If your brand were a person, how would he or she talk?
If your brand were a theme park, what would it look like? What would the rides be called?
If your brand were a muffin, what kind would it be? Triple chocolate? Pumpkin spice? Sugar-free bran?
While these questions may seem like Zen riddles, they are actually a way to begin thinking about your brand in a deeper way in order to create more engaging brand experiences.
Let’s back up. What is brand experience, anyway?
A 2009 article in the Journal of Marketing defines brand experience like this:
“Brand experience is conceptualized as sensations, feelings, cognitions and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand‘s design and identity, packaging, communications and environments.”
Translation: Every time someone encounters or interacts with anything associated with your brand, it’s an opportunity to create a brand experience. Take advantage of every opportunity.
Here are three brilliant ways to bring your brand to life, illustrated with three genius examples.
1. Ambient / Guerrilla Ad
What it is: Ambient or guerrilla ads are notoriously hard to define, but you know them when you see them.
Genius example: Bloody elevator doors promoting Resident Evil: Extinction
Comments: While some might argue this ad installation crosses a line of good taste, you can’t deny that it is intriguing, gritty, gory and alarming. Just like the movie it is promoting.
Not only do effective ambient ads make an emotional impression on the people who encounter them, they also tend to attract media attention – which is a free, if unpredictable, way to magnify the impact of your marketing dollars.
What it is: A happening that allows people to participate in or experience some aspect of your brand. This can be a one-time event, a series or an ongoing brand activation (like Nike’s House of Mamba).
Genius example: Moose Madness Family Festival in Cook County, MN
Comments: Cook County, Minnesota is known for a lot of things, including its portion of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, its moose population, its family-friendliness, and its artsy, quirky character.
(Full disclosure: Visit Cook County is a Giant Voices client.)
The annual Moose Madness Family Festival celebrates and embodies these characteristics with a weekend of moose-themed crafts, races, story readings, treasure hunt and photo ops with a wandering moose mascot. Moose Madness has garnered coverage in major media outlets, including the Chicago Tribune.
What it is: This is the instructional and functional text on your website. Think button labels, error messages, signup forms, checkout pages.
A Smashing Magazine feature on microcopy describes it as “the little text that can make or break your user experience.
Give your microcopy some personality consistent with your brand. Good microcopy not only clearly explains what the user needs to do in order to attain a desired result, it also rewards the user with moments of delight.
Genius example: Pottermore, J.K.Rowling’s online Harry Potter experience
Comments: When you complete the initial registration process at Pottermore.com, you don’t get the usual dry-as-toast “registration successful” message you get at a lot of sites. Instead, you see the message every young Potter fan dreams of receiving – “Congratulations! You are magical” – and your name displayed on a “List of magical folk” along with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and other characters from the books.
Your brand is more than just a label. It’s a look, a voice, an attitude, and an experience – all crafted to powerfully appeal to your target audience. With strategy, creativity, and deep knowledge of your audience, you can make every marketing opportunity and encounter a brand experience they’ll appreciate.
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