Making The Switch From Physical To Digital Brand Experiences
People still crave the physical world. No matter how digital things get and cyborg we go, there’s an aspect to physical experience that just can’t be replicated. At least not yet anyway. B2C and B2B brands have been impacted by Covid-19 and many brands are finally making the leap from physical to digital brand experiences, after sitting on it probably a couple of years too long. But what they need is an awareness of the importance of physical experience and a way to blend both digital and physical more impactfully.
Whats the situation?
Currently, BTC and B2B marketing and sales are fundamentally impacted by Covid-19. The entire customer journey needs to be reviewed in light of Covid. With this in mind, marketers need to replace the emotion and connection of face to face selling with something as compelling.
Marketers must embrace technology to remain front of mind to the customer. Cutting through the noise and adapting to the digital medium is not enough. Now more than ever, brands need a clear value proposition, and the way in which we create them must be creative otherwise we risk drowning in the pool of sameness.
As competitors potentially cut brand budgets, an opportunity exists to separate from the pack, And ultimately as we communicate through digital mediums, we must think human to human, not screen to screen, in order to engage.
There are three areas you need to focus on. But first, have a read of our blog on How Brands Come Out of Recession Strong.
In the 2008 recession, companies with a strong brand equity recovered nine times faster than those without.
A study done by Cigna uncovered that almost half of all Americans are feeling isolated and alone. This is an educated guess, but I don’t think the UK is too far off. Interestingly though, Cigna’s findings suggest that the amount of technology and social media we use is not the root cause of this loneliness, but rather the lack of face-to-face interaction we’re no longer getting now that everything has gone digital.
People crave community, and customers crave a brand that makes them a part of one. Build a community for them, and they’ll buy into your brand, and be loyal to it. For marketers, this means that building communities is actually becoming a huge part of your job. However, building a community is more than just grouping a ton of people together on one app. It starts with your brand’s purpose, mission and vision.
Why Is Building A Community Important For Your Brand?
1. It Builds Brand Awareness –
Believe it or not, word of mouth is still the biggest tool in the marketer’s toolbox. “People are 84% more likely to trust a referral or recommendation if it comes from a friend, meaning the importance of community is at an all-time high.”
2. It Fosters Feelings of Discovery –
If you think of your brand as a community, it will not only help your company grow sales, the entire customer experience will be able to innovate much faster based on honest, real-time customer feedback. “Considering 97% of online buyers read reviews before they make a purchase, it is critical that communities are actively engaging and creating content around a company’s product.”
3. It Helps Your Customers Find Success –
The most impactful communities support their members to be the best that they can be. They provide a sense of togetherness, offer opportunities for making strategic connections, and are intimately positioned as hubs for advice, help, and support.
4. It Fosters Brand Loyalty –
Brand loyalty. Gaining new customers is always top priority, but retaining your customers is equally, if not more important for your brand perception and yes, revenue. “Accenture found that two-thirds of customers will spend more on brands to which they are loyal. [And] Glossier, for instance, believes that 90% of its revenue is due to returning customers.”
How Do You Do It?
We’d recommend reading Ben Keane’s 5 R’s of Tribe Building. He’ll tell you that every community needs to start with your purpose, mission, and vision, which is exactly where we start when we create brands.
Your purpose is your ‘Why’. Why is your brand doing what it’s doing?
Your vision is your ‘What’. Where do you see your brand going in the future?
Your mission is your ‘How’. How will you get there?
If you’re curious about your purpose, mission and vision, book in a free Brand Brainstorm with our creative team here. They’ll help sort you out!
Glossier has nailed the art community. They have created a huge, incredibly loyal community that connects through Instagram, Slack and events. Before launching a new product they publish an open thread that lets readers give advice on what they want. Similar to when Innocent shared their re re re re-rebrands with their online community to get feedback, so even when the feedback was bad, at least they were listening and ready to make amends.
Physical events as we knew them are gone. This change was uncomfortable at first, but has paved the way to improving customers’ event experiences and innovated in areas that may have gone stale. We need to pick apart what was so good about in-person events and what was ready to go. A huge benefit of physical brand experiences was the ability to hand out promotional products. 88% of people claim that they remember brands better if they received a promotional product from them, which is a bit tricky when we’re all spending double time at home.
Why Are Virtual Events Important For Your Brand?
1. They Facilitate Face to Face Discussion –
Talking face to face with your consumers is more important than ever. You need to create space for them to establish a much more personal and intimate relationship with your brand.
2. The Generate Brand Awareness & Recognition –
8 out of 10 people who take part in an event will share that experience with someone else.
3. Cost-Effective Roll Out –
Events are a great way to roll out new products and services. You can get quicker buy-in with a live, engaged audience and costs can be much lower than media advertising.
4. Instant Feedback –
With an event, you can gather feedback almost immediately and use it to improve your customer experience.
How Do You Do It?
An event always has to start with: Who is it for? And why would they want to attend?
We recently worked with CPA Ireland on their virtual conference on The Future of Accountancy.
We dug down to understand who this event was for. By understanding our audience, we were able to create a campaign that is simultaneously nostalgic as it is future-facing. Have a look at elements of our Update You campaign here.
But What Next? Creating A Digital X Physical Cyborg
What about post-lockdown when physical events and brand experiences are back in business? Either way, we need to keep innovating. If your methods are outdated tomorrow, they will be in a few years.
Customers have changed too. They have weaved their digital and physical worlds so tightly together that they can’t understand why companies haven’t done the same.
Either your brand can be changed, or you can do the changing. Do the latter, and you will be more memorable for it.
How Do You Do It?
Rule #1: Build your brand strategy around a digital-physical fusion. Work with agencies that understand the importance of digital meets physical dream team.
Rule #2: Remember what your customers want. What will make their life easier, better, and more fulfilling?
Rule #3: Shake things up. Be brave enough to disrupt the market, no matter how big or small you are.
The Digital Future
A digital lens will change how people perceive and manage nearly every activity in life and business. Try using it. Pick apart your customers’ experience to understand how digital technologies apply. Combining the physical and digital promises to transform nearly every element of nearly every industry, including yours.
Got a Physical X Digital Cyborg ready to be made happen? Sign up for a free Brand Brainstorm session to explore the possibilities of your next activation.