CHAPTER 23Customer Experience: The New Frontier of Branding

Sergio Pereira

When the iPhone launched in 2007, no one knew the extent to which the world was about to change. The music industry would never be the same. The retail industry would never be the same. And taxis certainly had no idea the fate that would befall them once Uber came on the scene.

Indeed, the lightning-fast mass adoption of smartphones dramatically changed the world of consumer habits, which in turn changed the world of branding. Traditional brand-building models were upended, which allowed small, innovative companies to build powerful direct-to-consumer brands by cutting out the middleman (this process is called “disintermediation”).

Before digital, customers who wanted a product would simply drive to the store, find the desired section, and shop the shelf. Their first experience with the brand itself was at the point of purchase, and awareness was the key driver, built through mass media and packaging aesthetics. From there the product would be taken home and used or consumed. It was a linear journey, and one that allowed manufacturers to build a business model that revolved around the power of retailers. This chapter explores how the new digital environment has created experience brands that are turning the world of marketing upside down.

Experience: The Heart of a Brand

The advent of the smartphone and apps broke down barriers for new products and brands. With access to millions of shoppers via an ...

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