“ [the brand experience is] all the interactions people have with a product, service, or organisation; the raw material of a brand.”
- Marty Neumeier, author of The dictionary of brand
If you’re a regular on our blog you will have heard us use the term ‘experience’ quite often. (Our fabulous intern counted 17 occasions in the past three months). With consumers overwhelmed with brands offering them ‘things’, many now seek an experience to go with that ‘thing’.
Welcome to experiential marketing.
The premise of experiential marketing is to create a closer bond between the consumer and the brand by immersing them in a fun and memorable experience. If a brand event stirs positive emotions in people then they are more likely to associate those emotions with that brand.
So how do you create a brand experience? The challenge with this question is you cannot manufacture a person’s experience. By its very nature, how an experience is felt is in the hands of the person doing the experiencing.
To avoid an unfair anti-climax, we’ve gathered some steps your brand can take:
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
Coordinate event adverts, press releases, notices and social media posts so they clearly and consistently reflect your brand. And remember pre-event SEO. “Events are a staple of many company’s marketing and lead-generating strategies meaning there can be a lot of competition,” says Eventstag.com. They remind us all that SEO plays a major role in pre-event planning and recommend including as many relevant links as possible, with relevant being the operative word.
Remember to get links to any of the contributors websites, social channels, blogs and your sponsor’s sites. Most importantly, try to get as many links from other sites back to your event page as possible (also known as back-linking).
2. Get people to register
Using registration sites like RegFox Event Management will ensure that people register for any events you create. The registration process is important, as it gives people a sense of engagement, encourages them to place it in their calendar and creates a feeling that they are going to be attending something of value to them.
The registration also helps you plan for numbers and can be used to find out more about your customers and provides a working database for future promotions. Let's call that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) for now.
3. Get personal
Use social media. Produce great biographies of any contributors and staff, and make use of videos and pictures to create a sense of excitement and encourage attendance. Entice the reader, tell them a story – there’s a novel idea, as to why it is in their best interest to attend and by all means no sales pitch.
Sending a pre-event email based on your customer registration both reminds people to attend and gives them a sense that they are very important to your event. It sends the message that they are valued.
4. Fix your face
First impressions are lasting. Make use of banners, well-planned and placed stands, and promotional materials with your logo. Use free gifts and information to entice the customer and be sure that those giving information are fully informed. Everything from start to finish should show off your particular brand as the best and the most efficient. You want to create a really powerful message that your brand is the best and that customers will remember, so they will think of your brand first in the future.
5. Integrate social media
Your event attendees should be easily able to communicate their experience at the event on social media. Depending on what your event is and where it is held, you should have a landing page that reflects this, video of the event, hashtags that attendees can use when tweeting or posting about your event on Facebook, and a Google+ Hangout.
As a bonus, here are some tips courtesy of the American Marketing Association about post event marketing tips, for as the AMA reminds us all: “successful marketers must also be sure that they are putting together their post-event plan strategy.”
Failing all the above...Just ask
Performing extensive market research before starting to develop your brand experience. Focus groups, research studies, cold calls and other resources are great tools for understanding what consumers want and how you can tailor your business to those desires. Ensure that you’re spending ample time and energy to ensure that your branding initiatives are fruitful.
Do you have a question about anything you've just read? Need help to create your first brand experience? Drop us a line below.