Who are you, really? The truth in tangible experiences

This article caught my eye this week, having spent a solid stint in premium spirits http://www.psfk.com/2012/09/bombay-sapphire-place-of-origin.html.

The Glenfiddich Distillery was key to our proposition to underpin the brand heritage and product integrity – always produced end-to-end at source in Speyside. It was also well-visited by brand lovers from around the world, particularly Japan and the US so great for building brand advocacy. And it was a place where we had total control and could influence the perception of the brand by contemporising the total brand experience – at source.

In today’s digital world, tangible experiences are increasingly valuable for a brand’s origin and authenticity (where do you come from). Also for building trust (who are you); for connection (I know you well enough to want to be your close friend); and for advocacy (I want to share our experience).

In Asia, tangibility has always been critical. Not so willing to accept ethereal brand promises. They want to be able to see, touch, experience a brand to believe in it.

In the wealth industry, some of the big brands without branches are ethereal. Not much to touch or see with your own eyes except for a logo on top of a city skyscraper. How do I trust a brand I can’t experience, a person I can’t meet, especially when we’re talking about my own money for the future? 

In the music industry, we can buy what we like online but its the live multi-sensory tangible experiences that are truly relished and then extended through sharing the experience, listening to the music, following the band etc. 

So what about a big digital brand like Google? I talk about them in my creds document as one of the brands that really knows how to align internal and external brands. We know what they stand for, their values are clearly stated on their website and they are heralded for carrying these out throughout their business. Their ever-improving search capabilities and constant innovation (the products we experience) reflect their values. But who are you really? I feel like I need a tour of their factory. Of the office that’s renowned for its flowing creative energy. Of a branch or store where I can talk to a real person. 

So in today’s digital world, is it enough to have a purpose, belief and values running through your DNA and brought to life across everything a brand is, says and does, internally and externally? Or do we need truly tangible experiences to believe?