Experience Branding: What We Can Learn From A Cabin in Gatlinburg
Your brand is only as good as your customers experience your product or service. Negative experiences yield a negative brand. Positive experiences yield a positive brand. Additionally, your brand is affected by your advertising or marketing attempts only to the extent of whether you live up to your claims.
My wife, Rachael, and I took off for a weekend getaway to Gatlinburg, Tennessee this weekend. It was a last-minute trip and fortunately, we were able to book a cabin rental. Our excitement quickly drained to disgust when we arrived.
The driveway was eroded where it met the road, so we nearly ruined the car trying to accelerate quick enough to overcome the large ledge. We were then greeted by several species of bugs when we finally got inside - a insect killing spree was required. We discovered there was not even a battery in the smoke detector - which I assume is against the law in the rental business. There were holes in the walls in the bathroom. We even found writing on one of the walls. The shower knob kept falling off and the bathroom fixtures were not secured to the wall. Then, on our second day, we were infested with ants - hundreds of them - all over the kitchen.
Needless to say, our experience was less than perfect. The rental website painted this cabin as a perfect getaway location. In fact, the cabin was named “Hidden Heaven.” Ironic.
Because of our experience, it has affected our thoughts on not only this cabin but also the company that rented it. We will never use this company again. There is no telling how many other cabins they have that are in worse condition than a run-down motel.
How your customers experience your product or service is EVERYTHING. Strive to create the best experience for your customers in any way possible. A good experience will not only bring them back for more, but they will become evangelists on your behalf.