Events & News

Tips For Creating a Better Brand Experience For Your Customers

Table of Contents:


Imagine walking into a store with the simple goal of buying a product. Instead, you’re immersed in a memorable brand experience that captivates your senses. Consumers, especially Gen Z and Millennials, crave memorable brand experiences over simple transactions. In fact, a staggering 71% of these generations would rather spend their money on experiences than products alone. Brands that fail to recognize this shift risk becoming irrelevant in the experience economy.

memorable brand experience in beauty and fashionBy definition, a brand experience combines all sensory, thoughts, emotions, and reactions that a person has in response to a brand. It’s the lasting impression that lingers, long after an engagement with a brand.

Experiences matter because they create emotional connections between people and brands.

From Netflix’s Bridgerton Experience “The Queen’s Ball” with over 185 million views on TikTok, to the immersive world of Barbie, brands are leaning into the brand experience to stand apart. By creating those memorable and emotional experiences for consumers, these brands – amongst many others – showed they understand the importance of connections and act on it in a meaningful way. This is what ultimately builds brand loyalty and repeat purchases.


Key Brand Experience Learnings

In this article, readers will explore the importance of creating a strong brand experience and the power of sensory connections in driving customer loyalty and brand advocacy. Drawing inspiration from successful brand experiences across various industries, including retail, beauty, apparel, food, and beverage, the article provides actionable strategies for brand leaders and product developers to enhance their own brand experience.

consumer insights team builds experiential marketing storyConsumer research and market insights help reveal how a customer feels about a brand before, during, and after engagement. Likewise, brands are investing heavily into testing around their brand experiences to ensure they’re sending the right message to their customers.

Curion’s expertise lies in leveraging sensory connections for brands. Decision-makers can tap into Curion’s sensory expertise to differentiate their brand experiences in the market. By leveraging sensory connections, they can better align with customer preferences and behaviors.


Building A Better Brand Experience

Taste. Touch. Smell. Sound. Sight. The power of the five senses is put in the spotlight when it comes to Sensory Branding, an approach designed to connect brands and their products to consumers by appealing to the five senses.

“In this new paradigm, sensory branding is about creating a unique signature for your brand that consistently echoes across all customer touchpoints. For instance, consider the crunch of a Pringles chip, the distinctive roar of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, or the distinct smell of an Abercrombie & Fitch store.” –Medium

  • Sight: Sight is one of the most influential senses in the CPG industry. Memorable brand logos, colors, and packaging all work together to help create a brand personality that also reflects its values. Constant repetition of visuals helps customers recognize and recall the brand easily. For example, Coca-Cola’s iconic red color and cursive logo are instantly recognizable.
  • Sound: Memorable and consistent audio cues can leave a lasting impression on customers in various contexts. For instance, the distinct “pop” of a Snapple bottle opening is a signature sound that customers associate with the brand.
  • sense of smell enhanced at an aromatic coffee shopSmell: Smell is a powerful sense that can evoke strong emotions and memories. CPG brands can engage customers through signature scents. For example, the aroma experienced when walking into a favorite QSR restaurant or a Starbucks brewing coffee can draw customers in and create a positive association with the brand.
  • Taste: In the food and beverage industries, taste is the defining element of the brand. Companies can engage customers through unique flavors, innovative combinations, or even the mouthfeel of a product. Think of the Oreo brand and all the flavor varieties this iconic brand releases, even after 100 years of development and innovations.
  • Touch: Touch can be experienced through texture, packaging materials, or even the tactile feel of in-store displays. For example, LUSH, an organic soap company, sets up “mini spas” in their stores where customers can touch and feel products, creating a memorable sensory brand experience.


Punching Up The Brand Experience

With every launch and strategic move, brands simultaneously aim to deliver unique and memorable experiences to their consumers. To stand apart, brands need to give their customers what they want by creating in-store and at-home moments that resonate with a memorable brand experience.

Here are five categories with examples that punched up the brand experience to provide emotional and memorable moments that resonate with consumers.


Retail soars to new heights with this exclusive brand experience

Retail stores are going significantly beyond the expected shopping-the-aisles experience, into a more luxurious and memorable experience. Harrods, the luxury department store, recently introduced a “members-only” club which features a bar, lounge, and a private luxury dining space featuring a premium restaurant service led by Gordon Ramsay. WWD, the fashion, retail, and beauty industry’s “bible” of intelligence, explains the segmentation for this type of club is a community based on lifestyle and interests that center around passions like high-end whiskey collections, entertainment, art, and more. This brand experience delivers a surprisingly unique yet special space with top-shelf customer service built to cater to like-minded people.


Brand experience success for Beauty and Personal Care

Research indicates the wellness and mental health movement will continue to grow. Global Wellness Institute research shows a wellness market surge, growing 12% annually and forecasted to grow another 52% by 2027. In 2022, the global wellness economy was reported at $5.6 trillion, with personal care and beauty taking up the largest share with $1,089 billion (Global Wellness Institute).

Even with the fast pace for this growth and the hype around many beauty trends, people are simultaneously looking to slow down with their beauty rituals, creating a deeper value in experiential slow beauty. With slow beauty, less is more, whether that means ingredients, product doses, usage, or packaging designs.

The brand Vintner’s Daughter specifically stands out by embracing a slow beauty approach that elevates skincare into an experiential journey. The brand’s latest offering, the Active Renewal Cleanser, took four years to perfect. The reason? The founder April Gargiulo’s winemaking background inspired the philosophy that prioritizes quality over quantity. This is seen by using the whole plant over synthetics as well as spending weeks to make each bottle, rather than days. No wonder fans like Gwyneth Paltrow and Tracee Ellis Ross can attest to the slow beauty journey this brand offers.


