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Branding is an Experience: Tips to Succeed

Branding is an Experience: Tips to Succeed

The experience is more than just a product or service when your customers encounter your brand and products. It becomes part of them; they know it, trust it, and believe it.

In the world of branding, there are few things as exciting and dynamic as a great brand experience. This is true for individuals and businesses alike. Yet, when creating a brand experience, some companies are more successful than others. So, let's talk about the different elements of creating a brand experience, how to ensure that you're achieving the objectives you've set, and what you need to do to bring your brand experience to life.

Branding is an experience. It is a brand's personality and a product's soul. It is how a brand's name and the products it represents communicate a feeling of quality, value and trust.

It's the sum of the way you look and behave. It's the feeling you give your customers when they interact with you. It's the feeling your customers give to you.

What is branding for the user?

Brand Consultant Quote On Branding

When consumers think of a brand, the first thing that comes to mind is the name. That name represents a promise of quality and value. Brands promise to deliver something that makes a difference that consumers care about.

According to a study from the University of Chicago, 70% of consumer purchases are influenced by brand associations. For example, a study showed that when people hear the word “Ferrari,” they associate the brand with luxury, elegance, high class, high status, speed, and quality.

While the brand name does represent the brand promise, the actual brand is much more than the name. A brand's personality is what sets it apart from its competitors. A brand is the collective expression of its identity, which includes the look and feel, the tone of voice, the type of language, and other attributes.

The most successful brands in any industry possess a unique brand identity. They have created a brand promise that is communicated. They offer products and services that satisfy the needs of their customers. They have built loyalty, which is a significant factor in whether or not a consumer will purchase from them again.

Most businesses have a logo that is their brand identity. It communicates its brand promise to customers and represents the company's values and priorities. In some cases, a business may be working on developing a new brand identity to differentiate itself from its competitors.

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Why Developing a Brand is Essential

There's nothing like creating a brand for your company that you can share with your customers and the rest of the world. By developing a brand, you create a cohesive identity that everyone understands.

Branding isn't a new concept. Three things often identify brands:

  1. A logo
  2. A set of colours that define the brand
  3. A name that helps people understand your brand's purpose

The question is: do you need to develop a brand for your company?

You must develop a brand to differentiate your product from competitors and reach your target audience.

A strong brand can also help you raise awareness of your business and help you generate leads. If you have a solid brand associated with your business, customers will trust your product and services and be willing to purchase from you.

There are several benefits to developing a solid brand, and many brands have been built over the years. Think about your favourite brand.

You can't think of a brand that doesn't have a logo, colours, or name associated with it. The brands you use every day without even thinking about them are probably products you know the company behind the brand well, and you trust their products and services.

But what happens if you are searching for the perfect shirt or bag? How will you find the perfect brand to meet your needs? What brand do you look for when you need a new pair of running shoes, a new laptop, or a new mattress? What would the brand look like?

A good brand can help you raise awareness of your business and help you generate leads.

The goal of a brand is to build trust with your customers, and a strong brand is the first step in building trust.

How to distinguish between Branding and Marketing

Branding Vs Marketing

It can be tricky to determine which is which, but here's a guide to help you identify them.

The first thing to consider is the brand's logo and name. Branding refers to the design of the company's logo. It shows how well they can create memorable and lasting impressions. A logo is also one of the primary ways that a company's identity is conveyed.

Marketing is the process that companies employ to attract attention and influence customers. This involves advertising, branding, and other means of promoting the company and its products. While branding is part of marketing, it isn't the same.

In the same way, a restaurant needs both quality ingredients and a reliable set of kitchen equipment to prepare meals for customers; a company needs high-quality branding and effective marketing strategies to grow its business.

Branding and Marketing: Different, but Not Inseparable

It can be challenging to tell whether a company is branding or marketing itself. Sometimes, it takes effort to discern whether a product was designed and developed by the brand or the marketer.

An excellent example of this is Apple's famous iMac and MacBook computers. The same company manufactures both, but they are marketed differently. For example, the iMac is sold directly to consumers, while the MacBook is marketed through retailers.

While it's easy to recognise that Apple is branding the Mac and MacBook computers, it's challenging to identify whether Apple is marketing its products. If the company decided to launch a new product, it could sell it directly to consumers through its stores, like Apple Stores.

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Apple is one of many in this distinction. Some companies sell their products through retail stores and online portals. However, many of the companies that operate retail stores are also responsible for the development and manufacturing of their products. For example, Apple Stores are owned by the company, but the iPhone and other products are manufactured and sold by the Apple Corporation.

