To win through experiences, don’t focus on experiences

To win through experiences, don’t focus on experiences

Kicking off the Knowledge Programme on Day 3 of IBTM World 2021, our keynote speaker Dr Darren Coleman outlined how brands can win through experiences.

Competing through “experiences” is now firmly rooted in the marketing mainstream. It’s seen as a way to engage customers with your organisation in more meaningful and relevant ways. It is, though, easier said than done and the complexities of building experiences can soon grind even the most seasoned marketing execs down.

During his engaging session, Dr Coleman revealed why you need to compete through brand experiences, why customers need to connect with your brand at an emotional level through the experiences you deliver and how to build consistent brand experiences at scale.

Darren started by explaining why it’s important to compete through brand experiences, rather than through more functional messaging. “There’s lots of research showing brand experiences drive performance, whether that’s revenue, awareness, advocacy or relative satisfaction. Recent research from Jack Morton showed that 58% of consumers will pay extra for brands that deliver a great experience.”

So why are brand experiences important?

Dr Coleman says that “Anticipation is enjoyable, it releases dopamine in our brains – a transmitter associated with pleasure and reward. In terms of running events, this means in the lead up it is key you build a sense of anticipation – paint a picture of the experience, the people they’ll meet, the knowledge they’ll acquire. Anticipation is enjoyable and experiences are anticipated.”

Furthermore, experiences bring enduring happiness. Dr Coleman says, “sitting in a new car for the first time, it’s awesome, great, you love it! But, with time, that physical object loses novelty. It fades and becomes part of the new normal. Contrast that with experiences – planning a trip to a wonderful diving location somewhere exotic, or you’re at a party and chatting to some wonderful people, these experiences can be internalised, they add to the fabric of who you are. Because they can be internalised, it makes experiences intensely personal and intrinsically valuable. That’s why experience is so powerful – it adds to a person’s sense of self-worth and value, and that provides enduring happiness. Organisers need to make it clear to participants that their brand experience will provide touchpoints that will add value to who they are, that they’ll acquire knowledge and networks.”

According to Dr Coleman, there are a number of things you can do to help build more effective experiences and to sell the power of brand experiences to clients and colleagues.

Dr Coleman closes with a practical management tool to help build brand experiences with consistency and scale.

The brand experience blueprint

  1. Look at and understand the brand experience environment – the big picture macro factors to be mindful of when building brand experiences e.g., stakeholders, data, thinking about perspective and mechanics of delivery.
  2. Understand key intangible brand assets – values, personality, essence, positioning. These need to be defined and developed in the context of the brand experience.
  3. Activate your brand experience enablers – the brand management tools that will bring it to life. This includes employees’ behaviour, communication and design.

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