Dreams get sweeter with this Apparel brand experience

apparel shoes hotel bed brand experience

Apparel and hospitality meet fashion in this one-of-a-kind brand experience. Particularly for the shoe-loving consumer, DJ Khaled began a partnership with Airbnb to offer a unique stay where people rent a room that recreates his sneaker collection closet in Miami. “Sneakers are an essential part of hip hop culture and collecting them is an art – just like creating music,” said DJ Khaled. ”We bring the same passion and energy to the shoe game as we do the studio. That’s why we’re excited to share our sneaker kingdom with fans and give them a chance to walk in our shoes, literally.”


Quick-Service Restaurants provide Insta-worthy brand experiences

Quick-serve restaurants are tapping into consumer insights through crowdsourcing and taking inspiration from their loyal fans and influencers and innovating. “Hacks” are becoming influential and made their way from TikTok to Chipotle in the form of a customized quesadilla made popular by a food critic, Keith Lee. As a result, consumers can order the “Keithadilla,” made popular by a viral TikTok movement and bringing consumers into the QSR’s locations for a taste.

QSR Restaurant hotel brand experienceExperiential pop-up sensations are making memorable waves across the nation. For example, Taco Bell unveiled The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort in Palm Springs which ran for only 1 week. Shockingly, the experience sold out in 2 minutes. However, with various Insta-worthy moments at this pop-up, it’s no wonder why. Timeout Magazine says, “Between the beauty salon (where you can get Taco Bell gel manicures, hair braids, or fades) and the free activities (“dive-in” poolside movies, silent discos, water-ballet training and game night), you might almost miss the food.”

Also, The Bell Hotel used this pop-up opportunity as a way to test new menu items with their fans for a potential national rollout, including a popcorn chicken topped with jalapeño and pickle, coriander-seasoned panko-breaded cod fish tacos, and a patty melt served with chipotle-style thousand island and a heap of Taco Bell’s signature nacho fries – just to name a few.


The endless brand experience power for Foods and Beverages

The food and beverage world is full of experiences when it comes to what people eat and drink. “Melty Mashups” is in the spotlight as a 2024 hot trend on Pinterest, with +255% searches around “Cheeseburger Tacos,” followed by “Gummy Candy Kabobs” (+170%) and “Carbonara Ramen (+165%).

Daiya Foods recently opened doors to a first-of-its-kind pop-up called Slice Club. This LTO serves as a “judgement-free space to serve the curious” when it comes to plant-based foods.

Research reveals 85% of people are open and excited to try new plant-based foods for the first time, yet only one in ten feel comfortable doing so at a restaurant or in public. Despite growing curiosity towards more flexible diets, many feel “nervous,” “scared,” and “self-conscious” about exploring these options with others. -Daiya Foods

Another brand also leaning into the experience is Panera, with their LTO “Bread Hat” debut in time for the Kentucky Derby. The hat retails for $21, which is a nod to their 21 new-and-improved revamped menu items that just launched. The purchase of this “good enough to eat” hat comes with a $100 Panera gift card, further enticing consumers to visit their locations. So, consumers get the Kentucky Derby “glamour” experience while growing closer to the Panera brand at the same time.

Whether it’s a sensory experience as consumers take a bite out of a crunchy plant-based taco, or the brand experience changing how consumers connect, research and consumer insights are crucial. They help uncover winning formulas that enable brands to connect meaningfully with their target audience and build stronger loyalty.


What’s Next For Brands?

Brands that offer experiences go hand in hand with sensory connections and personalization. Brands can build experiential moments for their consumers by appealing to two or more senses to create a compelling experience. Plus, adding personalization to the brand experience tells the brand story and makes it relevant to the consumer, while simultaneously gaining trust and loyalty from consumers.

“Why simply buy the design of another person, when you can create it yourself?” says Angelina Jolie, in reference to her new fashion collection called Atelier Jolie which uses quality yet “leftover” material to create upcycled clothing pieces. By allowing people to personalize and co-create on new clothing items, Jolie’s brand turned shoppers into designers. Similar co-creation methodologies can apply across categories and industries with Curion’s help to reveal new insights and directions for brands.

Along with co-creation methods, Curion taps into various solutions including ethnographic research to observe consumers and their experiences in their natural environment, discovering firsthand insights around usage behaviors to improve the experience.


A Final Word

Ultimately, creating brand experiences on an emotional level will resonate with audiences, keeping them coming back for more. In today’s world, consumers have endless choices, so one of the most crucial winning factors is learning how to make your brand unforgettable. Every brand touchpoint is an opportunity to captivate through personalized storytelling, surprise and delight, or tapping into cherished nostalgia.

However, the path to designing your customer journey begins and ends with truly understanding your audience. Investing in in-depth consumer research and market insights will help your brand understand your consumers’ aspirations, pain points, and motivations. By unleashing this knowledge, your brand is ready to activate this information and turn it into a brand experience that will leave its mark on your consumers’ minds.



About Curion:

Curion specializes in delivering impactful insights to the world’s top CPG companies, helping them develop winning, repeatedly purchased products. Curion’s deep data-driven product insights, sensory expertise, and state-of-the-art consumer centers enable them to uncover responses to critical client objectives. With over five decades of experience in the product testing industry, Curion is dedicated to guiding clients with their proprietary XP Xperience Performance platform, connecting brands to consumers at every step. An innovator in the industry, Curion recently developed a groundbreaking benchmarking product testing method, the Curion Score™, which has become a trusted and sought after tool within the industry. As one of the largest product and consumer insights companies in the U.S., Curion has built a reputation for excellence and trust among the world’s leading consumer brands. Curion’s commitment to innovation and expertise, coupled with a passion for delivering actionable insights, makes Curion a valuable partner for companies looking to develop and launch successful products.