By Lisa Major
If given the chance, people often count down the seconds to skip through an ad that’s keeping them from watching an online video. But in real life, there is no skip or fast-forward button. With that said, the best way to connect with consumers while ensuring your brand message is heard is through live brand experiences.
Experiential marketing is arguably the best strategy for fostering meaningful connections. But how can it go beyond the first fist-bump to form deep-rooted relationships that lead to brand loyalty?
Brands should look past quick transactional sales and instead focus on building long-term and meaningful relationships. Experiential marketing lays the foundation to build these types of relationships by first offering an authentic, one-on-one interaction that instantly leaves a mark. However, it goes far beyond just introducing a product, service or brand. You see, when companies demonstrate how the product or service can improve or enrich the lives of consumers, that’s when the magic happens. By immersing consumers in your brand, you create two-way conversations that prove your value; and that creates a memorable moment that could lead to brand loyalty.
Sixty-five percent of consumers contend that experiencing a live event or product demonstration helps them fully understand a product better than commercials or other methods do. By inviting consumers to experience your offering first hand, you open the door for them to immerse themselves in your story which instantly makes the experience feel personal to them.
NIKE perfects brand storytelling at its experiential retail store in NYC. The store offers customers a tailored experience like no other. Customers can try out new products via interactive sports simulations like playing a game of hoops while having their movements tracked and projected, or by taking a run on a treadmill in front of a jumbotron that simulates an outdoor run.
To successfully nurture a long-term relationship, there have to be moments that stick. Those moments have to be so compelling that they foster a desire to continue the brand interaction well beyond the initial contact, often in ways that make it comparable to a lifestyle choice.
Lululemon, the must-have women’s athletic apparel brand, pulled this off beautifully by conducting free yoga classes inside some of its stores. They targeted their clientele and created a FOMO moment that Lululemon fans couldn’t resist. As a result of this highly immersive brand experience, the brand was able to share their passion for fitness and wellness in a truly authentic way.
Data is king— and collecting consumer data is essential. It allows marketing professionals to effectively target their campaigns and nurture relationships by keeping the conversation going. Marketers and brands can capture information in a non-intrusive way by providing exclusive admission to an event or access to a brand experience in exchange for personal information. To keep the flow of the experience moving, consider arming your brand ambassadors with iPads to capture essential data on-the-move.
Unlike traditional ads that are disruptive, consumers actively participate in experiential marketing and the strategy works with, instead of against, our nature as human beings. Consumers crave real-life connections and satisfaction, and they want to make memories; experiential marketing provides all of that and more. By getting consumers to pause and enjoy the moment, they become grounded in the experience which in turn leads to a positive association with the brand that results in lasting relationships.
People can’t skip or fast-forward through real-life experiences and brands should capitalize on that by providing memorable and engaging experiences for consumers. In turn, that experience will stick with a consumer for years to come.
Connections aren’t possible without human interaction. When planning your experiential marketing activation, you’ll need top-notch people representing your brand. Brand ambassadors serve on the front lines as the face and voice of your brand, therefore, it is imperative to have the right people representing you. When it comes to experiential staffing, consider your brand image, your target audience, the venue/event, and your goals. In doing so, your consumers will feel even more connected to your message and your offerings.