Wonder why companies are investing heavily in brand experiences? Today’s consumers want transparency. They crave direct interactions with brands. And when it comes to making that meaningful connection, nothing quite compares to a personalized, live, face-to-face experience.
Now more than ever, it’s time for brands to capitalize on their audiences’ intrigue and find ways to build long-standing loyalty. “Live” is fast becoming the new medium for brand building, and it is unlocking significant benefits for companies, CMOs and agencies alike.
Understanding brand building
To appreciate the opportunities that live brand experiences present, it is important to identify what building a brand is all about, and how crucial it is to set your brand apart from the competition.
Brand building consists of two sides of the same coin: a rational side and an emotional side. The rational side answers the two most important questions in business: “Who are you?” and “Why do you matter?” Answering these two questions will lead to an understanding of your brand’s role and relevance in the market.
The answers to these questions must be rooted in authenticity and transparency. It is essential today, where the internet offers up raw and unretouched versions of organizations for all to see. These factors are critical for brand building and gaining the trust of today’s (and tomorrow’s) consumers. Word of mouth now rules the day and reputations are made and broken on the premise of reality.
Live experiences tell your brand story
Once you have the rationale behind your brand ironed out, it’s time to add some emotion. Brands elicit emotion through tone of voice, design and color. With your rational side nailed down and your desired emotion now understood, it’s time to choose the right venue to convey these aspects to your core audience. That’s where the live medium comes into play.
Live offers the very best medium for storytelling since it provides an avenue for humans to interact with each other as well as with a brand. It provides a way for brands to build organically in line with their strategic position. This remains the holy grail of marketing.
With the live medium continually gaining traction as the avenue of choice for brand building, there’s a multitude of opportunities for corporate marketers to play a significant role in establishing a brand among its core audience. Brand experience is quickly becoming the center of many marketing strategies, and live is the perfect medium to provide the most meaningful and engaging experience.
CMOs advocate for brand experience
According to a recent brand experience study from Freeman, 58 percent of CMOs felt that brand experience was effective at driving brand advocacy; and nine out of 10 marketers agreed that brand experience delivers strong face-to-face interaction and more compelling brand engagement than other channels.
Let’s frame the opportunity. In 2016, 1.9 million meetings were held and more than 251 million people participated in them. Those meetings generated $325 billion of direct spending, $845 billion in business sales, and contributed $446 billion to the gross domestic product, according to analysis from the Events Industry Council and Oxford Economics. That’s a massive market ripe for the picking.
As marketers better realize the value of brand experiences, they’re starting to shift their spending toward this category and medium. In fact, more than one in three CMOs are expecting to allocate 21 to 50 percent of their budgets to brand experience marketing over the next three to five years. In addition, 89 percent of CMOs surveyed said they value brand experience for its ability to generate sales leads.
With live events offering an unparalleled medium for customer engagement, interaction and amplification, companies and marketers that are able to seize the opportunity and implement the right assets will be able to deliver greater results and return on investment. If done well, not only will they be able to provide more value to their audiences, they’ll also be viewed as partners in their customers’ brand building.
By putting live brand experiences at the core of brand building, they’re not only unlocking incredible potential for revenue growth and brand loyalty, but they’re also connecting people in the most engaging way possible: face to face. If you think about it, marketers are responsible for elevating the human experience—and the live medium provides the perfect platform to do just that.
Chris is EVP and CMO for Freeman where he oversees brand marketing and communications across North America, EMEA and APAC. Chris began his career at Freeman by creating and leading FreemanXP, the company’s agency services division, which has quickly grown into the largest global brand experience agency in the industry. He previously spent 16 years at Jack Morton Worldwide (IPG).