In a world saturated with technology, staying close to your consumers is of paramount importance – especially if you want to cut through the clutter, be noticed and be exciting enough for consumers to want to engage and act.
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. But if used incorrectly it can damage a brand’s reputation. Campaigns that make use of technology still need the human element, especially campaigns that are tech-heavy. As shiny and exciting as a new tech driven experience is, consumers need to be driven to act and to immerse themselves in the brand world in order to become advocates of a brand. This is where face to face human interaction plays a key role.
As much as consumers enjoy engaging via social media and OOH digital platforms, the human element is vital to successful brand influence. From brand awareness, affiliation and action it all relies on the human factor. This is where activations come into the fray and provide the core impetus to a campaign.
Going forward into the foreseeable future, the hashtag isn’t going to be enough. We need to push for better, further reaching strategies that extend the life of campaigns beyond the hashtag and beyond tech and we need to do this by getting close and getting personal.
Great experiential marketing strategies will use digital OOH and social media to close distances between brands and consumers. Activations that are human centric need to be highly customizable so that engagement is personalized in order to create authentic relationships between brand and customer. Marketers and brand managers particularly need to constantly ask themselves: does it make sense to put X % of budget into digital or TV or should this rather be allocated to creating experiences?
It’s a new customer journey where the customer is always king – he wants to be treated as such from a brand or risk losing him to a competitor. Consumers expect brands to know them and provide the experiences they want. It goes without saying that consumers who have a great experience with a brand will spend more than a consumer who has had a bad experience.
In a transaction-based business, customer experience drives sales. And, it’s cheaper to have happy customers and brand followers than unhappy ones. In fact, after controlling for other factors that drive repeat purchases (for example, how often the customer needs the type of goods and services), customers who had the best past experiences spent 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.[i]
Activations augment hashtag marketing
Activations augment hashtag marketing and vice versa. Social media as part of an activations campaign can extend the reach of experiences, events and marketing stunts. It serves to broaden the audience and keep them up to date with what a brand is doing. It also creates a FOMO effect, which for brands is a coveted consumer state of mind as it drives sales and affiliation.
The bottom line is this: as more consumers interact with each other and with brands via social media, the more consumers hanker for new tech-driven brand experiences, the more we need to stay human centric.