Experience. It’s a word we use frequently – sometimes to the point where it loses meaning due to overuse. But what is experience really, and how do we feel it?
One might say that:
- Experience happens between empty and full
- Experience is what happens between inhalation and exhalation
- Experience is what’s continuously happening, when you’re not over-thinking the anticipation or anxiety of the future, or sinking into memories of the past
There is nothing that roots you deeper into the present than experience.
Driving B2B brand connections via experience
As a consumer, what attracts us to a specific brand experience? For a B2C brand, it can be a number of different brand narratives, speaking to a spectrum of higher-order human emotions that brands aspire to link with.
One such emotion is rebelliousness. Watch this iconic Apple ad:
Rebelliousness – the innate nature of humans to stand out against perceived unfairness. It signifies so much bravery and courage. The very act of a group of people standing up to authority immediately provokes admiration and protectiveness. And the idea of banding together for a common purpose, a sense of belonging toward something important, more important than the individual alone, is uplifting and incredibly inspiring.
In recent times, Levi’s debuted this Pioneers ad:
There is nothing more actionable a brand can drive toward for emotional persuasion than human experience – if as a consumer I can belong to a group that defies the unfair, delivers motivation, uplifts the state of the society and the mind, then why would I not pledge my loyalty?
How does brand experience play into the way B2B companies go to market?
The challenge therein is very different – B2B companies have spent decades perfecting their brands’ association with hard metrics and operational success. They have delivered customer loyalty based on higher quality, lower cost, timely delivery, better availability, more choice, more innovation, better features, and so on.
Unfortunately, the progression of technology has ensured that none of the above positioning pillars above are bankable for too long.
B2B companies have therefore had to look to other means to create a brand connect. They have had to step away from the norm, and follow the path previously set on only by B2C companies. They have had to look to softer means – experiences and emotions – to build a connect that transcended hard KPI driven metrics.
And thus evolved what is now known as purpose-driven positioning.
There are many examples of B2B brands that are doing this well. The video below from GE talks about bridging walls, bringing the narrative from the famous Berlin wall to the emotive experience of human connection.
Ultimately businesses need to remember that regardless of their business model, at the end of the day, the person at the end of a purchase decision is still that – a person; a human being. And human beings respond to experience – one that starts a long time before a purchase transaction happens. For B2B businesses today, it starts with building purpose.