Brand Experience Design for Small- to Medium-Sized Brands, the New Rules of Event Marketing, & the Importance of Human Interaction Over Technology (Elevate Connect)

Like any other marketing discipline, brand experience design often hinges on several factors, among them internal resources, budget, and expertise. Often the in-person marketing campaigns that receive the most attention are the largest – think the Google experience at CES this year. These show-stopping experiential marketing campaigns generate curiosity, excitement, and, to many companies, envy. Not all brands can afford to blow consumers’ hair back with a three-story immersive experience. But, the good news is that they don’t have to. Designing a face-to-face marketing campaign doesn’t require a massive budget. This week our feature article discusses ways in which small- to medium-sized businesses can execute powerful experiential marketing campaigns.

Brand Experience Design for Small- to Medium-Size Brands

When we see examples of experiential online or featured in news outlets, its the most elaborate events that get coverage. These high-budget, big idea experiences are often seen as intimidating to smaller brands. But, the truth is that experiential marketing campaigns do not have to bust the budget. In fact, small/medium brands can and should allocate marketing spend to experiential.

As this article best puts it, sometimes being the biggest isn’t always the best. “Small to medium-size brands may have an advantage over larger brands in that they can be more experimental and host smaller events or activities that can more effectively convey the finer points of their messaging.” These smaller, intimate events can have a tremendous impact on attendees. And they succeed in delivering a personalized experience, critical in any marketing strategy.

The article goes further to suggest a social media component can maximize results. Or, brands can design an experience as part of a sponsorship. They emphasize that experiential is for every brand, as in-person marketing, large- or small-scale, has the same positive impact on consumers.

VH1’s Glam N Go Beauty Truck Delivers Salon Services and Excitement

The domination of online streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu have forced cable channels to step up their game. From user experience personalization to creating original content, these platforms have made every aspect of media viewership competitive. And many of these channels are using experiential to advertise their features and programming.

VH1 recently executed an experience to promote their new reality series, “VH1 Beauty Bar.” The promotion included a bright purple truck that stopped in six high-traffic areas. Inside the truck, VH1 created a salon where consumers could receive makeup, hair, and nail touchups. Meanwhile, event staff distributed premiums to attendees, including a VH1 branded S’well bottle for those who tagged and shared their experiences via social media.

The campaign was successful in many ways, but notably in using social media to amplify event impact and exposure. In addition, professional brand ambassadors elevated and personalized the attendee experience by encouraging passers-by to take part.

Getting the Most Out of Event Marketing

The metrics that brands choose to track during experiential marketing campaigns can often vary. Some brands focus on social media amplification. Others concentrate on tracking the number of samples distributed. But despite nuances, one thing that most brands measure is consumer engagement.

As one of the primary benefits of experiential, face time with consumers is powerful in building a brand relationship. And the strategy and outcomes surrounding each engagement opportunity will in many ways help determine the type, location and execution details of a marketing campaign. This article by Inc. provides a few ideas of how to get the most out of your consumer engagement strategy with these new rules for event marketing.

Why Face-to-Face Interaction Trumps Technology

In the digital age, the internet of things is the multitude of devices in our lives, from Alexa to iPhones, that keep us connected to the online world. In addition to our “things”, social media platforms connect us with people, anyone and everyone, all the time. And yet, with all this “connection,” scientists are finding an increase in the amount of people affected by clinical loneliness.

But how and why is this statistic important to marketers? Because providing a human connection has never been more impactful, especially as it relates to marketing. As this Business 2 Community article states, “When a company makes a human connection, as opposed to digital connection, we create a completely different platform to build a relationship.” During a brand activation, event staff have never been more critical in providing a human connection.

Why Experiential Marketing is Ideal for Hotel Brands

The hospitality industry is inherently experiential, with hotels staking their business on the customer experience. So it stands to reason that hotels would be wise to use experiential as an extension of their existing service. Through an experiential marketing campaign, hotels can provide a preview of the experience that they’re selling. This is especially helpful in driving excitement and anticipation for a rebrand, rebuild, or grand opening, like Irvine Marriott did this past summer.

Designing an experience gives a hotel brand a multitude of different options. Last year, Becore published a blog post outlining several brand experience design ideas that result in an impactful experiential marketing event. One idea that stood out was cross-industry partnerships, such as with an alcohol or beauty brand. Check out Becore’s other ideas here.

Brands Embrace April Fools Day with Pranks and “Infauxmercials”

The arrival of April means springtime, but it also means an annual opportunity to have a little fun. Pranksters everywhere eagerly await April Fools tricks, and in recent years news outlets and brands alike have gotten in on the fun. Many big-name brands have pulled elaborate pranks, such as Netflix “acquiring” Seth Rogen to Google Japan creating an unconventional keyboard. For many companies, April Fools Day has become a marketing opportunity in which they can be creative and have a great time.

Besides offering a company’s team an opportunity to blow off steam, a well-executed April Fools prank can provide many benefits, like demonstrating a brand’s personality. And because Millennials in particular are eager to connect with a brand on a meaningful level, these opportunities to differentiate a brand through its identity and a spirit of transparency can go a long way.

Starbucks Immense Experiential Success in China

Founded in Seattle, Washington in 1971, Starbucks has become a behemoth brand, dominating much of the coffee world. Famous for stores that can (almost too easily) be found globally, the brand has expanded its offerings to packaged coffee and pre-bottled beverages found in convenience and grocery stores. Coupled with noteworthy store consistency, Starbucks has done several things right. But with the rise in popularity of specialty coffee shops and competitors, Starbucks still works to maintain their dominant position.

Late last year, Starbucks created an interactive coffee store called the Shanghai Reserve Roastery. The concept was built around the customer experience, and the results have been extraordinary. The interactive café/roaster location has become the company’s highest grossing store, and its growing. Unlike other Starbucks stores, this location provides an experience that goes beyond grabbing a good cup of coffee. With above-and-beyond elements such as augmented reality and customized experiences, store patrons enjoy a multi-sensory experience that is unlike any other coffee shop in the world.

Author: Elissa LiongElissa Liong is the Data and Analytics Manager at Elevate Staffing. She's a certain kind of particular, and loves thinking about all things data and insights. When she's not uncovering consumer insights and building out engagement tools that people love, she is probably at the gym or reading online spoilers about TV shows (even for episodes she hasn’t watched yet).


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