The boundaries between digital and analog worlds are becoming blurred. We aren’t walking around with computers in our bodies (yet), but the way we use technology to interact with others is changing. Fast. What seems novel today—augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, the metaverse—becomes how we live tomorrow. These digital opportunities make it possible to communicate with people in more exciting ways than ever before in human history.
Whenever your customers are engaging with your brand through the internet—website, blog, social media, apps, chatbots, and AR/VR—it’s a digital experience. And these personalized interactions have already proven to move the needle.
“67% percent of customers will pay more for a great experience.”
So what makes a branded experience great, and how do you create an engaging experience for your customers and employees in an increasingly digital world?
We have a few bold ideas.
COMBINE DIGITAL EXPERIENCES WITH EVENTS
Trade shows might not be the sexiest topic, but they remain among the highest ROI of all B2B marketing channels for face-to-face interactions. Whether you’re a multimillion-dollar corporation or a small business trying to get your foot in the door, trade shows are essential for building relationships with prospects, partners, and customers.
“Over 45% of executive decision-makers make purchase decisions while attending a show.”
So how do you get those decision-makers to your booth? (And, no, it’s not by wearing a cow suit and prancing around the aisles to get people’s attention. We saw that once and ran the other way.)
It involves email. And a kickass gift.
A well-written email sequence is powerful. While technology relentlessly marches forward, email remains the reliable, trusty friend who never steals your fries and always lets you choose the radio station.
Obtain a list of attendees and their contact info from the tradeshow organizer.
Create a special landing page for your event. Include information such as your booth number and location, and provide a calendar link for scheduling booth time.
Weeks before the tradeshow, email target customers a one-on-one consultation invite that guides them to the landing page. Once there, they can select a booth time that works for them. Give them the option to pick a branded gift that you’ll have waiting for them at the booth when they arrive for their appointment. (Remember, people like choices so an online pop-up shop is a great solution here.) You can even offer different gift tiers to different leads or customers based on their project spend or lead score.
As the tradeshow gets closer, use email to gently remind them of their booth time and build anticipation for receiving their gift. People will be more likely to make your booth a priority if they have a standing calendar invite.
On the morning of their appointment, provide them with a map or an identifying feature of your booth that makes it easy for them to find you. (See the QR code section below about how you can integrate this sort of hyper-specific geotagging into your communication efforts.) Create anticipation by reminding them about their gift.
Following this simple email automation formula allows you to get the right people at the right time to your booth.
CREATE YOUR OWN VIRTUAL WORLD
There’s value to be found in tangible, face-to-face experiences that give people the opportunity to play, learn, connect, or buy. But in the new hybrid work world, not everyone is in the office. So how do you create an equal playing field for nurturing relationships and engaging with customers and employees?
You elevate their experience.
One of the easiest ways to do that is through 3D rendering. It offers photorealistic product detail yet allows audiences to interact and learn about specific features on demand through “hot spots”.
Creating a virtual event is another way to embrace emerging technology. Move beyond live streaming and hold online events in the metaverse as an imaginative way to promote interaction through gamification. For instance, use leaderboards and award points that can be redeemed for branded products in an online pop-up shop.
ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute) offers this scenario:
Mail out a pair of branded socks or another item before a virtual event. A QR code on the packaging directs the recipient to a place where they can redeem an NFT of the digital version of the socks, which could then be “worn” at the digital event.
Or reverse it.
Send a limited-edition or collectible NFT to attendees, which unlocks real-world merchandise and experiences in an online pop-up shop.
Taking your merch program virtual can create game-changing engagement for employees and customers.
MAKE IT INTERESTING WITH AUGMENTED REALITY
QR codes are a popular way for consumers and brands to interact. According to Statista, 11 million households scanned a QR code in 2020. The past two years have catapulted that stat to millions more.
QR codes redirect people to whatever you want them to know or experience. QR codes can:
• Increase traffic to your website
• Make a phone call or send an email
• Link to a sign-up form
• Add an event to a calendar along with a reminder
• Give people a range of product info when added to product packaging
• Link to social media accounts, a landing page, or a company store
• Provide measurable and trackable results
• Connect to an interactive map to help people explore or navigate a specific space (See Step 4 above)
A QR code is merely a tool for creating an interactive experience. It gets people to where you want them to go. But then what?
May we suggest Augmented Reality. AR gives you the power to enhance or “augment” an existing environment with digital information like images, text, and animation. It delivers informative, educational, or entertaining experiences to users by connecting the physical world with the online world. AR allows you to layer critical info on top of the reality captured by your device’s camera for a more enriched experience.
Here’s an example of how a brand can combine QR codes and AR to create an interactive experience for their customers:
A resort wants to encourage guests to explore their property. People get lost all the time wandering the grounds. The resort wants them to feel like adventurous wayfinders instead of bewildered tourists. When guests scan a QR code on their branded key card using their smartphone, a property map shows up. As they navigate, they can interact with various points of interest along the way. They can also purchase branded apparel and resort experiences in a virtual store to be delivered to their room later that day. A built-in AR feature allows them to see what that hat will look like on their head before they buy it or what they’ll experience during that jungle tour. Bonus: that key card now becomes a souvenir with an incredibly long “shelf life.”
Instead of giving them a boring brochure upon check-in, guests now have a fun way to explore the property and engage with the brand. The same approach could also be translated to hospitals, universities, museums, corporate campuses (for new hires and hybrid workers) and more.
DELIVER DELIGHT, NO MATTER THE JOURNEY
People will always turn to the brand that offers the best experience. Smooth and pleasant is good. But incredible is better. Digital and physical experiences will continue to blur, and we believe giving people the best of both worlds is possible.
Interested in creating game-changing branded experiences for your brand? Contact us today to schedule a discovery call with our digital experience experts!
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