Experience has become an ever-present buzzword in all aspects of retail and branding. Why and how did this come about? For digital luxury strategist Ana Andjelic, the story begins with the emergence of digital commerce and media.
'Prior to digital,’ says Andjelic, 'brands used advertising as communication.’ Now that consumers can have contact with a brand everywhere from mobile sites to social media, the broadcasting model no longer cuts it. In order to deal with an infinitely more complex customer journey, brands need to shift from messaging to brand experience.
‘Messaging is only part of the brand story,' says Andjelic, speaking at LS:N Global's Retail Futures Forum. 'The entire brand narrative needs to be consistently implemented in store, on mobile applications, on desktops, through e-commerce sites, through social media, in content…’
This shift from advertising to marketing means a change in the role of the store. Rather than seeing their stores as spaces for selling, the best fashion brands view them as part of the experience. ‘Experience is everything that gives a product a context,’ says Andjelic. 'Products on their own aren’t that memorable.’
1. Move beyond messaging. Focusing on campaigns alone won't help build a brand.
2. Be consistent. ‘If you don’t push for a consistent story, your challenge will be having a commoditised product,' says Andjelic.
3. Define your brand narrative. To tell your story you need to know who you are.
4. Rethink your store. Is it your point of sale or your brand showroom?
5. Go from seasonal to year-round. 'Brands can't just push their communication efforts twice a year round fashion shows,' says Andjelic.