Another example is Target, which sells branded products like the Target Kids Collection and the Target Bed. The company also employs marketers who work on advertising the products. For example, Target is the official sponsor of the Disney World Annual Passport program, which encourages families to visit Disney parks multiple times during their vacation.

So, how can you tell which is which? One way to tell is by looking at the company's products. Do they have their logo, or do they use a brand name and design? Another indicator is whether the company offers the consumer a chance to purchase its products through its store or by going to a third-party retailer.

For example, BH Cosmetics sells its products exclusively through its website, so it cannot use a brick-and-mortar store to sell its products. This means that it is not branding itself. However, if a company like Sephora were to open a store, it would be marketing itself, not the cosmetics it sells.

In this case, it would be the cosmetics that would be branded.

A final clue is to look for the company's name in the product's title. If a company is branding itself, it should be included in the product's title. For example, BH Cosmetics is an official sponsor of the Sephora brand, so it appears in the name.

In contrast, if a company only mentions the name of a third-party brand in the product title, it is marketing itself.

When identifying marketing versus branding, it's essential to look at the company's products and services. A company that sells its products is branding itself. Companies that sell third-party products should be marketing themselves.

The Customer Experience Is What Matters!

People buy products and services for many reasons, but they always prefer products and services that help them succeed. When you brand your product or service, your goal is to create a story that connects with people in a meaningful way. This is where marketing and branding come together to engage customers on a level beyond product features and price.

The customer experience (CX) is a term used to describe the overall interaction your customers have with your brand. This includes the products and services they experience in your store or on your website and the customer experience they get when they call your office or email your company.

Your customer experience may vary widely depending on the type of business you're in. For example, a retailer may see different CX factors in online or offline shopping or in-person shopping vs phone shopping. In the same vein, the customer experience in each type of interaction may vary based on the product or service being sold.

A strong CX will help you connect with your audience and engage them the way you want. However, it's essential to keep in mind that even the most successful brands are only sometimes the best brands. It's good to look at your competitors to understand what's working and what isn't, but you still need to stand out uniquely.

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The following are three ways you can improve your CX:

1 – Create Stories

Your stories help you tell your brand's story. What are the values your brand stands for? How do you solve problems for your customers? How do you treat your customers? These questions form the foundation for your brand's storytelling, and you should tell your stories through your marketing materials and customer interactions.

2 – Use Your Space Well

Think about the different spaces your customers interact with your brand β€” from the products you sell to the people and offices you use. Every space you use should be purposeful and engaging and offer a clear message to your customers.

3 – Think About the Customer Journey

Consider the customer journey for your brand and take steps to ensure that your brand's story aligns with the various phases of that journey. By understanding the customer journey, you can ensure your brand's story is consistent throughout the sales funnel, which helps your brand be memorable and relevant to customers.

Understanding the Mechanics of Consumer Memory

Consumer Memory Brand Marketing
Source: IE Insights

If you had to guess, it's an individual's subjective experience.

But is it that simple? How do brands shape our memories? Do they make us remember or forget certain aspects of the experience? And, what are the mechanics behind the experience of consumer memory?

At times, it's hard to distinguish between a brand's effect on memory and the memory itself. For instance, did I recall the feeling of walking through the store doors because of the brand's presence, or was it because the brand was part of my own experience?

This is the challenge that designers and marketers must deal with when creating brands. The question becomes, “How much is a brand part of the memory?” For example, do you remember the smell of a particular shampoo, cologne, or the actual shampoo or cologne itself?

Brands play a significant role in shaping our perception and memory of an experience. This is why brands can be so influential in our lives. And it's why we care so much about them. We identify ourselves with brands, and the brands identify us.

What Is Consumer Memory?

Consumer memory is how consumers relate to brands. It's how we remember and interpret a brand experience.

For example, what is the brand of your favourite meal? You might remember the taste and ingredients, but you probably will need to remember the packaging and design of the meal. However, if you are shopping for food, you will probably consider the product's design and packaging before purchasing.

Similarly, what is the brand of your favourite car? You might remember the look and style of the car, but you may not remember the sound of its engine or the scent of its leather seats.

However, if you're buying a car, you are almost certainly going to consider the smell and look of the car when making your purchase decision.

What Brands Can Do to Shape Our Memories

It's important to note that brands don't have to affect a person's memory of a specific brand directly. Instead, brands can shape our perceptions of a specific brand.

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The following are some ways brands can influence our memories of their products and experiences.

