“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.” Many of you may recognize this quote by Jay Danzie. This captures the essence of why experiential marketing is critical for the development of any successful brand.
As a brand development agency, we talk with hundreds of businesses each year. Many believe that branding and marketing consists of the creation a logo, a website, marketing materials and the related promotional activities needed to drive eyeballs. Yes, these are important. But, they are only part of the equation. The underlying experiences you create are critical to your organization’s long-term success.
Experiential marketing is the intentional development of a company’s systems, processes, messaging, and employees to create outstanding, on-brand experiences for their customers and community. These resulting experiences drive:
- Improved Customer & Employee Engagement
- Higher Spending
- Increased Loyalty
- More Referrals
What is said in your ads fades. The experiences you create ARE your brand.
One often overlooked aspect of experiential marketing is that all companies ARE already creating experiences for their customers. The only question is, are you doing it with the intention it deserves?
Every time you answer your phone, deliver your product or service, have a meeting or communicate, you have the opportunity to deliver an experience. That person has the potential to become your worst critic or your best vocal brand evangelist.
Let’s walk through a quick example. Imagine you own a doctor’s office. Think about all the opportunities that exist for you to create an amazing patient experience. These include:
- Answering the phone (what you say, your hours, do you have an auto attendant? etc.)
- The time leading up to a patient appointment (messaging and reminders)
- A patient entering the office for an appointment (how it looks, patient notices, etc.)
- A patient walking up to the reception desk
- A patient sitting in the waiting room (where do they sit, what can they look at, etc.)
- A patient being called and taken to the exam room (how are they addressed, etc.)
- A patient in the exam room waiting for the doctor
- The time with the doctor
- A patient leaving their appointment
- The patient interactions after the appointment
We have all been to the doctor and know how this goes. To start turning these opportunities into intentional experiences, simply start by identifying the top one or two interactions you believe would create the most positive impact. Then, based on your overall brand positioning, determine how you might enhance these experiences to differentiate yourself. Let’s say your desired brand experience/promise is something like, “Making Your Life More Enjoyable”. A simple example would be:
Example: A patient walking up to the reception area
- The Expected Experience
- The patient walks up to the big reception desk, stands there and waits
- The reception team of two people is very busy (sitting in their chairs typing or doing paperwork)
- When one of them has time, they point at a clipboard on the counter, ask you to sign in, and have a seat
- They go back to what they are doing
- A Better Experience
- Each time a new patient approaches the reception area, a person stands up, smiles and acknowledges the patient. Yes, this can even happen if they are on the phone.
- The patient is greeted with, “Hi, nice to see you today” while making eye contact.
- “Let’s look up your appointment. What is your name?”
- The appointment time is confirmed back the patient and they are given an approximate time of when they will be seen. If this is going to be more than X minutes past the scheduled appointment time, they are given an apology and an explanation as to why the patient arrived on time but now has to wait
- The staff asks “Do you have any questions about your appointment today?”
- The new patient is directed, “You can have a seat, enjoy a magazine or here is short article we publish each month with some tips and insights on Living a More Enjoyable Life”
As a patient, which experience would you prefer? Which one would you be more likely to refer to someone else or post a positive review about?
As your organization understands and adopts the experiential marketing process, these experiences become quicker and easier to create. It provides continuity and standards for how you do business. This is what builds a successful brand. If you’d like to discuss how intentional, experiential marketing can help you build a more successful company, reach out to us and schedule a free initial consultation. You can call us at 303-300-2640. We’ll walk you through the steps.