With consumers excited to be out and about in a post-pandemic world, live experiences are on the increase, with brands embracing direct engagement and putting experiential marketing at the top of their strategies. But what is a brand experience and why should we be pushing them?
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An immersive brand experience is any campaign that aims “to create a new, illusory environment for its audience” and makes “the participant feel part of what is being presented to them, pushing them to explore it with their senses.”
Infographic from medium.com
So drawing upon the concept of the brand of your company being the why and the experience as the what and how, we can delve deeper into the relationship with the consumer, tell a story, communicate and bond.
By providing a tangible and emotional setting for consumers to interact with you and others, brand experiences combine user and customer experience, brand identity and storytelling to hook buyers. It incorporates all the sensations, thoughts, feelings and reactions individuals have of your brand and provides space for this to be shared with other consumers. Brand experience is quite literally how you are experienced by an audience or customer through creating memorable moments and weaving your narrative to leave lasting impressions.
This is where a team of dynamic designers, like Imagineerium, come into play, taking a concept and turning them into big and bold unique experiences. Through the production of high-quality visuals, designs and solutions, we have been able to create impressive immersive experiences and brand activations around the world, including the Money Heist experience in London and Wake the Tiger in Bristol. Our aim is to craft impressive and attention-grabbing sites as we strive to bring joy, excitement and novelty to the brand’s customers.
Project render of Money Heist Experience London 2021 - Imagineerium
A good brand experience incorporates all the sensations, thoughts, feelings and reactions individuals have of your brand and provides space for this to be shared with other consumers.
Some of the most well-known brands that exist today place a strong emphasis on brand experience, interacting and curating a harmonious overall encounter that is hard to forget… but why?
Consumers are craving in-person connections and that human-to-human contact is more powerful than ever. When customers link that bond with a brand experience, it engages on a more organic level, curating a culture and stronger community around the brand itself. This positive brand experience can mean the difference between being chosen over another brand or losing the sale altogether.
With a huge shift in the numbers of us living alone and therefore possibly experiencing loneliness, the need for more people to connect with others at live events is on the increase and it’s time to use this to attract new customers and reap the rewards for your brand. Let community building, aspirational experiences and B2C relationships take your brand to a whole new level on the playing field.
So, what is the next step to creating the brand experience you dream of?
Infographic by Imagineerium
Being clear about what you aim to achieve from your event and brand experience is imperative. Do you wish to build awareness? Are you looking for engagement and advocacy? Hoping for conversion and sales data? Or all three?
Having key business objectives and desired outcomes enables the concept to feel more alive, whether it be engaging with the consumer, starting conversations, converting prospects to buyers or educating your audience, so picking your preferred result can determine how the experience evolves in the design process.
With these goals in mind, the purpose of your brand can be highlighted correctly and follow the voice/style of the brand. By defining who you are and what your intentions are, you will set the tone for the type of live brand experience you want to create. In today’s market, products that are connected to a bigger purpose are standing out from the crowd, with the purpose and backstory of companies beginning to have more value than the product itself.
So, what is your experience objective and brands' higher purpose?
The Public Spirit’s slogan on their brand stand @ Imbibe Live 2022
Designed by Imagineerium
Having a budget in mind before you define your objectives for your event enables you to make vital decisions about the experience as well as control expenses and revenue, and ultimately measure the event’s success. It determines how your idea can take fruition through the design process to completion and enables the designers to be clear on what they can provide for the full live experience. When deciding on your budget, it is important to take into account your buyer’s journey, your marketing goals, what you want to prioritise and any hidden costs.
Thinking about budgets, especially for live events, can be scary for all businesses, but with the proven success of experience-led brand immersion, it is a hugely successful and beneficial investment in this current day and age.
Knowing your target audience is a crucial part of operating any business, but putting yourself in their shoes is an even more valuable tool to getting to understand your audience demographic, knowing what motivates them, as well as their wants and needs.
Your target audience are the ones that will keep coming back, will provide free promotion through word of mouth and digital marketing, as well as provide reassurance that your products and services are appealing.
Proving that you understand your audience tells investors you are well-informed and self-aware, while also notifying potential customers that you care and are keen to please. Having an eagerness to build a community and build relationships with customers gives them the confidence that they can trust you and makes them more comfortable investing in you.
