What people believe about your company’s reputation, products, and services is based on what they see and experience. Their perception and how they feel when they purchase or use your company’s products or services will determine whether they buy that brand, donate to that cause, or spend time on that again. Experiences create the opportunity for the company to influence what people see, perceive, and feel about their brand. They have the chance to cut through the information clutter prevalent in our society and create connections.
What is “Experience”?
Experience is an on-site interaction between company employees, products, and services, and the people that come into contact with them.
According to a survey conducted by the Event Marketing Institute:
- 72% of consumers say that they positively view brands that provide quality event opportunities and experiences.
- 74% of consumers say that engaging with branded event marketing experiences makes them more likely to buy the products promoted.
Types of Brand Experiences
Corporate Events. A corporate experiential event could be anything from a sporting event to a community campaign for a cause.
Conferences or Trade Shows. Where else can you get a large group of businesses in your target niche all gathered in one place, where you can introduce your company products and services?
Pop-Ups. A pop-up is a booth or stand or short-term store at a festival or entertainment event. It is an excellent brand strategy for retail business as it provides a broad, captive target audience of consumers to test out a new product, a new audience, or demonstrate existing product features. Pop-up shops are less expensive than a storefront.
Digital Experiences. Sometimes you are trying to reach a broad base of people that are widely dispersed across the world. While digital experiences lack some of the power of person to person connections, don’t discount bringing an experiential approach to creating them. Things like online prize programs can fill in the gaps in a very effective way in between live gatherings if the same things that make a great live experience are brought into your online creation.
The Purpose of a Brand Experience
A successful brand experience should create a robust, meaningful interaction between the brand’s products or services and the people that would likely use them. The experience provides a chance for the consumer to become an advocate, friend, and supporter of your company’s brand.
Successful brand experiences:
Make an emotional connection between a brand and the participants. A (now) well-known shoe company donates a pair of shoes to a needy person for every pair of shoes you buy.
Allow people to associate your corporate brand with positive feelings, emotions, or memories. Why does a family spend over $100 per day entrance fee to visit a cartoon theme park? Because the company makes feel-good family-oriented movies and creates family-oriented experiences that become lifetime memories.
Impact an individual so much that the brand becomes ingrained in the consumer’s thinking. Every product that a certain tech company invents is unique, innovative, and created with the user’s ease of use in mind. It has many imitators, but only this company’s products can command a higher price and generate such a loyal following.
5 Benefits of Experiences
1. Delivers a longer lasting advertising message. It’s not a 15-second ad spot on a radio or TV station; it’s an authentic conversation that allows the consumer to understand the brand.
2. Immerses people in the brand story. A performing arts venue celebrated its grand opening with a weekend of events that each highlighted different aspects of the venue and its history in the community.
3. Builds excitement for your brand. An exclusive international trip for top performers reflected a property development company’s commitment to employees and inspired continuing enthusiasm and loyalty for the brand.
4. Encourages participants to share with others. People who did not attend the event will hear about it, read about it, see clips about it, and feel they missed out on something amazing. When the brand puts on another experience, attendance and participation should increase.
5. Creates opportunities for social media engagement. Experiences draw in media, bloggers, photographers, and the like who want to share breaking and exciting content with their followers.
6. Creates authentic connections. In an ever growing society built around surface level interactions (“likes,” “loves,” “lols”), having an authentic experience creates a connection. Having a connection between customers, employees and brands is one of the only ways to truly stand out in an information overload state that is our current reality.
The Return on Investment of an Experience
Brand awareness. An experience puts your brand in front of large numbers of consumers.
Earned media attention. Before, during, and after the event, press and social media will usually feature the corporate brands responsible for a successful, well-attended event.
Targeted marketing. Specific events are often geared to niche audiences. Through events on college campuses highlighting water sustainability, a major automotive brand was able to reach its next generation of customers.
Increased social media traffic. Mention of your company brand on a social media post from a participant creates curiosity among social media channel viewers.
Brand loyalty. For already established company brands, experiences create an opportunity to increase brand loyalty. A major soft drink brand has been well-known since 1892, yet it continues to be a partner of major sporting and entertainment events to keep it top-of-mind for consumers as the soft drink brand to buy.
Goodwill. Companies who create experiences that show they are personally invested in a cause, or a local community, spread a positive image of their brand. A local bank that starts a book drive for a local K-12 school earns the appreciation and business of the community it serves.
Cost-effective advertising. Brand experience can be more cost-effective than traditional advertising. A half-day experiential event in front of a small audience that is shared via social media to a much larger audience can cost less than a full-page ad in a national magazine.
An amazing brand experience doesn’t just happen. It requires a well-thought-out brand strategy, publicity design, incredible content, technology, and production, all working seamlessly together. That’s what we do best.