4 Ways to Evolve Your Event Strategy and Brand Experiences
By, Nicole Bojic, Group Executive, Strategic Solutions Group
People expect more from brands in 2019 than catchy slogans and interesting logos. They even expect more than top-quality products and services. These days, customers more or less demand a total brand experience.
Brand experience design needs to evolve because the concept of the brand experience itself has evolved. Live events designed to generate awareness and connect with customers have been a recent trend, but today’s branded customer experience is the dynamic culmination of a variety of online and offline engagement.
When harnessed together, these multichannel brand experiences have the ability to foster deeper engagement and increased loyalty with customers. A multichannel engagement strategy allows you to reach customers with the right message at the right time, and a report by SAP suggests 72% of consumers prefer to connect with brands across multiple channels.
In fact, multichannel customers spend three to four times more than their single-channel counterparts. Businesses should be open to adopting such a strategy — 74% of those who have reported increased sales, while 64% enjoyed increased customer loyalty and acquisition.
Making Your Brand Experience Strategy More Effective
Consider the following steps to ensure your brand strategy evolves with company goals while keeping current and potential customers in mind:
1. Plan before you build your budget.
Often, companies create their budgets first and determine their marketing and brand experience strategy from that. They view upfront planning as expensive or feasible for only large companies. The reality is, planning helps you save money and time, and gets you closer to successfully implementing your brand strategy. Strategic planning involves a long-term perspective, while budgeting is often based on short-term operations. By taking a step back and planning first, you can align all the business units to the strategy and then create the spend. This ensures that your measures for success are defined from the start.
2. Constantly be assessing.
Companies once viewed strategy and planning as a “set it and forget it” practice, but your brand experience strategy and goals should be constantly and consistently assessed and adapted as needed. One key to achieving that desired flexibility is involving the right stakeholders from the very beginning. When you have their buy-in early, they are more apt to contribute and to pivot as needed. They also feel more accountable because they were part of the strategy from the start.
3. Involve others.
Many companies create a strategy from the perspective of the brand. They know what message needs to be communicated, but their positions and branding don’t necessarily take into consideration the needs and perspectives of the audience(s). If you map your internal stakeholder goals against the desires of your audience, you’ll find there’s a gap — and this becomes your strategy “sweet spot.” This is where you should focus, because it provides the bridge to connect those business goals with audience action.
4. Be solution-oriented.
Don’t view strategic planning as a time-intensive exercise that eats away at resources. Instead, rely on the belief that this type of planning can help your teams to focus creatively on the future and find relevant solutions to support business strategy.
Resolve to take an audience-centric approach to building branded customer experiences. Your initial vision, mission, and values may no longer be relevant, so it’s imperative to evolve to meet the needs of your audience. Don’t be a brand that becomes paralyzed at the notion of change and ultimately do nothing. Embrace the challenge.
Brand experience strategy is now a companywide affair. By getting other teams involved early, you can create an effective long-term strategy that everyone buys into. From there, the budget can be developed and the messaging can be distributed across multiple channels to reach customers on a much deeper level.