Image by Imagineerium
Ensuring brands know their target audience is important, but transferring ideas and thoughts into a real live brand experience can be challenging without the right team in place.
Finding the right team who possess certain skills and have access to good tools is one of the most important factors when it comes to creating a live experience. There are usually three different phases when it comes to pulling an event together, from concept design to technical development through to fabrication/installation with the roles being required for each one varying.
Teams are often pulled together and are made up of a creative director, producer/project manager, a team of designers, art director, technical manager, and production assistant. You will also have involvement from a scenic manager, set builders and carpenters, scenic painters, prop makers, CAD specialists, lighting and sound designers, as well as all the team that would be involved in the onsite build.
Trusting in a company to deliver this pool of talent is crucial and tricky to find, fortunately at Imagineerium we have built relationships with some of the best craftspeople in the industry throughout the years.
WOW! Stage build crew for Glastonbury’s 2022 Silver Hayes Area - Imagineerium
Storytelling helps us influence, teach and inspire and has the ability to have a long-lasting impact. Great stories involve and inspire the audience, and sharing your brand’s story encourages continuity, fosters curiosity, and promotes the cultivation of community. Our purchasing decisions are being more affected by the impact a brand has on the planet, society, as well as individuals, and the story told by the brand every single day is more crucial than ever. Consumers can be extremely loyal if they radiate with a brand, if they feel safe, connected and aligned to the company's values and authentic creation.
Infographic from knowgro.com
Through blogs and social media, brands have the capacity to share their stories and really inspire people in the process. So what is your brand’s story and how are you telling the world?
One of the positive things to come out of the pandemic is the enthusiasm for community and collaboration, from joint events and brand collaborations to turning to partner agencies for more input and advice. By turning to a team of designers, like us at Imagineerium, to collaborate with and ride the process of dream to design to completion you are able to use the advantages offered by experts in specific fields, who can guide you through the live brand experience journey and gift you with a unique way to expose your brand through ‘wow’ moments that are worth sharing.
Image by Imagineerium
It is imperative that the different elements that make up your brand speak the same language. A solid brand experience requires audiences to be immersed in the brand, from the brand design to brand voice, user experience, brand image, and customer support.
By providing visual consistency, including brand colour palette, typography and logo, as well as voice and tone consistency, customers can feel confident in the brand, trust that they can fully immerse themselves as the experience remains aligned with the brand’s personality and approach. Realising the importance of relating the key branding elements, like brand identity and brand voice, is key to the success of a live brand experience.
Engagement is at the core of building a brand-consumer relationship. Talking and connecting with people; creating memorable moments and providing customers with the chance to interact through sensations, emotions and memories. Visibility, audibility, and accessibility offer multiple opportunities for engagement of the senses, which has become easier thanks to advancements in this digital era and is so important when it comes to building a rich client relationship.
Through interaction and contact, the audience is able to digest a message and story better, with the use of sensory elements evoking powerful emotions and memories that help to form subconscious emotional ties between the consumer and the brand. Interactivity comes in varying forms, from human interaction to augmented and virtual reality to gamification. By giving customers the opportunity to participate in an activity, you create a memorable moment instantaneously.
So what are you waiting for, get out there and engage!
Having a backup plan or contingency is essential in this day and age because everything can change in the blink of an eye. From global pandemics, to headliners missing their slots, emergencies and freak weather conditions, we constantly need to be prepared for the unexpected. Already having the foundations of a solid live brand experience can really help in these situations, but also knowing you have people around you who can rally the materials or skills needed last minute can be beneficial.
Adaptability is more important now than it has ever been and includes a keen awareness of popular culture, trends, and generally keeping up with the times, as well as constantly adapting to new environments. The way we make purchases, find information and seek experiences is constantly changing with customer reviews and social media being everything. So staying in-tune with customers’ changing needs and technological advances can make a real difference to the success of a live experience. Nonetheless, keeping a plan B in the pocket is never a bad shout.
Live experiences provide moments for brands to come to life and touch people in new ways, affecting how consumers feel about a product through simple yet meaningful encounters. By interacting with customers or prospects, you have the opportunity to influence their perception and in turn their consumption. Through experiences you can place control squarely in the hands of the consumer, who will naturally create their own experience and share it.
There is no better time to start building your community and immersing your prospects in your true story. So why not put thought into creating emotion-evoking content that camouflages your message in a tangible experience and makes sharing easy..?