In life we learn from our experiences, like hitting reply all, drunk dialling or buying clothes to slim into – all bad ideas.
As customers we also learn from our experiences, which is why it’s important to breathe life into your brand and give people the chance to experience what you have to offer.
There is an old Chinese proverb that says:
Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember
Involve me, I’ll understand
By involving people in your brand through a creative brand experience, they’ll better understand what you’re selling and how it benefits them, and will buy into you more easily as they immerse themselves in your offering.
Brand experiences communicate on a personal level and generate a deeper level of engagement which ultimately leads to more sales and repeat business, but is not solely focused on this in the short term. In the marketing world this type of promotion is called Experiential Marketing and focuses on building a following, increasing customer satisfaction and creating a buzz about your business, rather than focusing on sales transactions.
This type of activity can benefit a brand in the following ways:
- Raises brand awareness
- Builds relationships with your target audience on a personal level
- Increases loyalty
- Builds a deeper knowledge of your offering and reinforces the need for your product or service
- Encourages interaction and product trialling
- Establishes your brand as an authority in its market
- Creates positive memories and experiences
- Stimulates positive word of mouth
- Manages the perception of your brand
- Creates a desire for your product or service
- Sells your brand and your product or service
Brand experiences happen both on and offline and with every single interaction someone has with your company. But with regards to Experiential Marketing, these usually manifest as live events or stunts that are supported by social media. These types of events come in all shapes and sizes and shouldn’t be thought of as big budget extravaganzas, as there are loads of brands from all walks of life that have created some amazing brand experiences with next to no budgets at all.
As long as you know who you want to target and have a deep understanding of what they want and like and what motivates them. You then you need to decide what your objective is for the event (what do you want to get out of it? What’s your message?). Then you can decide the best most relevant way to interact with them and how to get that message across. It’s important to set the right tone that not only best represents your brand, but also that speaks directly to your audience.
Small budget experiences could involve hosting a special Meet-Up, regular in-store events and demonstrations, or even flash-mob type activity. You don’t have to spend lots of money to make a big impact but you do need to have a well thought out plan and a good idea that will make people stop in their tracks. Your idea needs to be engaging and interactive and something that reflects your brand values.
It’s super important to make sure any events you host are delivered professionally as it can do more damage than good if executed poorly. Success doesn’t necessarily have to relate to sales on the day but could mean the number of people who engaged with your activity, or the number of sign-ups and leads you got, or the brand perception you created leading to increased interest in your brand, all of which lead to long-term sales and business buoyancy.
Plus the beauty of this type of activity is that it crosses all media platforms, and can be promoted on social media to extend the reach and life of your event.
A great example of how brand experiences should be done is from AFG, the company behind Morphsuits. They used Facebook as a way to promote their business without a budget, building a community and engaging them through competitions and events such as meet-ups and flash mobs, and asking them to post their own pictures wearing the suits. The more they interacted with the community, the more likely they were to buy a suit. So do remember to encourage people to share their experiences and get yourself seen and heard well after your event has finished.