Building brands through consumer brand experience
The pivotal role that consumer brand experience plays in the brand building process has been clarified by a new research initiative, the 'Brand Experience Scorecard', from marketing communications firm Wunderman.
While traditional brand studies focus on brand perceptions among the general public, the new scorecard initiative measures the quality of actual experience among existing brand users, revealing which brands are believed to deliver substance and value in consumers' daily lives.
"Customers remain loyal to a product only if the quality of their daily experience with it is positive and growing," said Wunderman CEO, Daniel Morel. "Building brand loyalty has less to do with traditional brand image, and more to do with frequent, customised, one-to-one communication with customers about their needs."
Leaders and laggards According to this year's study, America's top five brand experience leaders for 2002 are Saturn, Gateway, Wal*Mart, Palm and Costco. Performing less well were a number of banks, car rental and cable companies.
"By using experience - rather than perception - as our gauge, our rankings differ sharply from traditional brand studies, which are typically dominated by massive-scale advertisers. They are notably absent from the top ranks of the Brand Experience Scorecard," explained Chip Walker, managing director of strategy and insights for Wunderman.
Driving loyalty The Wunderman study asked more than 10,000 consumers about their usage of 1,993 popular brands across 190 industry categories, and concluded that a customer's brand experience does indeed drive brand loyalty. Consumers tend to use, be loyal to, and pay more for those brands which they feel provide a better overall experience.
Consumers cited three aspects of brand experience as being the most important to them:
- Performance: Whether or not a brand meets their needs better than others.
- Treatment: How much better are the consumer's interactions with a brand.
- Community: The degree to which consumers identify with other users of a brand.
The scorecard ranks well known American brands in terms of the major drivers of brand experience: performance, treatment and community. Together, these metrics can demonstrate how they work together to build brand loyalty.
Similar research is due to be conducted in Europe and Latin America in 2003.