As in-person brand activations and experiences are enjoying a resurgence, it’s becoming clearer that one-to-one connections are proving more valuable. Why? Because people enjoy sharing new discoveries with their friends and communities, and brands are increasingly seeking genuine ways to appeal to these sensibilities. As a result, we’re seeing fewer requests for extravaganza-type experiences attached to big-name celebrities and a growing trend towards connecting with relatable everyday people sharing common interests. Though the reach may be smaller, real conversations and interactions have the potential to reimagine brand loyalty. It's not just about mass appeal anymore. Quality engagement will win over casual clicks, so consider ways your brand experience can bring consumers along for the journey by making it interactive and memorable, rather than passive.
How people view and relate to brands is changing. They want to connect with the humanity behind a company. Brands can deliver on this desire and create lasting customer affinity by leveraging technology to promote their values to a community versus just selling a product.
We like to describe what we do as “mixed-media experiential technology and art.” Similar to traditional art, your brand can and should be an expressive communication platform. So build consumer experiences that find common ground. Show your audience that you understand and care about them by delivering something that matters, big or small.
Fellowes' experiential showroom
We recently crafted an experiential showroom for Fellowes that exemplifies this concept, as it addressed an ongoing challenge of effective communication within the traditional showroom setting. The experience empowers Fellowes to visualize products dynamically and immersively, breaking down language barriers between designers, architects and end-clients, and creating confidence and trust between them. Fellowes' investment in the experience shows they care about all stakeholders in the design process.
But remember: what’s top-of-mind and in vogue right now may not ultimately serve your business goals. When a company follows trends or employs technology for its own sake, consumers will see through it right away. But, if you can answer the why behind the tech in question, you'll build something impactful. That’s why we go through a rigorous discovery process guiding clients to adopt the right experiential technology to fit their needs.
A good experiential partner will help clients define what “true impact” is to them. The number of views or followers you gain from your experience can often be an artificial metric that doesn't necessarily translate into a genuine connection. By understanding the impetus for your tech deployment and the deeper motivations at play, we not only have a better understanding of the brief, but also the pain points to resolve. In turn, we can match the best uses of creative thinking and technology that solve a client’s underlying problems and challenges, working toward their business goals.
Boston Logan International Airport's interactive exhibit
Lastly, clients must be reminded that all tech solutions needn’t be complex or started from scratch – like a machine learning AI model, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Sometimes, the most impactful and efficient solution comes from existing technologies we already have at our disposal – building blocks for endless solutions. Think of it this way: In the same way that you use different materials to build a house, tailor-made to your specific and nuanced wants and needs, you can use multiple pieces of technology in your own product, simplifying the process and customizing them for your experiences.
Derek Tran is the Co-Founder and Technical Director at Showroom Experiential (www.showroomexp.com/), a Boston-based studio that specializes in immersive solutions for showrooms, experience centers and retail spaces.