Why Experiential Is the Heart of Branding
The Heart of Branding starts each semester at NYU, Bob shows a picture of the Pillsbury Doughboy to my mostly international students and ask, “Does this make you hungry?” They laugh nervously and answer, “No.” Bob goes on to ask, “Does this make you think of family or getting together with loved ones during a holiday?”
Even the most carefully crafted and well-stewarded brand imagery is completely meaningless without experience. The trouble is, we’ve lost sight of this fact in advertising. In far too many campaigns we still treat the ad as the beginning of the consumers journey. The ad concept often ignores a crucial step of the branding process. Which is to craft personal, shareable experiences with our products that nurture and grow lasting affection for our brand.
Instead of building customer relationships based on the heart, we do clever things in ads that are quickly forgotten. Without creating a human connection between the brand and consumer there is nothing more than a notch on a belt in the form of a meaningless engagement. The most troubling thing about all of this is that adding heart to a brand isn’t even all that hard. Pop culture brands like Lego and the NFL already understand how important experience is, and that has contributed to their fanatical customer base. Now both brands are launching their own traveling roadshows in 2017.
These experiences then enhance existing enthusiasm for the brands, which in turn make other ads and promotions that much more effective. When you add something for people to see, hear, taste and do at the forefront of your messaging, you are creating a positive memory that is much more powerful than an ad alone. And, it’s a heart-felt connection to your brand that will make consumers more receptive to your messaging every time they see your ads in the future.
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