Foundations of a brand experience

At first glance, it may seem like a too broad and somewhat abstract topic. And, indeed, it is. We've already highlighted some of its points in previous articles. And now, we find it interesting to recap these foundations of a brand experience, forming a sort of checklist of essentials to guide your approach to a new project. But before discussing them, let's clarify what a brand experience is.


A good question


In the broadest sense of the word, it’s any interaction a consumer has with a brand. Whether online or in a physical store, whether watching a TV ad or on social media, or speaking to hostess of a street marketing action. But the focus of this blog is experiential marketing. Therefore, when discussing brand experiences, we primarily focus on those interactions that take the form of events. We exclude, therefore, all aspects related to branding, conventional advertising, or digital strategies, unless these are part of an event. And now, straight to the point.


It works both ways


Very often, we feel overwhelmed by the presence of brands in our lives enduring hundreds of advertising impacts per day. Sometimes, without even realizing it. And rightly so. Consumer attention is the new gold, and brands fight to capture it, even if just for a millisecond.


But the opposite is also true. The consumer needs brand experiences. Because choosing through interaction is part of human nature. We like to tell stories and listen to them, to touch, to taste, to experience emotions... That's how we connect. But it's important that the experience and its impact are right in time and form, and that they convey the right message. That's why experiential marketing is gaining more weight within brand strategies.


The right keys


A significant part of the success of an experience depends on its ability to generate engagement with the audience. Hence, it's absolutely necessary to know your consumers inside out. They could be numerous and varied, or on the contrary, they could be heterogeneous and niche. Either way, to connect with someone, you have to know them well to hit the right keys.


You need to understand very well where your audience hangs out, what mood they're in at different times of the day, what entertainment they consume, where they go on vacation, etc. Because creatively, you never know what information might inspire you to find that sweet spot, that point of convergence between their tastes and their desire to interact with your brand, and what your brand wants to tell them.


Just to give an example, setting up a pop-up store for a yogurt brand in a train station might not be the brightest idea. And yet, this same format (plus some sensory activation) and location could be ideal for a coffee or luggage brand.


The weak spot


We all like to feel unique. It's part of the egocentric nature of a human being. It's our weak spot. Therefore, a brand that personalizes experiences, making us feel unique, has many more chances not only to find a place in our hearts but to settle there and build a lasting relationship.


Surprise, excite, inspire


What we remember best are the emotional peaks. Something that surprises us, triggers good memories, stimulates the senses, or activates hormonal mechanisms like dopamine or endorphin release. Therefore, a truly effective experience must establish an emotional connection with the audience.


The good news is that the creative repertoire allowing us to achieve this goal is very broad. It's just a matter of opening up the mind a bit and imagining what kind of connection you want your brand to establish with people. Do you want to inspire an adventure with your camping gear stores? Or is it about stirring emotions so that people empathize with your cause if you're an NGO? Whatever it takes, make sure your experiential action doesn't leave the audience indifferent.


The location matters


Choose spaces that resonate with your audience. While it's true that most spaces are shared by practically everyone, sometimes, special consideration is needed regarding the most suitable place to offer an experience. This is because people's readiness for interaction varies throughout the day and depends on the mode they are in: commuter, worker, leisure time, etc. Do you remember the example of the pop-up café in a train station?


See you on social media


And last but not least, don't neglect digital channels. It's a very natural medium for several generations that were born already with a smartphone in hand. That's where they get informed, that's where they leave their feedback. Therefore, it's very convenient to establish a fluent communication with them through their favorite channels and use it both for pre-event warming up, for impact measurement, and even for some participation mechanics.

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