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Create experiences not just communications

Experiential marketing has been used for decades now, and is increasingly becoming the channel of choice for sectors that have to rely on dark marketing to get their brand messages out there. So why are marketers still talking about brand experiences as the new frontier for marketing innovation?
Create experiences not just communications
Brand experiences are rich, unique encounters that encourage consumer involvement and collaboration with your brand. The best brand experiences start at the product development stage and are carried through to above, below and online communications. Provided the brand is authentically integrated into the experience in a brand-centric™ manner, the effects of a well-executed and relevant brand experience extend way beyond the initial experience.

So how do you get this right?

When planning a brand experience ask the following questions to gain experience-based insights, and then translate them into authentic, holistic experiences with supporting above, below and online communications. You will see how your initiatives shift from communicating only emotional and functional product benefits to enhancing the consumer's brand experience and thereby conversations both offline and online - about your brand.

Understand your brand's experience based insights
Before embarking on the development of an integrated brand experience, answer these questions:
  1. How does your brand educate your consumers?
  2. How does your brand entertain?
  3. How does your brand offer advice?
  4. How can your brand be an expression of your consumers values?
  5. How does the brand experience connect consumers to other like-minded consumers?
  6. How does your brand give your consumers a sense of purpose?
Example 1
Nestlé's Nespresso is becoming a household brand around the world as it goes way beyond selling packaged coffee to offering a holistic experience delivering coffee, machines and services. The brand educates, entertains and involves consumers in the full experience of how the coffee is grown, selected and roasted.

Example 2
Unilever's Axe brand differentiates itself by creating authentic, consistent experiences built around the mating-game platform. Unilever involves consumers using traditional media but also draws them into brand experiences, such as branded "Axe lounge" nightclubs that are visited by an all-women "Axe Patrol" that frisks guys and applies body spray.

A final word of advice
Marketers that understand the experience-based insights gleamed from the above questions will go a long way to developing brand-centric™ breakthrough brand experiences. Think beyond the 30" television commercial to deep content of 5 - 30 minutes that is entertaining and educational and can be shared with consumers during authentic offline and online experiences. Then edit down to 15 - 30 second sound bites and use in traditional media.

8 Jul 2010 22:17


About the author

Desirée Gullan is the Creative Director of Gullan&Gullan Advertising (Pty) Ltd. Gullan&Gullan's propriety brand-centric™ methodology forms the basis of every communication service ensuring that brand equity is enhanced through congruent, consistent expression at every touchpoint from above and below the line, online, and brand experiences. Visit www.gullanandgullan.com, email or call 011 887 6591.