The Evolution of the Brand Experience
Historically, brand experiences were created with one result in mind – making the biggest splash possible. Today creating an impactful “wow” factor is only one (important) part of an expansive brand experience puzzle.
Yes, it is essential to wow visitors, but if that is all you deliver, you are not going to achieve the results you desire — namely gathering valuable data, acquiring leads, and making sales.
Today’s brand experiences extend beyond the booth. While a live event remains a significant part of the journey, it is accompanied by a carefully planned marketing campaign that includes traditional communications, social media, and experiential methods. The end result creates a personalized experience for the consumer where your brand is with them along the entire excursion.
Consumers are Willing to Pay More for Positive Brand Experiences
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
That quote from Jeff Bezos, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, highlights the necessity of providing customers with a thoughtful brand experience. These days, thanks to the internet (in general) and Amazon (specifically), consumers can be exposed to a wider variety of brands. In this highly competitive environment, brands are ultimately judged by how they treat their customers (i.e., by the experience they provide) as opposed to their price or quality.
According to research from the accounting firm PWC, consumers are willing to pay a premium when they feel appreciated by companies. For example, consumers will spend as much as:
7 percent more for car insurance
10 percent more for an airline ticket
12 percent more for dinner
14 percent more for an annual physical
14 percent more for a hotel stay
16 percent more for a cup of coffee
Interestingly, customers were not willing to pony up more cash for trendy products or new features unless, first, their experience expectations were met.
This is what makes brand experiences so powerful. By forging a connection with consumers, brands can cement loyalty. This not only helps to ensure sales, but also those sales can even be at a higher price point than the competition.
Consumer Tastes Continue to Evolve
The consumer is continually evolving. That’s another reason to continuously woo consumers with brand experiences. Meaningful engagement is valued across demographics. Once thought to be the exclusive purview of the Millennials, today we better understand that consumers across demographics crave experiences.
These consumers are colloquially known as Perennials. It’s a term that was coined by Gina Pell in 2016.
“The term Perennials is not a fluffy euphemism for relevant people over 40. Millennials can be Perennials. Octogenarians can be Perennials. Even children can be Perennials. I’m talking about a mindset. Not a flat, one-dimensional timeline that runs from birth punctuated by generational barriers designed to categorize and divide us.
“In a recent article in the ABA Banking Journal, it’s suggested, in fact, that ‘attitudes and habits that are widely thought to be Millennial-specific may actually be quite widespread among the general population.’ Relevance belongs to every age not only during the period of a generation’s ascension to power.”
The point is that the most valuable consumer is your consumer, and they are ready and interested in engagement from your brand. They are also becoming harder and harder to reach by traditional marketing means, which makes social engagement not only valuable but essential.
Need another reason to focus your marketing strategies on Perennials? Right now (and this will be true into the near future), there are five generations in the workforce. This collective population forms connections based on their experiences rather than their ages. From a marketing perspective, segmenting people exclusively by birth year makes much less sense than it has in the past.
Focus on the Consumer
Creating a brand experience is one of your best options to reach this Perennial crowd. It’s all about creating an experience that puts your audience at the center of an integrated experience.
The first step is to remember to focus entirely on the consumer. It’s all about solving their needs. By knowing what issues are most important to your crowd, you can directly confront these issues in innovative and creative ways. A brand experience cannot be entirely effective until consumer’s needs are put at the forefront.
Use the tools that are already available at your fingertips to reach further into your audience to create the most substantial connection possible. You can do this by utilizing data you have on your consumers and paring it with predictive technology to create the clearest possible picture of your audience. In the end, you will create an event that is “personalized” to your consumers.
From communications on social media to the actual live activation, your guests will experience an unparalleled level of customization. For example, you can use beacon-enabled technology to alert an attendee when something that matches their interests is about to occur nearby. Or digital signage can change can literally change depending on who is passing by at the time.
Creating Brand Experiences
The goal is to immerse your audience in the experience, to create something that is so engaging that the audience loses themselves in the moment.
Brainstorming is an essential part of the process, but just as essential is knowing when to pull back and pare down. You don’t want to throw every idea that’s on the whiteboard into the finished product. When you try to achieve everything, you run the risk of creating an unfocused mess. Something that will leave your attendees feeling confused and anxious as opposed to enthralled and full of wonder. And you can trust that those experiences will be shared on social media as quickly (maybe even faster) as a positive one would be.
It can also be helpful to review past live events and notice the elements that went unappreciated by audiences. This may mean reviewing audience traffic patterns and seeing areas of low attendance or reviewing promotional materials and giveaways to identify what failed to move the needle. Thoughtful editing will help you create a lean, focused, effective brand experience.
A brand experience is all about creating that essential connection with your audience. That’s all the more reason to pare down — you want your story to stand out. Your audience is already engaged, you just need to make that essential move that will turn an involved consumer into a brand ambassador. You have to know what is most important to your audience, what will powerfully resonate with them, and then discover the most effective medium for them to feel and understand your story.
Brands like Samsung, Apple, and Nike have set the standard of today’s brand experiences. As a result, consumers expect this level of engagement from brands across the board. The good news is that you don’t have to have the budget of a mega-corporation to engage with consumers at this level. It simply requires a thoughtful and considered approach.
That’s where we can help. Event Architecture has experts with years of experience creating personalized brand experiences that generate the engagement you desire and the ROI you need. Give us a call at 972-323-9433 and discover what we can do for you.