Knowledge

Beyond the Experience: Social Media

Category: Ideas, Strategy, Trends

Pics (Shares and Likes) Or It Didn’t Happen

In 2020, inspiration is everywhere and everyone wants to capture the feeling of an experience.  Flower walls, mirrored rooms and unexpected surprises are the cost of entry for any gram-worthy moment. Marketers and designers have long since cracked the code but extending the experience can be hard in a crowded space.  Social media extensions are always at the ready but can be treated as an afterthought. Shares, Likes and Follows only get you so far. 

Amplification and distribution are the close siblings to experience and should be baked into the initial planning for maximum reach, context and audience alignment. There is rarely a good reason for a branded experience not to build in opportunities to tell a bigger story. MC², an industry leader for over 50 years in the experiential marketing space, has been part of this evolution from the beginning.  We thought we would share some hits and misses that happened when brands create and join the conversation.

 

Instagramming Coachella

It might sound strange to talk about a platform and not a product, but Instagram has its own reputation to think about.  This Facebook extension has been a mainstay of the marketing world since it hit the scene, but in truth, the next best thing could take its place at any moment (myspace, anyone?).  Instagram knows this all too well and needed to find the perfect moment to launch their self-promotion campaign.

It’s a tall order to build an Instagrammable space for some of your biggest users and influencers when you are, in fact, Instagram. But the brand delivered with, quite literally, desert oasis 26 miles away from the epicenter of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for inviting music and culture influencers.

Dubbed “Desert Chill,” it was Instagram’s first-ever branded house at the festival. The idea was to create a respite from the marketing madness, but also, to encourage the invited attendees to share in the sort of organic environment only Instagram can activate. It worked! Festival-goers used the space exactly as intended and the brand continues to hold the mantle as a social sharing behemoth.

 

Let’s Get This Party Started

Every event is an excuse to party.  Consumers come ready to experience the fun and action, especially when it’s always changing. Lifestyle brand Refinery29’s “29Rooms” event is a traveling “experiential funhouse” of curated art installations. The event’s creators collaborate with local artists to create unique versions of this event in every city on the tour. It’s impossible to have the same experience twice. Attendees are drawn to events that impart memorable experiences and Instagram-worthy moments, and the research shows this trend is not going to let up. The appetite for interactive and immersive events is growing among a generation that craves authenticity and originality.

 

Whether it’s a brand tied to a product, a feeling, or a goal, it is important to keep the messaging IRL and on social media platforms fresh.  Use geography to keep your message going, refresh and repurpose existing materials and tell a complete story. Keeping an event “alive” after it’s left the city or trade-show floor is the smart play to get maximum ROI.

 

Check the Pulse. First.

No brand knocks it out of the park every time.  Some campaigns don’t catch on, there are fewer influencers attending an event or the conversation is just too noisy. But sometimes mistakes are made before any of this happens.  An ill-considered hashtag or off-the-mark message and the internet will rise up and let brands know when things are not right. 

Take Kim Kardashian. It’s hard not to keep up with her, she’s a powerhouse of an entrepreneur with savant level abilities for self-promotion. She launched her shapewear line via Instagram this past summer to a thunder of angry consumers at home and abroad.  At first glance, it seems like another extension of a brand built on aesthetics, but not everyone can be a (K)winner. 

 

Carefully crafted messaging was ceded and social media photoshoots were locked in.  But they missed a crucial detail, research the product name before the release. When KIMONO hit the market, the backlash was fast and furious.  Cultural insensitivity assaults came in droves and sales tanked before the product actually hit the market. The events and social extensions were canceled immediately and damage control went into overdrive.  Social launches and extensions work great, but consumers will be the first to tell you (loudly and repeatedly) what the market will and will not tolerate.

Social media and marketing installations are a winning combination. Increased appetite for well designed, in-person brand experiences are in high demand and consumers expect Instagram worthy pictures to document the experiences. This gives brands an organic way to create and continue messaging. Just be mindful of your narrative before the public does it for you.

 To learn more about MC² and our capabilities, get in touch today and let us help you amplify your brand experiences. 

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Caroline Meyers
Director MC² Corporate Communications