COMMENT: The importance of brand experience
Luxury lingerie brand Agent Provocateur has mastered the art of brand experience
In the current market, brands cannot afford to lose loyal customers and are constantly finding ways to attract new revenue. This is becoming increasingly more difficult as there is so much choice for consumers.
Businesses are no longer just services where customers 'get what they're given', because, more than likely, there are ten other brands offering the same service but at a more competitive price, or with more friendly employees.
As retailers and brands alike work hard to increase footfall on the high street, one of the main attractions they can offer is Brand Experience: from the visual merchandising used within the store, to the attitude of the employees, and even the aesthetics of the label on the product.
"All businesses are branded, but not all businesses are brands."
This statement from Les Stern, a top brand consultant, sums up the industry today. Some brands have this brand experience down to a tee; others think that as long as they are making a profit, then they don't need to create a brand experience.
The luxury lingerie brand Agent Provocateur has not only mastered the art of female domination, but also the art of brand experience.
The brand was established by Josephe Corré, son of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, and Serena Rees. The first shop was opened in the Soho district of London in 1994 and has since then opened 30 stores in 13 countries. The brand is known for producing controversial adverts, yet they are not seedy, they merely reflect the sensuality of the brand.
Their stores have sexually theatrical window displays which whisper for one to enter the shop. Once one has been seduced by the window display, the interior boasts a call-girl's boudoir, with Victorian style chandeliers, sheer black drapes and seductively lit lingerie.
The sales assistants are walking advertisements of the brand, donned in stockings and baby pink dresses which are deliberately cut to reveal their bras.
No matter what your breast size, waist size or derrière, the sales assistants exude the ethos of the brand: 'to give you the confidence to give in to your deepest desires.'
Whether one makes a purchase in the shop or online, the products are wrapped in black tissue paper and are presented in a baby pink gift box (the same colour as the sales assistants' outfits) with a black ribbon laced around it.
Everything about this brand seduces a customer without them realising it; all of their senses are stimulated, their subconscious has been penetrated, and their emotional attachment to the brand has been underpinned.
Without realising it, customers create an emotional attachment to a brand due to its brand experience.
They feel as though they are part of the brand, they trust the brand and they have certain feelings about and towards the brand. To create a successful and continuous brand experience, a business has to encompass every single aspect of the brand, down to the last detail.
This shift from business to brand means that businesses have to re-evaluate their branding methods.
A brand is no longer merely a slogan, a logo or a set of values. It is now an experience for a customer, one that will hopefully encourage someone to buy into the brand, time and time again.
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