Humans are social beings who thrive on face-to-face interaction, which makes relationship building integral to the success of any business. A phone call, email, or WebEx are great for communicating instantly and across time zones, but all too often it’s something as simple as a firm handshake or a face-to-face conversation that lays the foundations for long-lasting partnerships between a brand and its customers.
An increasing desire for face-to-face interaction
This is what makes the brand experience industry so important today — in a day and age where we are constantly online or on our phones, events and exhibitions prompt people to switch off and tune into what is happening around them, because they engage all of our senses. On top of that, brand experiences bring people together under one roof, allowing them to converse and bond over shared interests — a winning formula when it comes to creating strong relationships.
From large, multinational corporations to emerging startups to associations, more and more brands are recognising the importance of engaging with their target audiences in this way. In fact, the latest research shows that in Western Europe 56 percent of marketers, from event planners to those at the CMO level dedicate up to 20 percent of their overall marketing budget to brand experience, and the figure is set to continue to rise.
Personalising an experience so it’s unlike any other
Brand experience is effective as it allows companies to bring everything from their values to their product and service offering to life in a way that can be tailored to their customers. Take a B-to-B exhibition — the exhibitor can customise its stand by choosing its size and how it will look and feel, and opt to work with expert partners depending on its budget. They are able to think through their presence carefully to ensure their stand tells their brand story, while also attracting attendees.
This ties in with another global trend, which we’re also seeing in Western Europe — 93 percent of marketers agree that a personalised brand experience can help to create a stronger connection to a brand, and 91 percent agree that this tactic can drive increased sales. By taking the time to understand visitors’ individual expectations of a brand experience, companies can tailor their offering accordingly. This ultimately sees brands build rapport with their target audiences in a more personal, unique way, leading to greater engagement — a move that builds customer loyalty and advocacy.
Expanding into the live space: a case in point
Brand experience is also highly valuable because it helps to future proof a brand, ensuring it remains relevant with its audiences in the long term. In the UK there is a growing trend toward publishing houses and television networks diversifying their offering to include live events. While their magazines and programmes are renowned to the point that they’ve become brands in themselves, these companies are partnering with successful event organisers to take the best elements of their existing offering and repackaging them for a live audience. These events allow attendees to get up close and personal with famous figures from the publications or shows, sit in on informative talks, watch live demonstrations and more.
Not only are more brands launching live shows — recent examples include BBC CountryFile Live and This Morning Live, existing events, such as Grand Designs Live and Who Do You Think You Are? Live are always bustling with visitors. This highlights that not only are brands looking to engage with customers in new ways, these experiences resonate with attendees and deepen their existing relationships with a brand.
There is no doubt that brand experience is an incredibly powerful medium, and on both a global and local scale it’s evident that companies are increasingly realising its value. It’s not just firsthand experiences of those who work within the industry, again and again, studies, surveys, and reports highlight that investment in the platform is, and I predict will continue to, increase for decades to come.