“You’re drinking what?” My husband had gone to grab a beer at a recent music festival, but returned with gin – an unusual choice for him in any venue. He had surprised himself, too, but he had been fascinated by the Hendrick’s Gin booth and decided to give it a try. This booth, he said, as he handed me a deck of playing cards branded Hendrick’s, was something I had to see. And, he was right.
There, sitting in the corner of the “food truck park,” was Hendrick’s three-story exhibit. It was rust-colored and decorated with large cogs, yet reminiscent of an old saloon. My eyes immediately went to the roof, where bearded men wearing top hats and aprons blew bubbles and threw flower petals. On the second floor, women in the same outfits and sunglasses kept cool with antique hand fans. And, on the ground, other event staff served up craft cocktails to people who came in droves to buy them. Some may have done so with intent. But, many passersby, including my husband and several friends, were unexpectedly drawn in by the live brand experience.
No matter the reason, it was easy to see their attendees’ satisfaction topped that of festival-goers who waited in long lines at other booths. In short, Hendrick’s Gin offered value not found with most other brands on the festival’s grounds.
The Value of a Live Brand Experience
A live brand experience has the ability to provide value for all involved. For consumers, it fulfills a universal human desire for a unique experience. After all, more and more people are choosing to buy experiences over products. Experiences tend to make people happier for a longer period than a physical purchase. Experiences also leave lasting memories and result in greater bonds with those who share in them.
At the same time, it allows consumers to see a brand for who it is – its authentic self, which Inc. Magazine reports is of high importance. “Almost 94 percent of all consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand when it commits to full transparency.” For brands, loyal consumers can mean sales and free word-of-mouth marketing for even more revenue and longevity.
Plus, the face-to-face aspect of a live brand experience enables two-way conversation, when other forms of marketing can’t. This gives brands great opportunity to get to know their consumers on a deeper level for strategic insight. In fact, a study finds nearly 60% of brands value experiences for their “ability to create ongoing relationships with key audiences.” And, over two-thirds find a brand experience effective in achieving their goals. Yet, this can only be true for experiences executed with the right elements and the right amount of skill.
The Most Important Element of Live Brand Experiences
There are several elements that make up the best brand experiences. These include the details of your experiential marketing activation, whether you’ll host a product demonstration, contest or giveaway, for example. And, these plans should be in line with your goal – the foundation of any marketing campaign. But, there’s one aspect that ultimately drives your success. That is your event staff.
Who you choose to execute your live brand experience can make or break your effort. These are the people who personify your brand, giving it a voice and embodying its style and values. They’ll share your key messages and your story with consumers and encourage them to share back. And, this takes skill, especially when you’d also like to capture their contact information, preferences or other feedback. Your best event staff not only enable value for your consumers. In the end, they affect the level of value your brand is able to get out of your marketing event.
Calculating the Value of Your Live Brand Experience
It’s easy to look around and see the emotions of your attendees to gauge if your live brand experience has value. Yet, there are more concrete means for understanding your event’s value.
1. Did you meet your goal?
If your brand is Hendrick’s Gin at a music festival, your aim may be to sell x number of drinks, which should be easy to measure.Yet, other goals are not so clean cut.
For example, your objective may be to increase brand awareness. How do you measure this, especially when you may not have captured attendee information? One way is through return on engagement. Assuming your campaign elements included a custom hashtag for social media, you can measure its use to determine value and monitor event feedback and shares in real time.
2. What do consumers say?
For brands that made the effort to capture leads or attendee information, a sure-fire way to know the value of your experience is by simply asking. Send surveys to those who visited and ask the important questions. But, be sure to keep your inquiries concise and few in order to encourage participation.
It’s also a good idea to offer an incentive. This may be a percentage off a future purchase, which can also be helpful in determining ROE, as redemption can be tracked. Either way, continued communication keeps your brand front of mind. Plus, by asking consumers’ opinions, you show them how much they’re valued.
A Smart Best Practice for Any Brand Experience
Facilitating follow-up communication with attendees is an event best practice. Smart brands are looking for creative ways to capture contact information. There are several ways to seamlessly wed lead generation with experiential marketing. Brands only need to provide event staff with the tools they need. Fortunately, mobile technology platforms make the effort easy and cost effective.
Mobile technology simplifies information collection for event staff and attendees, while allowing you to capture whatever details you desire. You can then send surveys directly from the platform and seamlessly transfer the data to your CRM for future communication. Incorporating these tools into your live brand experiences streamlines logistics for you and the attendees, leading to a value-packed experience all around.
EPS has brought great value to countless live brand experiences for 18 years. Contact us to learn more about how the right event staff for your events can make all the difference.