As customer expectations continue to rise, brand experiences are becoming more unique — and for good reason. Take for instance an Aberdeen Group study which states companies with a strong customer experience (CX) retain 89% of customers versus 33% retained by low CX companies. What’s even more impressive is Gartner’s prediction that 50% of companies will redirect funds toward their CX in 2017. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product quality as the key brand differentiator.

READ: 4 Insights You Can Unlock by Mapping the Customer Journey

With CX holding such importance for consumers, it is crucial that companies focus on the journeys their customers experience when interacting with their products or services. Customers already know this to be true, and the brand industry is finally facing up to something that has been obvious all along.

The strength of a brand is in the sum of its parts – not in the individual silos that make it up across the brand and marketing functions. While customers don’t often divide their brand experiences into buckets of advertising, pack, in-store, and digital, brands must differentiate and answer the “why” behind choosing a particular brand, and demonstrate alignment between the way consumers identify themselves in a broader way.

Successful brands are driving customer-driven innovation to stand out from the rest — here are 4 ways your brand can create better customer experiences:

Be unique. A unique brand experience adds value to the consumer — creating a special bond that makes them crave more and prompts them to consistently come back and/or repurchase. In fact, according to a recent BrandSquare webinar featuring findings from Mintel, David Luttenberger explains how consumers are more likely to try a new product if the brand provides a great experience. That is what consumers want — and their purchasing behaviors will reflect it.

  • Customers switch brands due to poor experience.
  • Customer experience impacts their willingness to be loyal.
  • Customers are willing to pay for a better experience.

The old phrase “the customer is always right” coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge back in 1909 still reigns true. That is the power of CX.

Be relevant. In a world of limitless distractions, brands are working harder than ever to stand out. However, brands must not create experiences just for the sake of creating something exciting — there must be a reason, a strategy, and it must make sense for the consumer. Go beyond customer support and think about the journey customers have while in-store and online.

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For example, in China, consumers are much more open to innovative experiences, whereas other parts of the world may need to delve deeper in consumer insights to connect efficiently. While CX is defined by the interactions between customer and an organization through their business relationship, what’s more important is to know your audience and provide an experience that resonates.

Be simple. Simplicity isn’t frowned upon when it comes to the brand experience; convenience is actually rewarded within the shopping journey. As customer expectations continue to change, the customer experience must change right along with them, while adding value at the same time. Technology and automation offer efficiencies in delivering consumers the products they need.

With the Amazon Dash Button, consumers can easily reorder their favorite products with a simple touch. Amazon is also offering a mobile option for an even more convenient shopping journey for its Prime members.

Recently, Amazon also introduced a button called the Prime Surprise Sweets which sends consumers “mystery” candy — leveraging the subscription box trend we are currently seeing in the beauty and fashion industries.

READ: How to Leverage the Extreme Growth of the Men’s Beauty Market 

Be innovative. An innovative smart device is the GeniCan — which turns your garbage can into a shopping list. Through barcode scanning technology, once you throw away a product, the GeniCan will add the item to a digital shopping list. So, the next time you throw away an empty cereal box, you will be reminded to pick up a new one the next time you are grocery shopping. Products without barcodes can be added by using voice recognition and photo identification.

The customer experience brings together new ways brands can strengthen their relationships with customers. After all, what would a business be without customers? When brands focus on the customer journey and create the experiences that supplement their needs, companies will realize a positive impact on customer loyalty and increased revenue.