It’s easy to know how to exactly reach today’s audiences.
All they want is a deep, meaningful engagement that is authentic and socially aware. They want to know more about a business before they support it and will choose one that aligns with their beliefs – like sustainability and ethical practices – even if it is the more expensive or complex option. They hope to build a relationship with brands they want to support – but don’t want to be marketed to, will opt out of email campaigns, and install ad blockers across all their devices.
Fortunately, technology has enabled marketers to be able to keep up with today’s crowd, even as that crowd becomes more diverse and blurs traditional demographic lines.
The solution is to provide “brand experiences” designed to create specific, valuable interactions between brands (i.e., their products and services) and their audience. Done well, these events lead to greater brand affinity and create emotional connections and meaningful relationships with a brand.
Brand experiences also provide audiences with an event, which is increasingly becoming important as consumers crave experiences over things.
The Samsung Experience
An example of an effective brand experience is the Samsung 837 flagship store located in New York City.
Although calling the store is a bit of a misnomer because nothing is actually sold at the location. Instead, the goal is to allow people to gain familiarity with Samsung products and how they can integrate them into their lives. Because nothing is on sale, the environment is low stress, purely informative as opposed to transaction focused.
The bottom floor is dedicated to rotating exhibits that utilize Samsung technology. For example, when the store opened, visitors could enter the “Social Galaxy”, a cylindrical tunnel that would utilize the guest’s public Instagram and project a giant mosaic of their personal (social media) history around a 360 tunnel-like interior. As people “float” through the tunnel (for that is the effect created), they are surrounded by Instagram messages from months or years ago that are spoken to them, as well.
Visitors can also see performances at the enormous Screen and Mainstage areas, ride a roller coaster in a 4D virtual reality chair, watch a DJ mix music or see a live podcast recording at the professional music studio, and that’s before heading upstairs where you can grab a cup of coffee, wirelessly charge your phone, play a game, attend a workshop, and – if the mood strikes you – check out a Samsung product.
The store showcases how Samsung products integrate seamlessly into people’s lives, and it does it in an extremely engaging and subtle way. It’s a store that comes across as unconcerned about selling. It just wants you to be happy.
Photo Credit: Billboard.com
The Benefits of Brand Experiences
Of course, Samsung isn’t an altruistic organization that’s just out to spread joy. It’s a multibillion-dollar corporation that wants you to buy its stuff instead of the stuff that other multibillion-dollar corporations are putting out.
And it is acquiring plenty of valuable information about prospective customers at this store – it’s just doing it in such a way that it is almost unnoticeable.
That’s what successful brand experiences do: make the consumer the focus.
Once Samsung gathered the valuable social media information – and all the data connected to it – they were able to target and analyze the people who spent time in their store and further personalize the experience.
You can do the same thing.
The technology exists now for your visitors to create a digital profile. Then, you can utilize beacon-enabled technology and pair it with either a mobile app or an RFID-equipped wearable device to notify visitors of activities that perfectly match their interests, such as lectures, sessions, or booths. It is even possible for someone to approach a digital sign and have the information change, so it is tailored to that specific person.
Photo Credit: Undercovertourist
The goal is to gather enough data to personalize your interactions as much as possible. Gathering data is essential, but it is not the end goal. The more data you gather, the more usable insights you will identify, and the better you can customize the engagement, which will lead to this practice occurring in a loop as you create brand loyalty.
This level of personalization is fast becoming the norm for brand experiences. Understand what your guests need, what they are feeling, what they value, and you will be able to tailor their personal customer journey.
This is how you create a true connection.
Completely Engaging the Crowd
Because a brand experience puts your audience directly in front of you, it is an opportunity to fully engage with them. There has been a lot written about the importance of engaging all five senses at events. That’s because the more you can engage your attendees, the more successful it will be. When multiple senses are triggered, experiences become more intensely memorable.
Oxford University examined the interactions between two or more senses and discovered that context has a massive impact on how we perceive a situation. For example:
- Color can change how we perceive flavor. The study had people drink the same hot chocolate from different cups. Folks that drank from orange cups found the beverage to have the strongest flavor, while cream-colored cups delivered sweetness and an intense aroma.
- Music can change how something tastes. Three groups drank the same wine but listened to different music. The study found that we associate lower notes with bitterness and higher notes with sweetness.
- Touch can also impact the perception of flavor. When people ate two samples of the same yogurt – one off a silver spoon and the other off a plastic spoon – they reported that the silver spoon yogurt tasted creamier.
When you utilize the five senses, you have a greater chance to influence how someone perceives your brand.
Brand experience is all about creating an event that “you had to be there to understand”, an internet video won’t do it justice. The more that you are able to engage all five senses, the closer you are to creating that moment.
Tell Your Story
Humans love a good story.
What do you think of when you hear Pixar or Steven Spielberg? Most people associate those names with good storytelling. And, when those names are attached to a project, they are ready to see the new movie based mostly on past experiences, as opposed to the current story.
Brand experiences let you get your brand’s story out in front of an audience that’s ready to listen. If you provide them with a real, meaningful story, one that is honest and affecting, you will reach your audience and get them invested in your narrative and what your brand is trying to achieve.
This humanizes you and helps to create those ever-important personal connections.
The key to understanding brand experiences is understanding that it doesn’t fit into an existing channel. Brand experiences are a blank slate, where you dictate what story to tell and how to tell it. Brand experiences are exciting and innovative – and exactly what your audience craves. To learn more about brand experiences and how to personalize your engagements with your audiences, give The Trade Group a call at 800-343-2005.
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