Brand Experience: Evaluating experiences — learn from robots
by Mike Silver (@stretchmike) In these frugal times, has the economy (and our dear leader) potentially given us the unexpected gift of shifting our thinking from equity to sales? Isn’t it about time big brands adopted an online startup mindset when it comes to engagement?
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but things are pretty tough out there. Referring to brand budget cuts in this climate is like reminding us the Pope is Catholic. What’s surprising, though, is that, even in these tough times, measurement (and push to sales, specifically) is still often something forgotten. The logic that we’ll just do less of the stuff we didn’t really measure anyway seems to prevail.
Likeability vs profitability
The building-brand-equity argument is like that guy at the bar who buys everyone a round. Sure, they will love him in that moment. Hug him, high five him, maybe even a round of applause for his generosity… then they will get on with living their lives and paying for drinks of their own choosing.
I was sitting with the founder of an online retailer recently and was taken aback by the conversation. In the world of brand equity that I so often live in, he simply had no time for anything that didn’t tie back into sales. “Who cares if my logo is on a stadium banner?” he said, with his feet up. The man counts consumers, clickthroughs and conversions, and has no time for the fluffy stuff. We could probably learn a lot from our e-tail friends:
Have you noticed how every e-tailer gives you a significant discount off your first purchase? They call it a ‘hook’. They take the significant hit up front, confident that you will keep coming back.
How might this look in a real world? Instead of giving one person the chance to win one trip to Sun City, how could you give away higher perceived value items to more people (if not everyone) to push instant sales? It’s a golden oldie, but Cadbury’s modified its product in-store and allowed you to write your name on chocolate, which resulted in huge in-store sales.
2. Sales-driven CRM
Brands feel self-conscious about sending mainly product-related content to consumers. Instead, we get carefully created content (with some hidden product features) that we enjoy for an hour, then forget. E-tailers are far more aggressive when it comes to driving sales with their content. In the activation space, we feel obliged to give away free tickets to launch and sponsored events.
While it’s not pure CRM, Torcida looked to create a two-way dialogue with convenience-store owners on an ongoing basis, specifically in efforts to increase sales and generate key insights and data.
3. Social media integration
Social isn’t about saying have a great weekend; it’s about pushing sales!
Fashion brand, Patagonia’s “100% for the planet” campaign was lead through social with all proceeds from Black Friday going to environmental causes. Cleverly, it ticked the social entrepreneurship, PR, equity and sales box (even though proceeds are being donated), while creating meaningful conversations for their fans.
What do you notice above? The consumer experiences a tangible benefit each and every time. Logos on football shirts are replaced by discounts online. Viral videos are ‘shoppable’, not just there to entertain you. CRM is a two-way street: you don’t just get to email me — you keep giving me something for my insights and purchases.
As agencies, we understand the need to shrink our budgets. Marketing is famously the first thing to get cut. When consumers are cutting back themselves, marketeer briefs should really be leveraging off that insight around scarce resources. Ironically, we need to start thinking a little less robotically if we want to keep our jobs in the digital age.
Mike Silver (@stretchmike) is managing director of Stretch Experiential Marketing (www.stretchexp.com). He established Stretch — a communications agency specialising in developing strategies and concepts for integrated brand-experience campaigns — after working in sponsorship consultancy and experiential marketing in the UK. He contributes the regular “Brand Experience” column, focusing upon broader integrated ‘brand experiences’, to MarkLives.