Harvard Business Review defines it as an "experience that occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event".

Some marketers may even argue that experiences form part of a brand’s service delivery, but they are so much more. Exceptional service delivery has become a brand hygiene factor – it is a basic consumer expectation.

However, a memorable brand experience has the potential to provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace, regardless of the product or service that the brand offers.

EventTrack suggests that branded experiential content significantly improves brand perception and purchase intent, as 72% of consumers view brands that provide quality event or experiential content more positively. Seventy-four percent of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after attending a branded experience.

Furthermore, 80% of respondents noted that live demonstrations and free samples significantly helped to define their purchase decision.

With regards to event-generated content, 98% of consumers indicated that they would share their experience on a social or digital platform, with pictures and videos being the most popular content to share.

In turn, brands are starting to see the value in experiential marketing, with 65% of brands claiming that their event and experiential programmes are directly related to sales.

It’s no wonder that 77% of marketers are starting to use experiential marketing as a vital part of their brand’s advertising strategy.

Here are five ways how brands can craft a memorable and impactful experience that will deliver against their bottom line:

1. Be disruptive

Brands are dealing with consumers who crave experiences and value engagement. Considering that the experiential landscape has grown significantly over the past couple of years, brands have to fight harder for attention.

Consumers have access to information 24/7 via cellphones and wearable technology. One screen is not enough and the 'second screen' is becoming a given.

Virtual and augmented reality is blurring the lines between real life and digital experiences, and opinions are shared instantly on social platforms at the click of a button. Thus, it is imperative to create unique experiences that will distinguish your brand and leave a lasting impression.

2. Communicate key brand cues

Originate key brand themes and messages to be communicated throughout all touchpoints and interactions with consumers.

Whether online, in-store or during an activation, your brand has to be consistent in communicating and delivering against these cues to ensure that the experience is authentic, impactful and memorable. Repetition will instill the message with consumers, creating an unforgettable experience.

3. Integrate platforms

Events or activations allow for quality brand engagement and rich conversations. According to an EventTrack study, 65% of consumers surveyed noted that live events helped them gain a better understanding of a product or service, exceeding digital efforts and TV advertising as methods of recognising and learning about a brand.

Face-to-face engagement is part of an integrated approach to ensure effective consumer engagement. Give consumers sufficient content to share their experience and become brand advocates post-engagement.

4. Use technology to bring experiences to life

Event technology can help increase attendance by 20%, increase productivity by 27% and decrease costs by 20 to 30%.

In an economy where consumers are exposed to hyper experiences, brands can draw on technology to increase impact and amplify their reach. Consumers who value the interaction will share their experience. Make sure to select a platform that provides a natural synergy with your brand, but still disrupts normal consumer behaviour.

5. Data exchange

Personal details are becoming a tradeable commodity in the experience economy. Activations and events provide a golden opportunity to collect information about consumers. However, consumers have to see value in the experience in order to share their personal information with you.

When data is used wisely, it can provide great long-term benefits to both brand and consumer, delivering strategic insights to brands and valuable information that will inform purchase decisions to consumers.

6. Consumer experience management

Seventy percent of users become regular customers after an experiential marketing event. Know your consumer. Use the interaction as an opportunity to listen to your consumers in order to enhance your offering.

Make consumers feel that they are valuable and that their opinions count. Today’s interaction will be measured against opinions formed during previous interactions – whether it be with your brand or competing brands.

In an economy where brand managers are under pressure to show a significant return on their marketing investment, activations provide a unique opportunity to connect with consumers, change behaviour and become socially topical – all while generating valuable consumer feedback and strategic insights with measure ROI.  

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