HA Leads Forbes' Discussion of the Week

POSTED BY Jamie Monberg on May 17, 2010

This morning Forbes.com graciously published a discussion piece on our method of building brands through experience design. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for more, and feel free to comment if you want to participate in the dialog.

Discussion of the Week

Jamie Monberg, Chief Experience Officer, Hornall Anderson

05.17.10, 02:35 PM EDT

How can businesses engage interactively with their customers in a way that will cement brand affinity and drive behavior, such as changing how a brand is experienced, shifting existing customer perceptions, or engaging new audiences?

In the design industry, "interactive" is often a misnomer for "digital" or "Web," but the most fundamental interactive experience is a dialog. It’s any experience through which a consumer actively engages with some facet of your brand: wearing a T-shirt, rating your product on Amazon, walking into your lobby. On or off the screen, the goal is to go beyond awareness and to create that level of participation--that interaction--that will deepen brand affinity, drive revenue and recruit new members to your community.

Brands can no longer be logos and taglines; they have to get down and start campaigning at street level, seeking out constituents on their own ground. In this brave new media world, the actual products and services matter more than ever. The story you tell me about your brand on a website or a billboard means a lot less than the story my friend or even a faceless online community tells me. If the actual experience falls short, no amount of brandwashing can overcome a half-dozen one-star reviews.

The inverse of that warning is a tremendous opportunity: one picture of your brand on someone’s Facebook page can be worth 1000 "impressions" in a newspaper. Great brands tell great stories, but they also give their consumers great stories to tell about them. The equation on which any branding succeeds or fails is interaction = engagement. What I participate in, I care about. Whether it’s through an environment, a package or a website, if we can create experiences that people want to see, touch and talk about, we can create enduring, profitable brands.

WRITTEN BY Jamie Monberg

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