With the ongoing softness in the economy it's no surprise that brands are looking for any edge possible to maximize every marketing dollar they spend to increase market share. In that regard, every consumer interaction with a brand should be an invitation to dig deeper and go from a passive recipient to an active participant. It should be a welcome diversion from the everyday - one that intrigues, entertains, stimulates conversation and creates an emotional bond over time.
Just like a great Hollywood film, your brand should take the consumer on a journey that keeps them on the edge of their seats and leaves them hoping for a sequel. That might just be our entertainment industry roots talking, but based on a lengthy successful track record, trust us — this works.
The trick is to make the journey EPIC…..
Experience. Consumers don't engage with ads, but they do seek out experiences. Create the kind of experiences that capture the imagination, inspire active participation and create conversations about your brand. And like any epic journey, it's important to have an experienced guide. So be sure to support your consumers along the way by telling them what to do, why and most importantly, what's in it for them. Surprise and delight them with interesting things that look and feel more like content than advertising.
Personalize. Let consumers make it personal. When consumers connect with an experience on a personal level, they're more likely to spend time with it, talk about it and share it with others. Enable consumers to insert themselves into the brand narrative. Giving them the spotlight and the ability to shape the story helps create conversation and a sense of community around your brand. What's more, allowing consumers to invest a part of themselves in your story and encouraging co-creation, builds a powerful emotional connection with your brand.
Incentivize. The dawn of the digital age and the changing economic landscape have placed the power in the hands of consumers. They demand value and quality and can afford to be picky, which makes it more important than ever to provide consumers with an incentive to engage with your brand. In many cases the benefit is intangible—a feeling. But it can help differentiate you from the competition and remind consumers that they've made the right choice. And don't forget to give them the tools to share your brand experience. By enabling consumers to pass entertaining content to others, they become the hero of the story.
Continuous. Once you've got consumers on the edges of their seats, don't leave them hanging for too long. There's a lot of competition for their attention. And if you stop talking, they'll start walking. To make your brand entertaining, it's important to pique curiosity and create a desire to see what's next. Make your story open-ended, flexible and portable, so consumers can experience your brand in new and unexpected ways. And last but not least, solicit feedback and listen to your consumers. They'll help you create a sequel that's even more entertaining.
So there you have it – take your consumers on an EPIC journey with your brand. No, it's not necessarily the easy path. However, your team will find itself energized during the creative process, consumers will develop a closer relationship with your brand and if you stay the course… success is just around the corner.
Marc Klatzko is Managing Director, Chief Creative Officer of New York-based creative shop MAUDE, a wholly-owned subsidiary of media and marketing agency Media Storm, LLC.