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How to build a strong brand experience

Find out how to build brand experience that really resonates with your customers.

According to JPMorgan Chase & Co., across products, consumers were spending at least 50% more money online in August 2021 than they were in February 2020, and spending remains high. With so many people shopping online, the competition is fierce. How do you differentiate yourself? With a positive brand experience.

Brand experience is the overall, lasting impression customers have of your brand after they interact with it in any way. BX includes thoughts, sensations, feelings, perceptions and reactions to everything from your marketing and advertising efforts to your social media presence. It is the entire emotional experience customers have that lasts beyond their interaction with your brand.

Take a moment to consider all of the ways a customer can interact with your brand. Is the brand experience consistent across all channels? Are you tuned in to how your customers are feeling about your brand? Are you equipped to act on what your customers tell you they want?

To win loyal customers in this increasingly competitive landscape, having a positive brand experience is key.

To understand this equation, let’s begin with defining each part:

Brand strategy is your plan to achieve long-term business goals. It may include entering a new market, launching a new product or refreshing your brand, but it’s actually more than that. Your brand strategy includes your purpose, promises to customers and a well-defined personality. It’s actually more art than science.

Customer experience (CX) is how customers perceive your brand as a result of each contact throughout the customer’s journey.

User experience (UX) encompasses the thoughts, feelings and actions taken by customers when they live, work or play with your product. It includes whether the customer’s needs and expectations are met by your product.

Brand experience is the sum of brand strategy, customer experience and user experience. It includes the entirety of the emotional, sensory and tangible experience a customer has throughout their experience with the brand. Your customers are not just buying your product, but they are also buying into your brand experience.

Both brand experience and user experience include sensory, cognitive and behavioural responses a customer has in response to an experience, but there are some subtle differences. UX speaks only to the feelings associated with interaction with your products. BX includes all interactions with your brand.

UX and BX are dependent on each other: if a customer has a positive UX when they visit your website or app, it has an impact on their positive view of your brand. And the UX should incorporate your branding throughout. 

According to Shopify, direct-to-consumer competition is rising. Providing your customers with a positive brand experience is more important than ever, and it can mean the difference between being chosen or passed over. 

Brand experience provides more meaning to your product offerings. It gives customers a holistic experience of what your brand represents.

Example: Red Bull is an energy drink brand. The product they are selling is basically a flavoured drink with high caffeine content. Red Bull provides customers with a brand experience associated with having “wings” that enable those who consume the drinks to generate amazing ideas, inspire others and enhance sports experiences.

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Monitor brand reputation and quickly identify any changes in sentiment – get your business on the fast track to good brand health.

Brand perception is what a customer thinks of when they see the brand. Brand experience helps make the association between certain keywords or emotions and your brand.

Example: Customers may think of Pampers when they see babies or equate happiness with Coca-Cola.

The result of a positive brand experience is brand loyalty. It’s easier and less expensive to retain customers than earning new ones, so enhancing brand loyalty through brand experience is important.

Your company needs to stand out in a sea of competitors. Your brand experience is critical to attracting positive attention, and customers, online.

Your customers want to connect with brands. Understanding the brand experience helps you engage in ways your customers need, emotionally, socially and meaningfully. Think beyond social media. Experiences can include competitions, surveys, sampling products at retail stores, pop-up shops and events.

Example: In 2017, streaming network HBO (now HBO Max) created a huge escape room experience at SXSW. Escape rooms are popular activities in which a group of people are locked in a room and must solve clues to escape. HBO recreated sets from three of its most popular shows – Veep, Silicon Valley and Game of Thrones – for attendees to interact with. HBO immersed participants in the worlds they had only experienced on a screen, and it solidly supported the brand experience of high-quality, cinematic aesthetics and world-class talent. 

Monitoring brand experience allows you to interact with your customers in real time across multiple channels. This is great for customers who want to communicate directly with a brand about what they love and what they are concerned about. When you know something isn’t working well, you can improve things faster.

Example: In 2018, fashion brand ASOS printed 17,000 bags with the word “online” misspelled. They were able to react quickly to the error in real time by posting to Twitter with the fun message, “OK, so we *may* have printed 17,000 bags with a typo. We’re calling it a limited edition.” The tweet was liked over 43,500 times and retweeted over 7,000. They were able to handle the situation quickly and with a sense of humour.

The ultimate reward for a great brand experience is an increase in sales. Once your customers have experienced your brand in a memorable way, they are more likely to share their thoughts and feelings with friends and family as well as on social media. All of this results in customer loyalty and increased sales.

Example: Coca-Cola offers a brand experience that focuses on happiness, positivity and proud history. That brand experience shows in Coca-Cola’s brand value, which according to Statista, was $87.6 billion in 2021.

There are four key components of a good bran