Guest Blog: The Scoop on Amplifying your Brand through Branded Experiences
I was excited to receive an invitation to submit a guest blog in honor of Castle’s 20th Anniversary. I started my career at Castle in 2010 and am currently in my second year of my MBA program at Boston College where I specialize in product and brand management as well as marketing analytics.
The #amplifycastle 20th anniversary campaign is fitting for the culture and caliber of work that distinguishes the agency, and it brought to mind a very relevant and underleveraged brand building tool that has gotten more attention over the past couple of years – branded experiences. My goal today is to define what branded experiences can mean and explain how these can help companies amplify their brands, get their message out in novel ways, and create bigger, broader, deeper connections in the minds of its consumers and employees.
According to the Journal of Marketing, a brand experience is a “…feeling, cognition and behavioral response evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, communications, and environments.” Brand experiences can affect our senses, emotions, intellectual perceptions and behaviors, and as a result, impact consumer satisfaction and loyalty. As a result, branded experiences encompass the aggregate of brand touchpoints across all channels (both digital and in-person). Unfortunately, most brands either don’t fully leverage the power of branded experiences or the experiences fall short either due to lack of robustness or consistency, hence struggling to be as impactful.
At Castle, I learned that events are one expression of branded experiences and that every event has the potential to highlight a brand’s essence, symbols, personality and its connection with not only the consumer but also employees – the day-to-day brand ambassadors. A mindful, consumer/employee-centered planning process can deliver strong results and starts with a strong understanding of the brand.
Branded experiences can take many forms. Here are some examples of how branded experiences can amplify a brand:
- Product Launches: Product launches are an excellent opportunity for a brand to reenergize its consumers. Apple’s Keynote Events are a well-known product launch example. As one of the most powerful brands in the world, Apple broadcasts its live, keynote events to announce its new products and galvanize support for when these become available for sale.
- Consumer Appreciation Events: Consumer appreciation events are another medium to bring customers and employees together and celebrate a brand’s personality through fun activities and entertainment. These also promote, encourage and reward being a brand community participant. In turn, they can increase positive affect and word of mouth for the brand.
- Pop-up Stores: Pop-up stores, temporary retail establishments, are becoming more prominent on street corners, events and shopping centers due to their affordability, ability to generate buzz and brand extension potential. Particularly for online or pre-storefront businesses, these provide a way to interact with customers and educate them about new products, services and features. For instance, Google launched a pop-up store in Australia in 2011, called Androidland, to introduce and educate customers on the Google Android mobile operating system. More recently, brands have been appealing to millennial through very creative pop-ups, ranging from mobile clothing boutiques and beauty bars to spirits bars and seasonal experiences – take a look at a few examples.
Successful branded experiences convey the essence of the brand through all of the event elements – from the look and feel, to the food, beverage, and the overall experience, starting with the moment the consumer first learns about the event all the way through the communication that takes place after the event took place. Regardless of the size of a brand or the scale of the event, branded experiences can deepen the connection with consumers/employees and provide a brand with yet another tool to define and express itself. As society becomes more invested in understanding the stories and mission behind products, companies and services, branded experiences are an excellent tool for any business.
My experiences at Castle helped me connect the dots on the power of branded experiences and how to bring these to the different stages of the brand or product development process. Can you recall a specific branded experience that strengthened your brand loyalty or brand affinity? Please share, I’d love to hear about it.