Knowledge

The Art of Using a Brand Experience Map for Your Next Activation

Category: Ideas, Strategy, Trends

Marketers understand the importance of creating a powerful brand experience to strengthen connections with their customers. But how can they make sure they are reaching their audience effectively across every touch-point within an experiential activation?

Through experience mapping, brands can consider every detail of how their audience will interact with them throughout the customer journey. Like a compelling story, there is a beginning, middle, and an end. An initial brand activation plan will lay out how to approach your audience in the pre-event stage, during the live experience, and after the event ends. Every exercise should encompass what the audience is doing on physical, digital, social, and mobile channels, all laddering back to a specific strategy that solves for your brand’s goal.

When building an integrated experience design, it’s necessary to think about the variables that will align with positive outcomes for an audience. When considering how a brand should come to life and engage an audience, our experience map covers three aspects of the brand experience:

 

Feel

Experiential marketing engages potential customers through hands-on interactions and powerful storytelling. The goal here isn’t to sell a product, but to establish a lasting and powerful connection between them and the brand as a whole. Marketers need to put themselves in the audience’s shoes and consider how to make them feel united to the brand’s message, values, and services.

“Feel” can be anything from how an audience engages with the activation, to which venue or environment the activation will take place.

When building out a brand activation, understanding how current or previous customers feel when they use a product or service will help to create a new experience that feeds off that emotion. Do customers feel comforted when they engage with a brand’s product? Do they feel energized? Inspired? Developing a plan with “feeling” in mind will help a brand inspire this outcome when interacting with new customers through an immersive experience.

The Bird Box experience is an excellent example of how “feeling” translates to brand activations.

MC² Experiential Studio and Netflix knew they wanted to recreate the terror and excitement experienced by the actors in the hit film. To do that, participants shuffled into a bus-turned-safehouse, were blindfolded, and exposed to a series of “jump scares” that recreated the same feeling of suspense brought on by the movie.

 

Do

At every phase of the customer journey, there is a specific action expected. From awareness to conversion, each touch point should further the customer’s connection to the brand experience. When building a brand experience map, it’s necessary to lay out what the audience should “do” at each stage.

In order to do this, marketers must consider the pain point the customer is currently experiencing that has put them on this journey. Because of this, how do they then choose to participate and interact with a brand or product?

Take the Toyota Mirai activation at HUBWeek. Guests embarked on an augmented reality trek, navigating their virtual car cross-country while learning about the benefits of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

Afterward, guests were able to test drive the Mirai throughout Boston. At each stage of the experience, guests were asked to interact with the product in a particular way, creating a lasting impression that drove guests to re-engage long after they hit the brakes.

 

Know

This part of the campaign mapping is crucial to the success of brand activation. This is where event marketers need to consider what they want their audience to know about their brand and the products or services they offer.

There are different ways to convey this: from interactive experiences that allow customers to experience a product first-hand, to specific marketing collateral, now is the time to consider how to clearly and memorably convey the brand message.

“Knowing” also includes thinking about how customers will come to recognize a brand. Design aspects like color palette, fonts, and language should all create a cohesive story that establishes familiarity and recognizability.

Let’s look at the St. Ives activation. The pop-up store in New York City invited participants to create custom scrubs and lotions while promoting the use of natural ingredients. Guests were able to see first-hand what goes into the beauty brand’s products, not only leaving them with a gift, but also with a memorable experience and positive associations.

 

Do you need help creating a brand experience map for your next activation? Let us know what you’re looking for and how MC² can help make it happen. Let’s talk!

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Caroline Meyers
Director MC² Corporate Communications