Traditional advertising is out, and brand experiences are in. The 2017 Freeman Global Brand Experience Study reveals the widespread adoption of experiential marketing, showing one in every three CMOs expect to use 21 to 50 percent of their budgets on events, including trade shows, exhibits and pop-up shops. Incorporating authentic, quality merchandise in these events can significantly increase the impact of an already powerful avenue for reaching consumers.
Why Focus on Experiences?
Today’s customers crave engagement. They’re not satisfied to be passive consumers of information. Their lives are streams of connectivity and interaction flowing from one channel to another. Creating experiences around your brand is your best chance to grab and keep their attention.
Brand experiences establish a sense of community and tap into the social nature of modern life. By wrapping your brand in an experience rather than simply trying to sell products, you create an immersive environment in which consumers interact with your company on their terms and come away with a sense of fulfillment.
Getting up close and personal with a brand at an event breaks down the barriers between consumer and company, transforming products from consumer goods to integral parts of daily life.
It’s All About Connections
Your brand’s message is a powerful part of the customer experience. Your presence at every event should reflect the personality and voice of your company. Stay consistent with the tone you use in other channels so that customers instantly recognize you and are ready to interact.
Engaging your customers with experiences can help solve the mystery of what they really want from your brand. Interacting in person opens new channels of communication and allows consumers to lead the conversation. As these dialogs uncover the unique wants and needs of each individual, you can provide appropriate solutions with your products and services.
Cementing Customer Loyalty with Quality Merchandise
Custom branded items give you an instant and tangible way to solve some of the problems consumers face. Giving away small items your customers will use every day enhances their experience with your brand and shows your company genuinely understands its audience. Loyalty is established as customers begin to see your company as a helpful resource. Holding contests for more valuable items heightens engagement with a sense of excitement and expectation.
The key to successfully fostering loyalty with promotional items requires selecting each piece with the same thoughtfulness and creativity that your brand is built upon. Understanding which items will bring the most value to the audience you are looking to connect with while representing the ethos of what makes your brand unique will result in the lasting impression promotional merchandise is intended to make. Partnering with a branding agency can be of value to help with strategizing and designing your merchandise to really get the biggest return on your investment.
According to thinkJar, 86 percent of consumers will pay more for an “upgraded” experience, and 55 percent are willing to put down more money for an experience guaranteed to be “good.” After walking away from a positive interaction with free merchandise in hand, these same consumers are likely to make purchases from your company they wouldn’t have made before encountering your brand experience.
Combining a memorable customer experience with quality merchandise drives consumer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising. Use the visual nature of experiential marketing to convey your brand’s message, and keep the memory of the event fresh with relevant branded items. Encouraging daily brand interactions strengthens the bond between consumers and your company and creates the foundation for long-lasting relationships.