Monday, March 3, 2008

Branding Experience from a musical point of view

Recently, I started taking guitar lessons. Being a music lover and having played the drums growing up, the guitar is something I always wanted to learn to play. This lead me to two different music stores - The Guitar Center and Music and Arts. How ironic that Music and Arts now owns The Guitar Center. 

I'm going to start with The Guitar Center. What a store! Talk about creating an emotional experience the second you walk through the door. It is rock 'n roll heaven. Guitars are everywhere. Of course, being The Guitar Center, they should be the first thing you see. But, what really creates the emotional experience that all brands should have is that you can pick up a guitar, plug into an amp and just jam. This is true for the rest of the store as well - there is an Acoustic Corral for those wanting to unplug, a full drum area as well as keyboard section where you can sit and play. Is there any better way to get to know a product or company than by being able to demo it first? I know this won't work for everyone, but all brands need to have an experience like this that connects with the customer on an intimate, emotional level. Because, only then will you begin to receive the social and economic benefits of such an emotional brand. 

As for the Music And Arts Center, this is tailored to a completely different musician. This is for the school band musician - it covers everything from classical instruments to guitars and drums. What's interesting about the store, is the bright, uncluttered, straight-forward feel to it. It is almost the opposite of The Guitar Center. And it probably should be, being that it is really catering to the parents of the musicians. They want to make it as easy and unimposing as possible for these parents to come in, purchase what they need for their kids and get out. There is no lingering area, no area to jam, just straight forward, high end musical instruments and accessories for school age musicians. 

Now, is this experience any less effective or emotional than the one The Guitar Center presents? I don't think so. It is all about understanding who your customer is, what is their need, what experience do they want to have, and delivering exactly that. 

The experience that a customer has with you is what will get them to come back. Obviously, you have to have a good product or service, but by creating an emotional experience you will get them to come back, tell others about your company and, eventually, become a lifelong customer. And isn't that a whole lot easier than having to get new cusotmers over and over?

-The Brand Man

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