“Seeing is believing, experiencing is remembering.” This is how Bob Priest-Heck, president at Freeman, entitled his article about designing the invisible. As he indicates, a flawless design of a brand experience is much more powerful than a company identity.
Especially relevant is a Freeman report, which indicates that “As organizations search for a better way to build relationships, engage audiences and capture meaningful data, marketers are turning to brand experience as an effective tool in their marketing arsenal.”
The same report highlights, “When executed with authenticity, brand experience is an immersive, holistic, messaging platform that applies to a new type of consumers: one who is willing to spend a little time getting to know the brands they’re considering.”
A powerful brand experience nowadays can easily shape the attendees’ perception about your company or business. Moreover, it can become a bridge for building meaningful and long-lasting relationships between your brand and your audience.
In this context, running events becomes an important platform and tool in designing and providing memorable brand experiences.
According to the data presented by the EventTrack: Event & Experiential Marketing Forecast & Best Practices Study, 87% of consumers say events are more effective than commercials.
As a CEO, executive, or marketer, your main responsibility is to design and run events that revolve around brand experience.
This will help you build meaningful relationships with your prospects, amplify the messages you want to transmit, create authenticity, gain social proof, and most important, drive sales.
To learn how to plan the best events ever, here’s a list of events that took brand experience to a different level:
WIRED events (how to deliver unique content)
WIRED events are famous for enriching their attendees with incredible insights and valuable approaches. From business and health to energy and technology, WIRED runs several events a year, each promoting a brand experience based on idea collision. WIRED is also positioning itself as a powerful medium for those who want to change the world.
Build brand experience around massive value and immediate wins. Make sure the event you’re designing is not just focused on your products or company.
Identify both the interests and challenges of your attendees, and provide rich content that will arm them with the knowledge and the skills they need to up their game. Invite high-quality speakers that will hook your guests and position your event as a platform for thought leaders and value exchange.
Burning Man (how to ignite human instincts)
When Google creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin had to choose a CEO for their company, they put candidates through a very unique interview process.
According to Stephen Kotler in his book Stealing Fire, “They had blown through and alienated like 50 different CEOs in the valley they tried to interview, and they found out that Eric Schmidt had actually been to Burning Man. So they bumped him to the top of their list, they took him to Burning Man to see how he would do. They wanted to know was he going to be able to let go of his ego, merge with the team, or was he going to stand in its way? And it turns out he passed the test, and the result is one of the most pivotal CEO hires in the modern era.”
Over the years, Burning Man has evolved into a strong brand.
Burning Man organizers describe the event on the website as the following: “Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance.”
The event itself is a mix of experiential activities that involve music festivals, creative camps, eclectic art installations, hundreds of workshops, spiritual meditations, and much more.
If you want to hire a CEO, take him or her to Burning Man … just kidding.
The success of Burning Man revolves around the unusual environment, meant to harness people’s self-expression and creativity.
To build a memorable brand experience for your attendees, you could set up a series of unorthodox workshops (such as knife-throwing or laughter yoga). Having people engage in uncommon activities will help them develop a long-lasting memory about your brand.
Red Bull events (how to orchestrate crazy shows)
From Air Race and Cliff Diving to Soapbox and Stratos Mission, Red Bull has managed to position its brand through action sport events. As a result, its brand experience equals adrenaline, adventure and multiple challenges that create new heroes.
Consequently, Red Bull’s events have the power to attract the attention of an imposing audience that might not necessarily be strong advocates of energy drinks. Both the thrill and the show Red Bull is putting on define the brand experience as a powerful emotion generator that has that can deliver memorable moments.
To awaken strong emotions and make your attendees identify your brand with something remarkable, put your efforts into designing a memorable show. Don’t be afraid of unconventional ideas (case in point: Red Bull’s homemade flying machines race). Hence, you must build a strong brand experience that will captivate your attendees and make them have an extraordinary experience.
Tesla and Apple events (how to create awe)
Everybody always seems to await eagerly Tesla and Apple announcements. Be it Elon Musk or Tim Cook, people are following with excitement for the upcoming announcements of a new Tesla car or iPhone.
To follow in Tesla and Apple’s footsteps, you can always revolve your brand event and brand experience around presenting new, extraordinary features that can solve an annoying problem, highlighting the innovation component.
Most of the time, people may not understand the real value your new feature or product will provide, which is why setting up brand experiences based on announcements can become more than just an informational session.
TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield (how to fire up the competitive spirit)
TechCrunch Disrupt events are famous for providing a “combat zone” of sorts for different tech startups. As a result, the winners have access to investors, media exposure, and a monetary prize. The organizers managed to internationalize the brand experience by extending the event to places like Africa and Australia.
If you want to take a page from TechCrunch Disrupt’s book, when designing the brand experience of your event, position your company as an awarding platform. This will help you identify the best brands or people from your industry and gather a loyal audience around the contests you may want to organize as part of the brand experience.
The Future of Storytelling (FosT) Summit (how to drive immersion)
The FoST Summit gathers thinkers and practitioners from different fields to reshape storytelling in the 21st century. From intimate roundtable conversations featuring important leaders and hands-on creative workshops to memorable performances, attendees have access to an immersive brand experience.
Plan a two- or three-day brand event and diversify the activities for your attendees, providing them absolute immersion. Focus on designing the least boring and the most engaging dynamics that will jumpstart their experience and desire to interact.
There’s no right formula for designing the best brand experience. However, there are some brilliant brand experience examples out there. Before planning a brand event, analyze your goals and resources. Then, focus on the elements that stimulate a positive brand experience.
This can be delivering a unique content or impressive self-expression circumstances, exciting performances or awesome product presentations, intense competitions, or deep immersion and diversified activities. Choose the ones that best suit your brand and start experimenting!