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14 September 2015

Every brand’s new secret weapon

   



Make no mistake, your brand’s value now relies or will soon rely on two-way participation experiences with your customer. And it’s not just Generation X or Generation Y. The rise of digital media, followed by increasing smartphone and tablet ownership has resulted in a highly fragmented communications landscape, making it more and more difficult to engage with all generations through traditional marketing techniques.

What’s more, people have become increasingly marketing savvy and with the help of digital filters are adept at filtering out messages that don’t interest them. In some countries nearly one quarter has adblocking software installed, 1 in 5 in the UK. Bombarded by thousands of marketing messages by businesses and brands offering similar products and services, it’s not only tough to reach your target audience, but also to make an impact when you do.

Consequently, marketers are always looking for a platform that allows them to communicate their brand benefits to an engaged audience willing to listen. They want more personal conversations with hot leads and more participation from customers to help develop products and services that people actually want.

It’s no surprise then that brands are turning to experiential marketing to satisfy this need. Once seen as the poor relation in the marketing mix, it is increasingly becoming a key part of marketing campaigns and marketers’ new secret weapon by not only immersing people in a brand through interaction and participation, but also being highly shareable across digital media.

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To deliver an engaging progression of the brand story, a meaningful brand strategy consists of understanding the ‘why’ before executing the ‘what’. This is especially true when creating an engaging live brand experience.

A story of finding out why

A man came across three builders and asked the each one what they were doing. “Can’t you see? I’m building a wall!” replied the first grumpily.

The second answered: “I am building a wall, 10m long, 4m high and three bricks deep.” He then turned to the first man and yelled: ”Stop! You’ve gone too far. Shorten that length by a metre!”

Content and smiling, the third builder replied: “I am building an oval opera house that will echo beautifully and give people happy memories.”

When he saw the other two fighting over a misplaced brick. He said: “Don’t worry, this will all be plastered over to form the main oval hall soon.”

The third builder was the happiest because he understood the bigger picture – or the why’ – helping him move forward successfully and also encourage others to stay focused with their eye on the real prize.

Only by starting out with a clear objective and keeping it in focus can you maximise the effectiveness of a live experience, engage most deeply with your audience and deliver the best return for the brand.

Channel hopping

Today’s brand marketing requires that all channels should be integrated for optimal effect. Therefore at each stage, the brand story should be connected and developing, and ideally grow and evolve with the participating customers. This is especially true for experiential and events, although such activity too often feels disconnected and fadlike rather than an effective brand platform.

Customers are looking to build a relationship, connection and dialogue with brands, marketers should make the most of this fantastic opportunity to engage. Customers also want brands to help them satisfy a need they have, or solve a key problem or challenge they face. Many marketers ignore this opportunity to build brand loyalty by adding value in this way. Executed effectively, with the objective firmly in mind, experiential helps brands connect directly with their audiences and address key needs. Strategy is at the heart of identifying the challenge and devising a guiding policy to deliver solutions.

Live marketing’s muilti-dimensional nature delivers the authentic brand participation that marketers and customers crave. Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of one-way messages, experiential actively involves them in developing a meaningful relationship and co-creation with the brand. But only if clear objectives are identified at the outset and the target audience is firmly in focus, so it’s all the more necessary to be clear on the ‘why’ to avoid simply jumping on the experiential bandwagon.

By Sasha Mueller, Strategy Director at 2Heads

   



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