Value in Marketing: How Leaders Can Better Reach Audiences
If your brand isn’t reaching your audience at a visceral level, you’re leaving value on the table. Clever headlines and pretty pictures are not enough. You have to connect meaningfully with people. And meaningful connections are built through authentic, measurable experiences.
Today’s media landscape is hyper-fragmented, and consumer trust in advertising is rapidly declining. People have choices, and they know it — 73% of customers surveyed say product interactions are more important than quality or price. People want to know your brand before deciding to dance with you.
Step Into the Age of “Storyliving”
Telling stories falls short. You need to bring your audiences into them. As future-forward marketers, our job is to help brands shift from storytelling to “storyliving.” Go beyond the surface. Combine the physical and digital dimensions to create unforgettable moments with clients at the center.
When one of our clients, Clinique, launched a new skincare line, my team announced it with a pop-up in Soho — the first in the brand’s history. We created a complete content playground to engage and educate consumers, create user-generated content, and drive purchases. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, paired with real-time video and photo opportunities and custom-built LED Totems, helped us scale our effort.
We crafted a powerful campaign platform that resonated far beyond an event in New York City. Striking the right emotional connection takes strategic chops. The magic was in stepping up from standard 2D guidelines to a 3D “brand world” that delivered an authentic taste of the brand.
That was possible only because the client’s visionary marketers recognized the importance of experiential and influencer marketing in achieving brand and business goals.
The Art of Experience Becomes Science
Beyond the quality of the moment itself, igniting customer relationships led to new, valuable insights. Innovative facial recognition software gathered critical demographic data, informing us who attended and which influencers drove them there. Tracking flow informed a deeper understanding of audience preference, improving offline and online communications integration.
Just like an experience needs to be real to your customer, your customer needs to be real to you. Who are they? Where do they eat, and why? Where do they shop, and why there? Answering these questions enables experiential scalability.
Data is the difference between traditional event agencies and future-facing companies. Brands that choose relevance will leverage the power of tech to drive experiential-based campaigns. If a complete experiential ecosystem doesn’t live at the core of your marketing strategy, you’re leaving exponential value on the table.
Move From “Big Idea” to “Long Idea”
Value used to live in a campaign built around a sacralized “big idea.” It informed every stage of the marketing strategy — from media to talent and social. The result? Generic, mass-market appeal.
Turns out, today’s consumer doesn’t want to be one of “as many people as possible.” Rather than passively watching, they prefer to enrich themselves and form new connections. According to an older survey from Event Marketer, more than 90% of consumers feel a greater affinity for a brand after an impactful, experience-based marketing effort. They want personalized, meaningful interactions with their brands.
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Seductive, short-lived purchasing tactics are out; lasting, organic human content is king. This is another reason why experiences are taking a central place at the heart of smart marketers’ strategies. They’re a unique opportunity to drive long-term, authentic emotional bonds.
When fashion brand Golden Goose wanted to appeal to Gen Z, we partnered with them to stretch the “big idea” into a “long idea” — a concept with multiple legs and infinite ripples. Rather than producing the usual fashion photo shoot, we went beyond 2D images into 3D thinking for our client. We produced a combination fashion show, skate park and content creation platform in LA.
There was a massive in-person turnout. And, true to our “experience as a platform” vision, we upcycled the location, transforming it into a stage for campaign-worthy material. The result? A 28% increase in retail traffic post-campaign, social media coverage totaling one billion impressions, and 4x the average engagement. Most importantly, sales of the promoted product increased by a whopping 32%.
In today’s world, where brands favor resourcefulness with marketing spend, thinking of an experience as a hub is the ideal way to do more with less.
Scale Emotion by Extending Through Digital
For real interactions to be even more impactful, brands must flex their use of real-time, on-site technologies. Though the possibilities are endless, we use a simple two-step approach:
1. Upstream: Tech allows us to intensify interactions to make them more poignant for the ones living them.
2. Downstream: Tech enables our clients to scale exposure through media with superior targeting accuracy.
People only share what’s relatable. That’s why personalization is critical. To move your audience, human connection must exist at every touchpoint. The digital element makes this possible for campaigns of any scope. It allows brands to inform, entertain and measure through a playfully interactive, immersive layer. VR and AR tech generate unforgettable memories, increase ROI and improve brand loyalty — an approach so effective that 83% of brands plan to continue or increase investing in experiential marketing.
Surprisingly, investment in digital elements is minimal, especially considering the exponential reach it unlocks. Digital tools, like QR codes and AR, allow us to integrate pre- and post-event actions to extend the experience. Next-generation software is rolling out quickly and will be another incredible avenue to connect massive audiences to live events in a more compelling way.
Hearts Move Minds
The heart of your consumer is the heart of your branding strategy. You can only captivate your audience by creating something remarkable and unforgettable. That’s why our approach is two-pronged: organic human relationships first and technology powering those relationships through quantifiable results second. Brands that dominate their industries understand this paradigm.
The value of marketing is not where you’ve been told it is. It’s time to reconsider your tired email lists, sneaky retargeting and costly pre-roll ads. Instead, reach for next-generation experiences that touch people’s hearts and move their minds.
Give your audience genuine human emotions: goosebumps — quicken pulses, and they’ll never forget you.