It’s tempting to integrate the latest advancements & tools in artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), computer-generated imagery (CGI), the metaverse & Web3. Yet, some miss the most important aspect of all this technology: The human experience.
The purpose of events & experiences is to connect audiences—to brands & to each other. When events are designed for brand community, these connections will continue to develop & strengthen long after your event or experience is over. Use technology to connect your audiences to your brand, story & messages—not because it’s the latest shiny object.
Creating high-impact experiences requires you to discover your customers’ & stakeholders’ current needs, behaviors & engagement preferences—and then design your experience to fit them. Your technology should aid in the human experience, not become a barrier to it.
So, how can you use technology to create brand experiences that powerfully connect your audiences?
1. Figure out your audience’s human experience perspective.
Think about a new technology you’re considering using for your next brand experience. Does it help your brand connect with your customer or stakeholder? Does it help your audiences connect in the way they want to engage? Placing your audience at the center of your experience design will help you achieve a higher-impact event that helps you reach your goals and builds brand community.
Find out what your audience cares about—what their concerns & questions are, what they’re looking to consume or engage with, how they want to interact and what motivates them to interact & share.
Then design your experience & integrate technology based on experiences that they can share with your brand & each other—in the way, at the time & using the platforms/channels/etc. they want to use.
Remember that your event also must overcome the noisy marketplace of content, technology & messages bombarding your audiences. Don’t create more noise. Instead, design ways to use technology to cut through the noise, capturing & keeping their attention—and turning interest into engagement.
2. Lean on tech to do more with less.
AI, computer-generated images (CGI), AR & other tech can help you take risks & meet your audiences’ changed behaviors with captivating experiences—without breaking the bank. In the past, this was reserved for brands with only large budgets. But the latest breakthroughs make even the most fantastical ideas available to brands that would be otherwise unable to pull off these stunts.
Maybelline went viral on Instagram & TikTok with a clever takeover of London Public Transport, with a larger-than-life mascara wand in a tube station & on the side of a building, applying a touch-up to huge lashes that adorned trains & double-decker buses. From the bounce back of the lashes after it passed under the bristles of the wand to the hyper-real design of the mascara tubes, many consumers were shocked to find out that this wasn’t a physical experiential installation, but rather a creative CGI & AI design that mimicked real life.
They’re far from the only brand harnessing this trend’s power. Coach leaned into CGI & AI with a video depicting a giant purse generator attached to the front of a new pop-up location in the UK. Adidas designed a giant CGI-3D billboard in Dubai after the World Cup. Jacquemus used AI to “drive” truck-sized handbags down the streets of Paris.
These special effects are often much less expensive than a traditional installation. Considering fabrication, installation & shooting promos—not to mention the time & money it would take to file permits or solidify a partnership—cleverly using technology to create lifelike digital experiential campaigns allow brands to create a big impact at only a fraction of the cost. They also allow you to move much more quickly to implement your next big experiential marketing idea.
3. Create opportunities to co-create & collaborate with your audience.
There’s power in user-generated content (UGC), whether it’s from a content creator or a passionate fan. It can help your audiences imagine your brand & offerings in new ways, while also bolstering your brand’s reputation from customer endorsement.
Mattel’s “This Barbie is…” campaign featured promotional images from the new movie but invited customers to download & create their own graphics with an easy-to-use template. Quickly turning into a meme, consumers used the pink & blue backgrounds to create more hype around the much-anticipated movie. Michael Kors’ AR filter gave customers the opportunity to virtually try on its new sunglasses via Facebook, increasing purchases and buzz.
Creating interactive, immersive & engaging experiences enables you to more deeply connect with your audience. It also encourages collaboration & plants the seeds of brand community. By including your audience in a dynamic experience of your brand’s story & messaging, you move past a one-way broadcast of your brand’s solutions to give your audience space to connect to, grow affinity for & co-create with your brand.
How are you using technology to connect with your audiences?
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