This month, Elephants had one of our Cultural Days where we step out of the office and try something new as a team. Last time, it was a foodie tour… this time, we decided we wanted to take it a step further. We spent the day at La Cucina Caldesi in Marylebone, where we experienced Italian cooking from scratch, under the guidance of Stefano Borella.
Starting at 10am and finishing at 4pm, the day was filled with fresh ingredients and plenty of hearty banter from Stefano and other fellow cookery and Italian food enthusiasts. The end result was a 3-course meal and sparkling, dinner table conversation.
We left Caldesi feeling that experiences such as this are important, not only to us, but to brands and consumers. Brands need to live beyond the products they make and the services they provide. Branded Customer Experiences like Caldesi’s cookery classes, make sense for so many brands but curating the right experience takes a good deal of thought.
Firstly, what do we mean by a Branded Customer Experience?
More than just buying a product, or even visiting a restaurant, Branded Customer Experiences bring the customer into the brand’s world. It enables the customer to see behind-the-scenes, meet the people involved in the brand, watch the products being made or even making the products. This can all add real depth and texture to the brand and leave the customer more engaged and more loyal.
Here are five steps to delivering a memorable, Branded Customer Experience:
1. Create an emotional connection.
Choose your team members wisely. It seems obvious but the people, who provide the experience, matter. Having an enthusiastic team will get your customers excited and eager for more. At Caldesi, we had Stefano and he was a born ‘bonne vivant’ ready with stories and anecdotes to connect with his audience and set the tone for the day.
2. Encourage sharing.
Give attendees things to photograph, to talk about and post about. It’s good for your brand because it’s more exposure and it’s good for your customers who can come away with great memories and something to share on their social media. We certainly came away with plenty of photos and conversation topics.
3. Make it social.
When you have groups of strangers come together for an experience, make it social. Give your customers ample opportunity to chat or work with each other. Stefano was great at getting people working together on different parts of the cooking process and the day was lively with conversations between friends and strangers alike.
4. Get educational.
Aside from having fun, giving your customers the chance to learn a new skill or discover interesting facts is always a bonus. From learning that we’re not putting enough olive oil in our dishes to Amalfi lemon prices in the UK being somewhat extortionate, we came away from our cookery class with lots of new insights.
5. Give customers something to take away with them afterwards.
The memory of the experience is great but if you can top it off with something tangible, even better. Be it something that the customer made themselves or a small, complimentary gift, the physical memory of it will keep your brand in their mind. We loved the handmade almond biscuits and the Caldesi apron we left with.
When it makes sense for your brand, providing an interactive experience for your customers can help give it depth and leave them loyal and ready to advocate to others – much like how we would recommend La Cucina Caldesi’s cookery classes to our family and friends. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start planning your Branded Customer Experience.