Authentic, personal, shareable, memorable – these descriptors typify consumers’ ideal brand interaction. And it is just that – an interaction, often with a real incentive – which consumers appreciate. A conversational interaction with multiple touch points gives brands a deeper and extended relationship with the consumer, ultimately leading to brand advocacy. Experiential marketing is the ideal platform to deepen those relationships, and consumers are getting on board.
Consumers are wary before they become brand evangelists. To stand out among the vast expanse of brand noise, experiential marketing may deliver a “wow-factor,” but it must also demonstrate relevant brand DNA in the process in order to connect on an emotional level. Tim Horton’s “Dark Experiment” was a bit unsettling with its dark rooms within a foreboding house. Though the dark experiment made the obvious connection to the brand’s new dark roast promotion, the feel of the experience fell too far from their community-friendly, inviting image. Communicating brand authenticity is the conceptual underpinning to all successful experiential interactions.
The cornerstones of experiential brand marketing are intimacy and immediacy. On the surface, reach of digital experiences is limited to the event locations. But, all participants are immersed in an extended interaction with the brand, and when social media, earned media and relevant brand incentives are organically integrated, the experience is at once disruptive, personal and lasting. According to a survey by Crossmark, 91% of consumers are likely to share a positive brand experience while 88% are likely to purchase a product following a positive brand experience. This level of brand efficacy usually leads to brand advocacy.
It’s one thing to leave an event and rave about an experience with your friends. It’s another to share a brand experience with your entire social network – especially when accompanied by user-generated content. Word of mouth carries more weight than nearly any other marketing platform (agency of the year: The Consumer), but when coupled with user generated content that expresses both the brand and the consumer’s sensibility, that’s a matched passion point. An experience like GEICO Karaoke elevated an ordinary karaoke scenario by giving consumers a branded music video of their performance to keep and share on various platforms, including YouTube. This shareable element delivers not just a tangible memory, but provides a clear ROI based on the additional impressions generated.
Regardless of how authentic, personal and shareable an interactive brand experience is staged, memorability is the core component. Not every experience can communicate on a scale like Bud Light and Heineken. However, every interactive experience that incorporates the four quadrant attributes has the elements for success.
Needless to say, quality and consistency of a brand’s product or service is most important. In a constantly changing landscape though, it’s the consumer interaction with a brand that will tip the scale. Give your consumer something they’ll remember. Give them an experience.