How to Give Your Customers an Experience They’ll Never Forget.
Is it time to do something different, something unique to you and your biz, something that makes you memorable, maybe even legendary? If so, let’s talk party!
Brands and businesses have been hosting live “events” that attempt to increase their public profile and attract potential customers since the dawn of time. However, we’ve come a long way from using pottery to throw shade at our competitors, and customers’ in-person, real world interactions with a brand have become progressively more limited (that would be the increasing popularity of e-commerce for ya). As a result, it’s also become essential not only to create and cultivate these experiences, but to do so in a thoughtful and intentional manner, in a way that truly makes the most of this opportunity.
The technique of crafting such events has become known in the marketing industry as “experiential marketing,” though here at Mountain Mojo we like to call them “creative activations,” but both essentially boil down the same premise. As defined by Eventbrite, event activation (or experiential marketing) involves “marketing strategy that engages consumers using branded experiences.” This often includes events hosted by a forward thinking company, but can also involve participating in parts of other events, or a pop-up activation not tied to any event. You have a giant opportunity to get way outside of the box here! The key here is that event activation “creates real-life experience that will be remembered” and “focuses on getting the consumer to experience the brand.” Six months later, you want your attendees to be saying, “Oh yeah, I remember those guys, they gave me a free burrito!” not “What’s the name of that one company that does that thing?”
What does this actually look like?
Well, for an example, let’s look at an event we did for Northern Arizona Radiology, a team of licensed technologists and board-certified radiologists that have been providing cutting-edge medical imaging technology and radiological procedures right here in Flagstaff since 1962. For this event, which took place on August 21st, National Senior Citizens Day, Northern Arizona Radiology offered a coupon to all participating seniors for a free cup of coffee, which they could pick up at any Late for the Train location.
Another powerful example, Lean Cuisine’s #WeighThis campaign, encouraged women passing through New York City’s Central Station to write down on scale-shaped chalkboard what they wanted to be “weighed” by, aside from their “physical” weight in pounds. Women wrote down things like being back in college at age 55, or being a strong provider for their children. The event was not only an inspiring, positive experience for the women involved, it paid off, leading to 1.4 million impressions within the first three days. Watch the video below to learn more about this excellent example of experiential marketing.
Why do it?
Today, there are a whole range of avenues through which to advertise to your customers and develop brand recognition (everything from the traditional billboards, to, believe it or not, memes), each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. And yet, event activation has the potential to achieve things no other method can, or at least not quite in the same way. It puts your brand into the emotional capacity of both your current and future clients. It puts your brand on the tip of your customer’s tongue.
For one thing, event activation humanizes your brand, helping your customers, and potential customers, to actually get to know the people behind the brand or product being sold (unless, of course, your company is being solely run by robots), creating authentic and emotional connections along the way. It also facilitates a conversation between the brand and the consumer, making them feel as though they have voice in their own customer experience and, perhaps, even that they are in some way collaborating in the creation of something amazing, perhaps the event or even the product itself. There’s also something uniquely special about the simple fact that events in any form allow customers to experience a brand in person, providing them with something special to remember the company by, and giving you the opportunity to literally put your product in the hands of your consumers.
If all goes well, an event activation allows you and your company to reap a variety of benefits. Your event builds positive associations (“Oh, that company? They are so rad! They did this one thing…”) and trust between potential customers and your business. You create a call to action for attendees (buy this product, post about this event on social media) and your brand gets great press and social media promoting it in the process. Furthermore, if you are able to successfully turn event attendees into dedicated fans, your event participants can become brand advocates that further market your business and what you have to offer.
It is imperative, however, that when you do this, you do it right. Some key steps you’ll want to take involve not just putting together the event itself, but how you prepare beforehand, establishing goals for what you want to achieve with this event and key performance indicators that you can measure by using social impressions or surveying attendees. You’ll also want to think long and hard about how to make your event truly immersive, unique, and memorable — something one of a kind that your party guests will take note of.
Here are a few tips:
- Consider all five senses (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch) and what kind of event you can create that will allow your customer experience your product in every manner possible
- Remember your value proposition and figure out what you have to offer that is unique to your brand (that your customers can’t get from anyone else)
- Brainstorm ways to best highlight where and how your company excels
- Reflect on your brand’s reputation, and what you could do to either enforce, expand, or challenge those notions of “who you are”
- Connect your event to issues and ideas that feel current and relevant to what your customers are thinking about in the current moment or the problems they are facing on a regular basis
- Think about how you can genuinely improve the lives of your customers on in a meaningful way
- Make a plan for how to give your customers something that they can take home with them and/or take into the future with them, either literally (something physical, tangible) or metaphorically, emotionally, etc.
- Be as creative as possible! Try to conceive of something that no one else has done or is doing already.
You’ll also need to take into consideration how much money you actually have to spend on your event, partnerships that could make your vision more feasible (and mutually beneficial), and whether the concept you have in mind is actually a consistent, authentic representation of your brand and something that your targeted audience would actually be interested in (if a large percentage of your customer base is working parents, for example, it probably wouldn’t make sense to have your event late on a weekday when they probably have to get up early the next morning to drive their kids to school).
MMG has helped brands to develop countless events that inspire their clients’ clients. To find out more about how to plan your next big event activation, hit us up at Mountain Mojo Group online or at 928-440-5301.