Lessons from the Best Digital Brands: A Better Breed of Brand Experience
The small brands that are really taking it to the next level, really growing fast, those that could be called “gazelles in the marketplace” are v-commerce brands. These are digitally native vertical brands. They’re kicking it out of the park, and you can study what they’re doing. They’re doing something very different than any other consumer or service brand is doing, and they’re doing it so much better that traditional consumer & lifestyle brands. I’m going to show you what to look for from these bands and how you can apply it to yours.
They’re doing it well because they’re connecting with their audiences on a totally different level. They’re in a different playing field than you are potentially. One lesson is that v-commerce is not e-commerce. It’s not a tack on. Andy Dunn, the founder of Bonobos, has a great article out on Medium. It talks about the difference between how e-commerce sees tacking on the IT, or tacking on the asset or the property, as an asset; that it’s an IT thing. It’s not IT at all. They are retailers. They’re e-tailers, and he’s absolutely right.
Your Brand’s Emotional Quotient
Let me show you the combination. Your brand “EQ”, in our model is Emotional Quotient, an emotional connection of the brand. We do a brand scorecard with our clients, and then we tackle fixing, elevating, and flipping the levers. So the EQ score is a combination. That combination is the fire, the inspire fire, between the interconnection of your product itself, the product, the service that you deliver. What’s the quality of that, what’s the experience of that that’s going to be decent, be excellent. And then the digital platform. I don’t mean just the website, I mean all digital. And then customer service. So there’s brands that do this incredibly well, but it’s the intersection of all of this that creates the brand value and the perception in the hearts and minds of your customers.
Digital refers to any site properties, branded, unbranded, micro sites, anything you’ve got going on: blog sites, social… When people talk about digital and they talk about e-commerce, they’re not talking enough about the intrinsic relationship to social. They talk about content marketing, driving traffic through social. No. This is like the platform, the foundation of integration here. Content, and I don’t just mean social content or shared content. I mean white papers. Content that you’re delivering at an executive round table. Content that you’re delivering from the stage. Any and all content is part of your digital experience because you’re going to repurpose and leverage those assets through digital channels to amplify your brand. Interaction, engagement, what that looks like. That needs to be designed. The digital interaction, the engagement, and not just technically designed. Martech is fantastic to deliver the cold lead to your doorstep. That’s awesome, but what are you going to do when they arrive? That’s sort of the yin and yang of creative and really excellent marketing and brand messaging, and I mean strategic messaging that persuades, moves, and inspires. And then, the automation component. A lot of people, a lot of brands just forget about their email sequencing. Email’s not going away. Email is like the big old senior one to the party here. It’s a whole channel, and this is omnichannel, this is multichannel, and choosing to participate in some but not all is really not an option anymore.
The Intersection of Your Product/Service, Digital Presence and Customer Service is Where You Deliver the Emotional Connection
In this intersection here, of these three lenses, and in the kaleidoscope of brand EQ, this is where you deliver the emotional connection. This is where they get to feel….and it’s all of it. Chewy.com and Warby Parker do a great job with this. Look at a lot of v-commerce brands to see what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to get adapted by your brand. Personal brands, business brands, consultants, service professionals, experts, all of it. All of us. This is where you deliver the communication, the empathy, the delight. This is where they feel the emotional feel that you want them to feel. Depending on the emotional motivator that’s significantly primary to your target audience, they might need to feel independent,feel special, seen, like they belong, cared for, valued, etc.
So all of this dials down into when they’re going to actually love your brand. If you trigger the emotional motivator that they need, you satisfy it, quench it. I call it quenching the thirst of their subconscious motivator. They may or may not be aware of it. In fact, generally they’re not. This is the neuroscience and the neuro pathways that play into this. But it equals love to them, and so when they have this experience with you, and it might even be returning the products and what that was like, and so you want to design that experience. But then they’ll say, “I love Amazon”, or “I love Chewy, or “I love your brand“. “I love working with them.” So it’s not that they actually love you, but because their emotional motivator was satisfied, it drives them into openly saying, “I love your brand“.
So it’s not just Twitter, it’s not customer service on Twitter, it’s all of it. You have to deliver against all of that. I know with our clients, it’s typically a big elephant to tackle, so you’re going to outline the anatomy and take it on as much as you can. Each objective and project should be something that you can handle, but get to done, and then move forward in the next one.
Kerri Konik is a seasoned brand strategist and leading expert in igniting emotional connection and optimizing customer experience to drive business growth. She is a consultant, advisor and speaker on catalyzing the emotional bonds between customers, brands, and leaders to increase value, progress, and accelerate the speed of change, growth and desired impact. An entrepreneur at heart, Kerri has launched five businesses, and is the CEO of InspireFire, a women-owned brand strategy and marketing consultancy based in Philadelphia.