  • The memory of the Experience: Brands can help us remember the product's experience, such as the smell or feel of the shampoo or the sound of the car's engine.
  • Brand Identification: Brands can make us identify with the brand, making the product more appealing and desirable.
  • Associations and Connections: Branded products can help us connect with our friends or loved ones by bringing up memories of times spent with them.
  • Consequences: Branded products may influence the consequences that we associate with that brand. For example, we may associate a brand we love with positive experiences but a bad experience with a brand that we dislike.

Research shows that we often connect a brand to the outcome of an experience. In a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, participants were asked to think about their first experience with a specific brand. They were then told to describe their subsequent interactions with that brand. The study showed that participants could identify positive and negative outcomes of the brand, even when they had no conscious recollection of the brand experience.

What are the Benefits of Consumer Memory?

The benefit of consumer memory is that it can affect our decisions. When we choose a product or service, we use the experience of that product or service to inform our decision.

We rely heavily on consumer memory because we cannot physically experience everything.

Brands and advertising play a huge role in shaping our consumer memories. Research has shown that 80% of our shopping decisions are based on brand preference alone. But are brands this powerful? What do we know about how effective they are at influencing us?

According to a study by researchers from the University of Texas, “The evidence suggests that it is the brand associations rather than the brands themselves that matter the most to the consumer.”

Brands are more effective at shaping our memories when we are already interested in the product or service, such as when browsing for something on Amazon.

The study concluded that the association between a product and a brand has a more significant impact on the consumer than the actual product.

Another study found that only 4% of consumers remember the specific product they purchased, while 90% remember the brand under which they purchased it.

Even though brand associations are more influential than brands, we are still strong. Consumers can change their minds about brands based on how much they like them.

How to know that your Brand experience design has occupied the long-term memory?

To ensure that your brand is retained in the customer's mind, use the “Cognitive Mapping” tool from the Customer Experience Institute (CXI). By identifying your customers' cognitive map, you will know what is stored in their memory, which can be translated into a way to measure the brand's success.

The CXI's cognitive mapping method is based on the theory of the Cognitive Map developed by the neuroscientist Roger Sperry. The Cognitive Map is the mental representation of the world the brain uses to organise its experiences.

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To understand this concept better, imagine using a map to get to a new destination. We will know where we are, where we want to go, and which route to take. In our case, we will use a map to represent the information we need to know to reach our desired destination.

In the same way, the brain uses the Cognitive Map to help us understand and create meaning in the events around us. The cognitive map is a mental model used to understand, predict, and explain the world. It is built based on our experience of the world and our ability to think.

This method is beneficial in experience design because it helps us know what information is stored in the customer's memory.

How to Make the Cognitive Map:

Cognitive mapping is a simple technique that consists of creating a series of questions, such as:

  • “Why did we choose this product?”
  • “What do we like about it?”
  • “How does it compare to other products?”
  • “How often do we use it?”

After asking these questions, the designer needs to identify a period, such as two weeks. Then, the designer must ask questions to determine how the customer makes sense of his experiences.

In the example of the CXI, the first step was to find the characteristics that make the customer choose the brand.

The second step is to analyse the customer's behaviour, such as the frequency of purchases, the length of the purchase, the location where the purchase is made, the type of person who purchases, etc.

After that, the designer asks:

  1. “How much do we like the brand?”
  2. “How important is it for us to continue using the brand?”
  3. “What is the brand's place in our lives?”
  4. “How do we use the brand?”
  5. “What other brands do we use?”
  6. “What would we change about the brand if we could?”
  7. “How do we see the brand?”
  8. “Do we remember the brand name?”
  9. “How many other brands do we know?”
  10. “Where are the memories?”
  11. “What are the details that remain with the brand?”
  12. “What is the overall feeling the brand leaves in our minds?”

Once the designer has created a list of questions, it is time to create the map.

The designer draws the cognitive map with the questions as the centre to create the map. The designer needs to represent the following elements:

  • Brand image (the central point)
  • Key features
  • Stores and places of sale
  • Products
  • Reasons for purchase
  • Customer emotions
  • Customer behaviours
  • Customer opinions
  • Customer reactions

How to Use the CXI's Cognitive Mapping:

You can easily find the answer to your marketing problems with CXI's cognitive mapping. The first step is identifying your customers and determining which brand traits and attributes are more or less important to them.

Then, you can use the cognitive map to know which factors influence customer loyalty. For example, if your product line grows, you can use the cognitive map to see how your customers react to the growth.

When you have identified the key factors influencing your customers, you will be able to create a strategy that will attract them.

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What is the right way to Brand?

Modes Of Emotional Branding Presuasion

A brand should create experiences that are emotionally resonant and impactful to the end consumer. Creating memorable experiences through brand interactions is a powerful tool for engaging customers. A brand's story and identity play a prominent role in creating emotional connections with consumers.

