Developing a distinct brand identity is central to modern marketing. This is how you want consumers to perceive your business. Particularly on social media, companies create brand experience as an important way to link brand image -- how the public views you -- with brand identity -- how you want the public to view you.
Experience means invoking a feeling unlike your competitors, so potential customers know not only what you sell but how you'll make them feel. This is a tall order, but some brands are getting it right. Here are a few examples and notes about how they're doing it.
Paypal: Living the Life You Want
At its most basic, Paypal offers a simple (read: boring) service -- facilitating global payments. By sharing stories of how customers have used Paypal to reframe their lives, the brand has sold itself as a tool of human potential. By using Paypal, customers have been able to facilitate small businesses, becoming self-employed and following their dreams.
Through a focus on what Paypal can do, the brand has set itself apart from other financial institutions which may fail to meet the needs of this niche market.
AirBnB: Selling the Experience
AirBnB could be nothing more exciting than an online booking service. But as most users of the company know, it's not quite the same as a site to reserve a hotel or book a flight. AirBnB matches individual homeowners with travelers, possibly creating a unpredictable series of events.
New customers might want to know what's different about staying at an AirBnB, to put potential fears at ease. The company invites hosts and guests to share their experiences on the brand's website. In the process, they are sharing information and developing a kind of fear of missing out (FOMO) around choosing this route instead of chain hotels.
Lululemon: Creating Community
Lululemon is a clothing company, focusing on athletic wear, but its marketing focuses largely on lifestyle. Through social media posts, the company strives to create a community of people involved in yoga, mindfulness and overall fitness.
The brand focuses on nutrition, health and activity in its online offerings, inviting customers to take part, literally and figuratively. In this way, customers are buying into a way of being, instead of just taking home a pair of yoga pants.
If you like this post and want to receive more tips on marketing in the digital age,subscribe to 97 Degrees West's Insights.
Vera K. Fischer is the CEO of the brand marketing agency, 97 Degrees West, an integrated marketing expert, speaker and the host of System Execution Podcast.