Keeping customers interested and engaged in your brand is a full time job. Marketers need to create content and media that aligns with their brand image and message in order to maintain continuity and allow brand awareness and positive brand associations to grow in consumers’ minds.
An immersive brand experience allows customers to interact with a brand to such an extent that it maximizes the value of the brand by stimulating the customers’ five senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound) creating a deeper, more meaningful, and longer lasting impression.
The Walt Disney brand provides a great example of an immersive brand experience. The Disney theme parks, for instance, are designed in such a way that from the moment the customer enters the park they are surrounded by the company’s brand. From the music playing, the smell of fresh popcorn and caramel apples, to the employees’ customer service, guests are exposed to Disney’s brand which aims to bring magic to their guests.
Creating an immersive brand experience takes a significant amount of time and investment, but when done correctly, can have an enormous return on your business.
Here are some things to keep in mind when building an immersive brand experience.
When building an immersive brand experience, it’s important to be consistent in your brand message. When customers are immersed in your brand, they are essentially being taken on a journey that you have created for them so everything that they experience should be related to your brand’s overall message. There should never be any content or messages that disrupt your brand as this can cause customers to feel disjointed and lose the thread of the experience.
For instance, Disney theme parks aim to create experiences that celebrate their brand’s message of making your day magical. Having an employee swear at a customer or the loudspeakers suddenly playing loud rock music would break the customer’s experience and probably cause confusion and anger.
Remember, creating an immersive experience is similar to putting on a Broadway show. If the actors stopped acting and started talking to the audience, the experience would be broken.
Avoid Overwhelming Your Customers
What makes an immersive brand experience unique is, contrary to other marketing activities and campaigns, there can be a significant amount of material involved. An immersive experience is not simply posting one blog article or social media post and letting customers come to you. Keeping up the experience for customers involves multiple methods and tools to engage customers.
Going back to Disney; the music, food, smells, bright colours and happy employees are all specially tailored to immerse the customer.
That being said, there is a fine line between the right amount of content and too much. If customers feel they are being bombarded by your brand, especially if they feel the message does not apply to them, they can grow to resent the brand and start to tune it out.
When planning your approach, ensure that you do not overdo your experience. One way to test your threshold level could involve running beta tests on your experiences/campaigns or focus groups in order to get initial feedback. This way you are able to adjust your strategy before releasing it to the general public.
Do Your Research
An immersive brand experience will not do your brand much good if you do not know where to start. A lot of time and money goes into building these experiences and marketers should conduct research on their target audience before proceeding.
Disney is consistently updating and revising their brand experience in their parks. Designated employees conduct market research in the parks by asking customers what they liked and didn’t like about their experience in the park that day. This information is then used to create new ideas for the parks based on customer preferences. This way, the Disney brand is always fresh and exciting, especially for returning customers.
Marketers need to understand their target audiences’ preferences and which messages they will respond to best when creating their own immersive brand experiences. Simply going ahead and creating what they think customers will like can backfire in the worst ways. Customers who cannot identify with the brand message will simply ignore it or fail to get the immersive experience that was promised.
I Love That Brand!
An immersive brand experience can promote significant return for a company’s marketing. Creating a consistent message and experience that customers identify with helps create positive word-of-mouth about your brand. Customers are more likely to promote a brand and tell their friends about it if the intensity of the experience is just right and the brand really speaks to their needs and wants.
An immersive brand experience, when done right, can be one of the most valuable assets in a firm’s marketing plan. As Walt Disney once said, “do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
Courtney Rosebush, Content Contributor