How can you utilize experiences to enhance your business, connect to your brand, become more human-centric and ultimately thrive?

  1. Increase Your Sales
  2. Live Your Core Values
  3. Product/Brand Education
  4. Foster Brand Advocacy
  5. Retain Productive and Loyal Employees

Non-advertising-based forms of marketing — especially newer sectors such as branded entertainment, event marketing and experiential marketing — have become an important segment of the media economy.

Increase Your Sales – While there are many indirect benefits to hosting an event, there can also be a direct impact to your bottom line. The Atlanta Hawks, an NBA team, was struggling to build their fan base. A sporting event is an experience in its own right, but mix relationships into it and it can take on a whole new meaning. By creating a “Tinder Night” experience, the Atlanta Hawks attracted an audience that might not typically purchase basketball tickets, gaining future fans in the process. You can also take a few pointers from Harley-Davidson. One of the few brands where customers are loyal enough to tattoo the logo on their body, Harley-Davidson has taken the experience beyond simply selling motorcycles. The Harley-Davidson Museum offers everything from special exhibits, a themed bar and restaurant, merchandise and apparel, and it even serves as a special event venue for private parties.

Live Your Core Values – Macy’s is a well-known retailer that makes their objective clear – they stand for fashion and for giving back. Combining these themes into one experience, Macy’s created the “Front Row” fashion show. Whether you sit front row at the show, or in front of your TV screen, you are immersed in the experience. Live music, energetic dancing, a celebrity audience and ticket sales benefit Macy’s favorite causes. The fashion show is much more than models walking up and down a runway. Social interaction makes it possible to purchase the clothing (online or via mobile app) literally as it steps into the spotlight, making active participants out of normally passive onlookers. Living out your core values through experiences exemplifies the company’s purpose, both internally and externally, which ultimately aligns employees and attracts like-minded customers.

Product/Brand Education – Storytelling through brand experiences is an impactful way to create emotional ties to potential buyers that will help them remember what sets your product or service apart from the competition. Expressing the “why,” the purpose, the reason for your company or products’ existence is your company’s key differentiator – use it to your advantage. This is also an opportunity to appeal to the five senses of your audience and for them to understand every facet of your offering. Brand headquarters or permanent locations that convey a brand story can even become top tourist destinations. An example of this is the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. While the total tourism market in Amsterdam grew 19% from 2009 to 2014, the Heineken Experience grew 143%. If you can’t sustain a year-round immersive brand experience, special events are a great opportunity. As long as you carry out your brand experience with Totality (completeness and consistency) and Tonality (personality and voice), the effect will be just as impressive. Source: Entrepreneur: How to Build a Brand Experience for Customers 

Foster Brand Advocacy – America’s most valued brands have one thing in common – Brand Advocacy. According to Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report, “92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.” Take for example the Jeep Owners Group and Camp Jeep – with yearly adventure trips and membership-only perks, the love of Jeep spreads quickly among explorers as videos of #JeepExperienceDays are shared. Or take a look at the Bud Light #UpForWhatever campaign – winning Best Campaign of the Year in 2015 by Event Marketer. After reaching over 587 million impressions on social media, 1,000 selected brand advocates were treated to experience Whatever, USA – a complete town takeover – something that had never been done before. 

It is highly unlikely that simply because a brand tells you to buy something or believe in something, you will. But the reputation of a brand – the reviews written about it and the word of mouth or social effect that surrounds it – will make you believe and make you buy. Likewise, cultivating a culture worth broadcasting will turn your employees into your biggest brand advocates. You might also do this through offering an amazing incentive travel program to top achievers, or hosting cause activities or social good initiatives during an employee meeting or partner expo. Social platforms have made it easier than ever to share opinions with a wide range of people quickly. Make everything you do tweet-worthy.

Retain Productive and Loyal Employees – According to the Incentive Research Foundation, well designed and executed incentive travel programs can increase sales productivity by 18% and produce an ROI of up to 112%. In addition, companies with the highest customer retention and sales offer group travel rewards. The SITE International Foundation also states that the opportunity for participants to experience something unique – not on their own – was confirmed as a driver for motivational travel. In fact, 95.5% of respondents said they were a little motivated, motivated, or extremely motivated to earn the reward. Somewhat surprisingly, 90.7% of non-earners were also as motivated. As another benefit, 88.6% of those who earned the travel reward agreed that it made them feel appreciated by the host company. That’s a win-win. Not only are you increasing productivity by offering incentive travel experiences, but you are building a loyal employee and channel partner base while doing so. Read our case study for more information on a truly exclusive incentive program in Rome for an already well-travelled group.

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