > (is greater than) Brand Campaigns.

The Brand Experiences I am talking about are situations that involve your product or service that make the customer think of the brand whenever he/she witnesses the moment. Let me give you an example. Buc-ee’s, a gas station convenience store, took an existing, often revolting experience of the gas station convenience store restroom and turned it on its head.

Brand Experience Is A Situation That Makes Customers Think Of The Brand Whenever Witnessed.

Buc-ee’s restrooms are huge, like the rest of their convenience store, but it is how nice and clean the restrooms are that won Buc-ee’s the awards and customer following. Buc-ee’s turned an unpleasant experience into one so unexpected that Buc-ee’s can promote it on billboards and promote brand restrooms with Buc-ee’s-branded soap dispensers. It changed customer perception from dread to relief. Once a customer experiences a Buc-ee’s restroom, every convenience store restroom reminds customers of Buc-ee’s and how restrooms should be.

Street sign - Only 262 Miles to BUC-EE'S, you can hold it.

Gartner, global research organization, calls this kind of brand experience a “Catalytic Experience.” According to Gartner’s research, Catalytic Experiences can increase consumer commitment to an unfamiliar brand by 52%. And there is 2.1x likelihood of influencing commercial behavior.

Catalytic Brand Experiences Increase Consumer Commitment To An Unfamiliar Brand By 52%

Catalytic Experience is a meaningful customer moment that causes a customer to stop and consider their situation – prime for Brand Experience that can make a purchase influencing impression.

Your brand and category may not have a restroom experience to change, but you can build your own catalytic experience. BuildingBlocksfor catalytic brand experience are:
  1. Customer insight about a barrier ripe for change
  2. Structured experience for productive self-reflection
  3. Simple starting point with progressive plan to reinforce the experience.
For most brands, a catalytic experience will have a digital and physical component. Commonly the digital component is the self-discovery part that helps potential customers see barrier(s) in a new light. Then the brand marketing effort provides an easy to act on trial to overcome the barrier as a simple physical portion of the experience. Finally, structured sequence marketing builds upon the initial experience, expanding opportunities for customers to continue to experience the brand in a new light.
Trajectory teams are currently working with a retail client to build a catalytic brand experience. In a collaborative process, we spent a couple of months identifying and refining the catalytic experience opportunity, ultimately framing the brand experience as $10s of millions in gross profit opportunity for the CMO to present to the senior leadership team for their enthusiastic approval.
In the second installment of this Brand Experience blog, we will tackle the all-important how-to identify your brand’s catalytic experience opportunities.
Or, if you don’t want to wait, contact the Trajectory Data Team here for a free introductory consultation on your potential Catalytic Brand Experience.

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