The vast sky’s been painted with the rich purple and lilac hues of twilight.
The dying embers of the sun burn a deep orange as it sinks low on the horizon, giving way to the enchanting glint of the night’s first stars.
The intense heat of the day has ebbed into a comfortable cool breeze across your body, providing a welcome respite.
And the sea laps softly at the shore a few feet away from the table you’re sitting at, hushing the day’s excitement to stillness and calm. Blending with the low, sultry chillout vibes playing through the air.
The sweet perfumed scent of exotic flowers delicately teases your senses along with the mouth-watering aromas of freshly prepared delicacies from the restaurant’s kitchens.
You sit back in your chair. Close your eyes. And let go of everything else to be at one with the moment.
A hand touches yours.
You open your eyes.
And there they are, sitting across from you. A warm smile dances across their lips and their eyes reflect the beautiful artistry of the sky.
The most beautiful person you’ve ever seen. The one you’ve just married. The love of your life.
As the evening turns into night, the hours blur into a heady mix of captivating conversation and laughter. You lose yourself in the sound of their voice, the depth of their soul. As the intoxicating atmosphere envelops you both.
You’ve been waiting for this moment for what seems like forever. There’s nowhere else you’d rather be. This is paradise. This is bliss. This is something you’ll always remember.
No. I’m not moving into writing romance novels.
But this experience is EXACTLY what your brand experience should be like for your audience.
I’m not advocating taking them all for romantic dinner dates in the Maldives (although if you do choose to do this with your brand, let me know — I’m in!), but the elements of the experience are exactly the same.
Let’s have a look into the 5 stages that your brand experience and that of a honeymoon sunset have in common.
Everything starts with desire. A burning want of a great experience, result or feeling. When we get married, we usually picture ourselves in a beautiful location with the one we love, having a great time.
Your brand needs to tap into the desires of your audience first. Do they want something intellectually stimulating, adrenaline pumping, hilariously funny etc.
Are they looking to feel happier, more confident, less stressed, healthier?
Do they want more money, more flexibility with their time, more worldly experiences?
Once you know what they want, you can then start building around this. Offer something that satisfies this desire and then move onto the second stage…
When you find someone, something, somewhere that gives you what you desire, you start to anticipate having your desire fulfilled.
So you’ve started looking for honeymoon destinations. You’ve found the perfect place, the best hotel and added all the bells and whistles. You’ve got it all planned in your head. You know exactly what you’re gonna be getting. You just have to wait. Anticipation starts building!
This is a very powerful feeling, and something that, as a brand, you should be making your audience feel as much as possible.
Tell them you have exactly the thing that will help them meet their desires. Be specific as to how it meets them.
And have a definite, consistent schedule of delivery — this is SO important. Anticipation doesn’t build off the back of hazy, ambiguous points in the future. It comes from a definite point in time when they know they’ll get what they want. It can be a one-off (like a honeymoon), or it can be regular and constant (like a TV show, or magazine subscription).
When it comes to the day of delivery, it’s all about the next stage…
Everything you see, hear, touch, taste and smell is an experience.
Depending on what sort of brand and business you have, you’ll be able to use some or all of these within your overall brand experience.
Visual experience is incredibly important for online brands in their website design, online ad layouts and app UI’s. Sound is also important in the use of video content.
Physical goods have a huge brand experience emphasis on touch. The quality of paper in a book. The weight and premium feel of a mobile phone.
The sense of smell and sound are vital in the creation of branded environments and spaces — shops, spas, restaurants etc.
Taste is relevant to any brand that includes food or drink consumption.
The honeymoon sunset experience is a great example as it combines all of these — the astounding sunset views, the feeling of a cool breeze over tropical warmth, the sounds of the sea and music in the air and the smell of the beach and cooking, topped off with the taste of a great meal.
The trick is that all of these sensory experiences need to be consistent. They need to all work together to form a complete whole. The same feeling and result.
Want someone to feel relaxed — then have pastel colours, calm imagery, soft tones, subtle scents etc. Want someone to feel energise — pumping music, bold, bright colours, athletic imagery and powerful, fresh scents.
The experience is only the invitation however. The next stage is what keeps them!
Experiences can be epic. But they can quickly fade if we have no-one to share them with.
It’s always the people that turn good times into great ones, and that’s no exception with your brand.
Your audience want to interact with you. They want to know you. Your personality. Your values and beliefs.
They want to know they’re in like-minded company — to feel safe and part of a select and accepting group (even if that group is only 2 people like a honeymoon).
Other people and that way we interact with them are the strongest influencers of mood and behaviour.
The more of a two-way conversation you strike up with your audience. The more you appeal to their personalities. The more you develop connections.
And connections build trust.
And trust is the most vital component when it comes to making sales.
Your brand’s personality needs to mimic that of your ideal audience’s. They need to be best friends.
Best friends talk to each other and listen to each other.
This communication and interaction is what’ll move your audience from liking your brand, to loving it!
Which moves us nicely onto our last stage…
We remember the things we love. Simple as that.
They are the things that are always at the forefront of our mind, and that we always go back to, to find happiness.
You’ll never forget how that honeymoon sunset made you feel. How perfect it was.
Likewise, you’ll never forget about a brand that makes you feel the best you can be.
Building a brand is all about ultimately building loyalty. We become loyal to the things we love and remember.
We also can’t help but share the things we love and remember with others — the power of word of mouth.
Once your brand is firmly rooted in the memories of your audience, you’ll have loyal customers for life.
Think about the 5 stages for your brand.
What does your audience desire?
How exactly can you help them with that desire?
What is your brand sensory experience? How do you want to make your audience feel?
What’s your brand personality and values? How can you communicate with your audience effectively?
Is your brand always the first one that comes to mind?
And remember — don’t force it. Your brand must be a natural manifestation of your love for your audience. We’ve all seen those awkward honeymoon sunsets between couples that aren’t quite right for each other. Long drawn out silences. Stilted conversation. Hand-stifled yawns.
Take time, take care and craft your brand experience into the addictive honeymoon sunset your audience deserves.