New Research Explains the Connection Between Events and Brand Loyalty (Elevate Connect)

Key Takeaways:

  • Experiential marketing leader Citi recently released a study that shows that consumers are more loyal and engage more frequently with a brand they interact with at an event.
  • There are science-based techniques we can use to help consumers make decision in our world of “choice overload,” once being in-store sampling.
  • In the absence of product-based differentiation, companies can use marketing techniques that tie their brand to consumers’ aspirational desire to be better.


Research: Citi CMO Offers Four Insights on the Link Between Events and Brand Loyalty

The experiential industry has come a long way in the last decade. As more companies reap the benefits of face-to-face engagement, more are willing to invest in it. Today, many of the world’s largest brands allot a significant part of their marketing budgets to experiential. And one of these brands is Citi Bank. While most people wouldn’t immediately associate experiential with a finance brand, Citi has led with some of the most successful experiential campaigns across industries. They have consistently diversified their experiential strategy, incorporating elements that range from cause marketing to entertainment sponsorships.

Citi has learned a lot along the way. In fact, they recently released a study that draws the connection between events and brand loyalty. The study found that brand-owned experiences tend to resonate above others. Read on to learn more.

Halloween Experiential: Brands Treat Consumers to Stunts, Swaps and Snapchat

Halloween is a quintessentially American holiday, one that many people in the U.S. enthusiastically take part in every year. The beauty for many is in the wide variety of costume types, as people opt for scary, pun-ny, or something they’ve always wanted to be. Throw in the endless opportunity to consume sweets, either in the form of baked goods or the more popular choice, candy and chocolate.

Brands can also get in on the fun of Halloween. And for candy companies, Halloween can be the best time to invest in experiential. Halloween 2018 was filled with innovative activations including Reese’s “Candy Converter.” The brand’s converter vending machines invited trick or treaters to “pay” with their unwanted candy to receive Reese’s products. Check out some more great Halloween themed brand activations here.

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves

In an attempt to compete with the already popular Coca-Cola, Pepsi set out on a mission to find a way to differentiate, despite having a product that was almost identical to their competitor. What ensued was the Cola Wars. And the vast majority of these battles were fought on the marketing battlefield. To convince consumers that their product is the one worth buying, these brands relied heavily on messaging and imagery.

This shows that, if neither product or service is the superior one, brands need to appeal to customers on a different level. They might look to speak to their ambitions or aspirations and communicate how the company can help achieve them. As this Medium Marketingarticle puts it, “people don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.”

How to Make Choosing Easier

Today’s consumers are plagued by a major problem: choice overload. It is the concept people in the modern world are overloaded with too many choices, especially when it comes to purchasing. Despite the idea that having choices is generally considered a good thing, too many options can have negative repercussions on brands. In fact, the issue has evolved to where some people are choosing not to choose, rather than stressing out over the possible outcomes.

People are more likely to make a choice when presented with fewer options. This Ted Talk illustrates how, when brands engage with consumers in-store, the company has a better opportunity to appeal to customers, help them make a decision, and drive sales. In addition to creating in store brand activations, brands can also take other steps to combat choice overload.

What Gen Z Wants for Christmas

Now that we have entered November, the sprint to the holidays is on. Not only do we start to think about decorations and busting out a more festive wardrobe, ultra-stressful gift buying is always at the forefront. And for brands, it is the busiest time of year. Many are looking to marketing campaigns to help them get their piece of the holiday purchasing pie.

For brand marketers, priority may be on Millennials and older consumers, yet they should also consider what Generation Z wants for the holidays. While many in this age group are still limited to tight budgets, by marketing to Gen Z now brands can start to build longer term relationships. This results in stronger brand loyalty when this younger generation matures into what will be the largest group of consumers. Like their predecessors, members of Gen Z covet experiences, so through experiential retail, brands can get the attention of these young gift givers.

How to Build an Experience Brand: 5 Considerations

Today’s consumers are hyper-aware of being marketed to, and many mistrust big brands. In fact, “over 50 percent of consumers report that brands rarely live up to their promises.” This is a staggering number when you consider that more than half of the marketing messages that consumers receive, they don’t buy into. It is this level of distrust that makes achieving brand proof that much more powerful.

As this article points out, brands should examine how they are approaching consumers and work towards achieving brand proof. Brands should consider specific touch points, including: the importance of brand proof, the delicacy of brand integrity, touch points are proof points, and promises will almost always fall short. There is a fragility to brand relationships, and brands should use these elements to nurture consumer relationships for long-term success.

Pop-up Shops That Think Beyond the Storefront

Brands see the benefits associated with pop-ups, so much so that 59% of CMO’s recognize brand experiences’ ability to create and nurture relationships with consumers. Pop-up shops have become more and more popular, as experiences such as The Museum of Ice Cream have made headlines in several major cities and across the world. And while we don’t want to go overboard on pop-ups, it’s important to point out that these activations are popular for a reason.

As their popularity continues to grow, we’ve seen that a “pop-up” is not limited to the brick and mortar storefronts that we see so often. Pop-ups can take place outside, inside another store, or even in an unexpected space like a city museum. A Little Bird agency recently published an article on why a pop-up shop should be limited only to the brand’s imagination.

How to Choose the Right Mobile Marketing Vehicles

When it comes to mobile tours, brands have several options when it comes to how they execute. Activations can vary from a straight-forward guerrilla activation to a more elaborate one, like a shipping container that hosts cooking classes. Depending on the budget, brands can be creative, but in any case, face-to-face will earn points with consumers.

Because the options are limitless, it can be difficult for brands to know where to start when planning their next mobile tour. Sparks agency recently posted an article that acts as a guide for choosing the right vehicle, which can be the best place to start. Things like associated costs, square footage, and regulations lead brands in knowing which vehicle to select. Read on see what other key concepts need to be top of mind during the selection process.

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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