What Is Brand Experience?

Tara Barnett

Brand experience is a term used to describe the total impression of a potential consumer of a brand. There is no physical entity that can be identified as brand experience. The term refers to the total experience of the brand, which may come from advertisements, actual use, reporting, or other interactions with the brand.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

Experiencing the brand through a variety of situations creates in the mind of a potential consumer a kind of profile full of feelings and attitudes about the brand, helping the consumer to psychologically predict what items associated with it are likely to be like. This is therefore a highly valuable concept for makers of brand name items, as manipulating that experience can yield higher profits.

For a brand to be strong, it must present a clear and unified experience. This means, for one, that the items associated with the brand must appear to perform as they are advertised, because the use of the product should not contradict expectations. Additionally, this means that the brand must not try to pack too much meaning into the experience, because a complex experience is likely to become diluted in the mind of the potential consumer. It is often thought that the most successful brands have a sharp and singular experience because of focus through all avenues of exposure.

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In many cases, brand experience is related to marketing and advertising, which often attempt to imbue the brand, and therefore product, with meaning by presenting it with information and images. More subtly, this experience can be manipulated with techniques such as selling brand name products only in certain stores, or by creating sales displays that give off a certain feeling. Anything that is related to the brand can affect this experience, which makes it difficult to control the resulting sense in the consumer's mind.

One of the problems with the idea of brand experience is that there is no reliable scale by which to measure it. When surveying potential consumers, it is possible to get a negative or positive rating of the experience, but it is much more difficult to identify what specific emotions, intellectual thoughts, and sensations are associated with the brand. While it is clear that such a thing as brand experience exists, it is not always simple or even possible to use its existence in a productive manner.

The ultimate goal in manipulating brand experience is to influence the behavior of potential consumers. In some cases, this means buying a product, but in others, it may mean simply knowing that the brand exists. For example, some companies with products not commonly directly consumed, such as airplanes or computer chips, make attempts to modify this experience. It is clear, then, that having a positively rated brand can be a good in itself for a company, whether or not this positive rating results in purchasing directly.

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Discussion Comments


What products do you think provide the best brand experience?

I think that IKEA does an amazing job of creating an environment that is stylish and modern, while giving you a feeling of being able to make it all your own. This is really amazing considering that their products are cookie cutter identical and very inexpensive.

There is something really interesting about how they create little individual showrooms for their product lines in a giant warehouse, and let you slip from environment to environment. This really leaves an impression on me.


I think a great example of creating a brand experience for people would be in the placement of brands in movies. This is very carefully done and advertisers pay a lot of money to have their item showcased in a natural way that allows those watching a film to feel as if they are using the product, or experiencing what the actors experience when interacting with an item.

I think this simple subconscious placement of a brand is a powerful experience that leaves people with a deep impression of a product, without feeling overtly sold to. Some great examples of this include a notable car being used in a chase, a popular coffee shop creating a mood for a scene or even the way a famous brand of electronics is used to help solve a case.

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