Connect with Consumers

How do you bring a brand to life?

How can consumers feel connected to your brand and remain loyal? Today’s consumers need, want, and desire more: a brand that’s more than attractive colors and images. Such superficial marketing tactics bring fleeting emotions, but a trusting relationship holds long-term value. Consumers feel connected when they use their senses to relate with the brand—to see, taste, touch, hear, smell, or feel emotion. Think of how to build a relationship between consumer and brand. In marketing, two prominent methods exist to create experience for the consumer and thereby evoke the senses to secure a long-term relationship: the digital and the live marketing worlds.

L‘I’ve marketing gets the consumer to say, “I had fun at the Brand X event” or “Brand X gave me tickets to the Madonna concert, and I had an amazing experience.” The idea is to connect your brand with a positive emotion that transcends into memory retention and brand loyalty. Some ways to utilize live marketing are through sampling (taste), interactive displays (hear/smell), exclusive events (experience), meeting a celebrity (feel emotion), and sports competition (see). Disney World could be considered the grandfather of live marketing. Once you enter the gates, you enter another world and instantly feel like a kid again. The brand comes to life and resonates as a positive memory during the point of purchase.

The key is to understand the consumer more than just from the aspects of age, income, and marital status. You need to know what drives the consumer to get up in the morning and continue through the day. What are their personality traits? What makes them tick? What makes them happy? Brands used to define the consumer. Now the consumer defines the brand.

You can start the experiential marketing approach by thinking in the realm of your own relationships. How do you connect? How do you make a relationship last? The main ingredient in a lasting relationship is trust. Trust is more than just image; people gain trust through freedom of negative experience. A brand should do the same through image, positive experience, and positive interaction. You can really solidify the message and gain insights by using social media techniques that directly pull consumer information and allow them to take an active role in brand development.

The next step in experiential marketing is to identify where the consumer lives. For instance, if you want to reach a consumer who likes live music in an outdoor environment, who is highly sociable, who likes to experience festival flavors of food, and your brand possesses the essences of freedom, social connection, and an identifiable relation to music, then use an event like Summerfest. You can either utilize the surrounding event environment with product sampling to enhance your brand, or you can create an extension of the environment by enhancing your brand with a display area. The display area could contain splashes of your brand colors, controlled signage of your marketing message, brand ambassadors who embody the life of your brand, and activities to engage the consumer. If the budget allows, you can extend experiential elements throughout the whole festival, like allowing consumers to text a message to a concert screen with their thoughts on how a particular brand makes them feel. For example, Corona might want to identify with a feeling of escape and relaxation, so the brand asks consumers to text, “What’s your escape?”

Keep in mind that experiential marketing brings a brand to life, but you must uphold your brand message, connect and establish trust. Listen, observe, and engage your consumers. They really have all the answers.