Brands often use creative executions to bring their products to life. It's integral to creating an emotional connection with customers, ultimately leading to more sales.

Brands use multiple tactics to bring their products to life, including storytelling, packaging, customer service, marketing materials, pricing, and more.

How Brands Bring Their Products to Life

Creating memorable experiences involves several tactics and creative components. Below, we'll discuss how brands bring their products to life.


We live in a world that is dominated by stories. From books to TV shows, we are constantly exposed to narrative content, and the way these stories unfold is often compelling and enjoyable. Brands should tell stories that resonate with consumers and leave an impression. A brand's story must capture the audience's attention and grab their emotions.

This is why many popular characters are portrayed as heroic, funny, or relatable. Characters like Tony Stark in Iron Man, Steve Jobs in the early days of Apple, and John F. Kennedy in the American presidency are iconic examples of brands that tell stories.

A brand's story can include details from a product's history, development, and design. This is where the brand's culture and personality come into play, as the brand's voice and values are carried through the story.

Packaging and Design

A brand's visual identity, or the look and feel of its products, is a critical component in creating emotional connections with consumers. The physical design of a product speaks to consumers and their emotional reactions to it. This is why brands use clever marketing techniques to create unique design elements.

For example, the design of an Apple laptop is highly polished and sleek, while the design of a Samsung phone is functional and straightforward.

Visual branding includes product packaging, design, promotional materials, and pricing. Brands must consider how their packaging and design affect the consumer carefully.

Customer Service

Consumers often say they trust brands that make it easy to communicate with them. Whether it's an online or mobile app, customer service can help strengthen the bond between a brand and its customers.

If a brand's customer service is exceptional, it could encourage customers to share their positive experiences. By sharing these experiences online, brands can spread the word to a larger audience.

Promotional Materials

Brands have various resources at their disposal to promote their products and brand. For example, a brand can use posters, flyers, and other advertising materials to showcase its products.

In some cases, it may be necessary for a brand to create promotional materials itself. For example, a food brand may need to create recipes and nutrition facts to promote its products.


Brands have different strategies for pricing their products. Pricing decisions are essential, and there are many ways to set prices.

As a rule of thumb, the cost of a product should be based on the actual production costs. For example, if a brand manufactures a pair of shoes, the price should include the cost of labour, material, and shipping.

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Pricing decisions also depend on the type of products a brand offers and the overall demand for a product. If a product is in high demand, the price may be higher than average, but there are additional benefits. This allows the brand to grow its business by creating more product demand.

Brands should also consider the cost of customer acquisition, which includes everything a brand spends to acquire new customers, such as marketing budgets, website design and development, and customer support.

Wrapping Up

As I discussed in my previous articles, branding is an experience, not an investment.

Branding is about delivering the right message to your audience in the most effective way. It's about finding the right voice that resonates with your audience and crafting your brand to make them want to interact with you.

Branding is a way to connect with people. It's a way to tell your story and set yourself apart from your competitors.

It's not just for big companies, either. Small businesses have to worry about their brand too.

It doesn't have to cost a fortune, even if you're a small business. You can create a brand that works as long as you research and invest in the right tools.

If you'd like to know more about how to create brand experiences, check out the free newsletter below!


What is branding?

Branding creates a company image that helps customers recognise your products or services.

What is the difference between branding and advertising?

Advertising is the process of using media to promote a product. Branding is the design of a product or service.

What do you mean when you say “branding is an experience”?

Branding is an experience because you create a unique experience for your customer. For example, if you own a clothing store, you would create a unique experience for your customer. They could be in a room full of clothing, but they would also feel like they were in your store. You want your customer to feel comfortable, and that's what you're trying to achieve with your branding.

Can a brand be created for a company that doesn't sell anything?

Yes, creating a brand for a company that doesn't sell anything is possible. For example, a company could have a logo that represents its values. This could be a company that creates an environment for its employees to succeed.

How do I create a brand?

The first step is to decide what you want to represent. You could choose a colour, a type of music, or a slogan. The next step is to research your competition. Find out their products or services, how they are marketing themselves, and their target audience. Once you have this information, you can start thinking about how to market yourself differently from your competition.

What is the best way to get my message across?

The best way to get your message across is to make sure that it is consistent. If you want to convey a specific message, then make sure that the message is conveyed in every aspect of your business.

What is the best way to market my brand?

The best way to market your brand is to use the media. Use TV, radio, print, the Internet, or social media. Your customers will hear about your brand if you use the media.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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