The art of face to face: building brand love with live experiences
It’s easy to feel a bit disconnected these days.
On the surface, we’re more connected than ever before. The huge explosion of smartphones, coupled with the pervasive nature of social media, creates the impression that we’re all intimately intertwined with the lives of those around us. The reality, however, is that we’re not. Not completely, anyway.
The UK is now officially a smartphone society, according to telecoms watchdog Ofcom. Smartphones have become the hub of the daily lives of two-thirds of UK adults, and for a generation of millennials the connection runs even deeper than that – around half check their phones within five minutes of waking up.
Most of us are now deeply entrenched in the digital world, but what about the physical? Is there still a place for the face to face conversation, particularly when it comes to marketing?
The answer is a resounding yes.Human nature hasn’t changed
Put simply, face to face interaction has never been more important. Social media and digital technology has provided the opportunity for brands to speak with consumers on a global basis, and it’s incredible. But human nature and what we all crave as individuals hasn’t really changed.
At its heart, marketing is about telling the story of a brand. This can be told across many different mediums, of course, but there is no better way to get someone to listen to what you have to say than by providing an immersive and personal experience with a human face at its core.
To truly make a deep connection, there’s simply no beating a bit of actual facetime: being able to truly read a person’s body language, tone and facial expression and respond in the right way.
We’re witnessing a growing trend now towards humanising brands across marketing disciplines as brands recognise the need to become more natural in the way they communicate, whether that’s in the live or digital space. For brands considering experiential marketing, face to face communication is an essential element.Live brand experiences need the human touch
We know this from experience. A key ingredient of our successful Be Clear on Cancer activation for Public Health England was the people behind the campaign: a host of trained Brand Ambassadors that were able to speak with passion and carefully engage strangers in delicate conversations, responding with empathy and sensitivity.
Why? Because they’d been touched by cancer themselves. The live brand experience delivered on its aims because it enabled genuine human relationships to come to the forefront.
For brands wanting to engage and forge strong emotional bonds with consumers, it’s so important to bring the human touch and strike up conversations. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see a return to the days when audiences passively soaked up advertising and marketing campaign messages – and that’s a good thing.
Consumers are now far more open to two-way discourse and being involved in the decision-making process.
Bombarded with advertising messages and aspirational images from the brands and personalities that they choose to ‘follow’ on a minute-by-minute basis, consumers want and need more.
The brands that gain competitive advantage will be those that understand this, and seek to deliver magical and memorable live experiences that merge the live and the virtual.Thriving in an ‘experience economy’
Building a genuine connection and cutting through the noise with powerful and memorable experiences is highly valuable – so much so that research has revealed that 95% of consumers believe taking part in live events makes them more inclined to buy the brands.
For several years now, we’ve been living in an ‘experience economy,’ one in which developing an emotional affinity with consumers is absolutely essential. It’s the only sure-fire way to turn consumers into fans and in the process build brand love and vocal advocates.
We know through research and experience that people relate far more to a story if they play an active role in it and fully experience it. Face to face conversation, delivered through engaging experiential marketing, is the key ingredient to moving a consumer towards a feeling of involvement.
In the disconnected world in which we now inhabit, the ability to offer a true feeling of connection and immersion is a very powerful accomplishment indeed.How can I find out more?
Download our free eBook, the power of brand experience, to find out more about how experiential marketing campaigns can have a lasting effect on audiences.
With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.