The Experience Effect: Engage Your Customers with a Consistent and Memorable Brand Experience

Ronald N. Borrieci (College of Business, Department of Management, Marketing, and Operation, Embry‐Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 23 August 2011




Borrieci, R.N. (2011), "The Experience Effect: Engage Your Customers with a Consistent and Memorable Brand Experience", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 430-431.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Within the 15 quick and short chapters in The Experience Effect: Engage Your Customers with a Consistent and Memorable Brand Experience, Jim Joseph relates his experience and expertise on creating value for the consumer. Each chapter aids one's understands of Joseph's definition of the “brand experience.” If you are a small businessperson trying to differentiate your company from your competitors, this is a book that you should read and implement the next day.

To illustrate how important this “experience effect” is: Have you ever had a “great” experience at a restaurant? At a movie/theater? At a retail store? If you have, then you will understand the author's main idea in this book – experiences, really good ones, make the brand real in the consumers’ mind. Throughout this book, Jim Joseph's key lesson is that “the essence of good marketing is creating a consistent brand experience with each specific consumer interaction.” (p. 2).

Chapter 1 begins the author's definition of the “experience effect,” which he defines as “how consumers feel about brands, (which is) is completely shaped by the interactions they have with them” (p. 15). The author goes further to define marketing by stating that: “the definition of marketing is simple: creating demand for a product or service by fulfilling a specific need for consumers in a way no one else can – when marketing is done well, the product becomes a brand” (p. 16).

Delving further into the brand experience, Joseph notes that the “experience” is the connection the brand makes with consumers. The “effect is the impact those consistent brand experiences have on consumers' lives. The impact should add value” (p. 17). Chapter 1 closes with the author telling us that this “experience effect” can be and should be a “continuous experience” (p. 25).

In Chapter 2, Joseph continues his explanation by stating that the experience effect becomes the brand in the consumer's mind. A consumer's interaction(s) with a particular brand forces consumers to “position the brand” as either a positive or a negative experience; repeated negative and/ or inconsistent experiences by consumers lowers their expectations of the brand.

Chapter 3, moves us into the area of brand positioning, an often misunderstood marketing principle. The concept of a “position” in a consumer's mind is confused with its physical location at retail. Jim Joseph's definition of positioning as both a rational and emotional experience is as good as any I have heard.

Another key marketing concept that is often difficult to grasp is that of perceptual mapping. Chapter 3 successfully covers this concept using Wal‐Mart and M&M's as examples of perceptual mapping done well. The author's checklist (p. 41) on defining a brand is especially helpful.

Of course, no discussion about marketing can take place until both the marketer and company understand who their customers are. This task is defined in Chapter 4, where Jim Joseph offers sage advice to all: know your consumer. It is in this chapter, where the book helps the reader by offering a checklist to ensure that you are understanding your target market (pp. 67‐8). The author uses the television show “The Biggest Loser” as a role model example of a marketer knowing their target market well.

Following up on his advice on how to “know your consumers”, in Chapter 5 the author shares with us some of his “tricks of the trade” to follow to help you understand your target market. He closes out this chapter by applying his “tricks” by describing a scenario of furniture buying for different market segments.

I especially enjoyed the author's discussion in Chapter 6 about the importance of the “emotional side” of marketing. An especially good piece of advice is found in the chapter when the author states: “As marketers, it is our job to make both a rational and emotional connection, at every step of our marketing plan, as part of the experience effect” (p. 93).

The author continues this thought process (p. 97) when he writes “consumers in every category have rational needs and emotional wants. Our job as marketers is to unleash the power of these components and merge them together”. Using Nike as an example of a company that has created a positive emotional experience for its brand, the author closes this chapter by demonstrating the rational and emotional benefits inherent in ten consumer branded products (p. 98).

A new marketing term is introduced to the reader in Chapter 7 – “touchpoints,” defined “touchpoints” as “anything that puts the brand within the arm's reach of a consumer” (p. 100).

It is no news to marketers that a series of new “touchpoints” are quickly replacing our more traditional ones (TV advertising, print media, and coupons in Sunday papers, to name a few). Today a “touch” may be found in emails, social networking sites, blogs, or a cell phone texted “coupon” while shopping. To better illustrate this point, the author gives us an example of the numerous “touchpoints” for a working mom. A discussion on the ethical use of these newfound “touches” rounds out this chapter.

Activating these “touchpoints” and using them to create sales is discussed in Chapter 8. Deciding which “touchpoints” are the most important to get your product incorporated into the consumer's life is outlined in the chapter. The author says “you only need a few touchpoints” for success (p. 122).

Jim Joseph continues this discussion of “touchpoints” into Chapter 9, by explaining how one can weave a brand's communication program into the relevant “touchpoints.” Creating a unique “ownable brand experience” (p. 130) is the end goal of good marketing, according to the author.

Chapter 10 focuses’ on where marketer's find their inspiration and gives the reader insight into two brands – Martha Stewart and Louis Vuitton – who have fully interwoven the branding experience for maximum effect.

Chapter 11, talks about how celebrities use their status to communicate their brand essence. The chapter offers, as examples of good branding, Madonna and Lady Gaga. This chapter concludes with a great quote: “Good marketing is no coincidence” (p. 153).

But, it is probably in the remaining chapters (Chapters 12‐15) that this book really aids one's understanding of marketing.

In Chapter 12, Jim Joseph gives us page after page of checklists, posing critical questions to ask ourselves throughout the campaign (or campaign creating process). He gives the reader a much needed “needs assessment” outline. Jim Joseph advice about staying focused is sound – it prevents “paralysis by analysis,” which is so common in many firms.

Chapter 13 goes into the value of color and shape and what it can do to brand your company's product and /or service. Here, think of UPS's brown or Apple's iPod as successful examples.

Finally, Chapter 14 covers “minding the gap.” His definition of the gap is to find out what you “don't know,” or what is missing in your brand's contact with your target consumer. In this chapter, Jim Joseph gives us additional checklists and questions to ask ourselves throughout the process. I found that these checklists alone are worth the price of the book.

And in Chapter 15, the author tell us some of the reasons why things fail. He provides us with lists of reasons (page after page) of the “whys and hows” things can go wrong in developing and executing a marketing plan. Good heads up information!

I enjoyed reading this book. The author delivered on his promise to write a book that is easy to read and without a lot of academic jargon. This book's appeal is especially important to all independent businessmen and women who are trying to grow a company and distinguish it from your competition. Adding a positive “experience” by the consumer of your company and brand can lead to increased sales and profits.

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