Social distancing has irreversibly changed the way in which businesses conduct work and engage with consumers. This is especially true of businesses which have traditionally required physical proximity to create their brand experience, like retail stores. We have seen the rise of experiential design over the last decade make waves across the marketing landscape. In many cases, good experiential design can be more effective than traditional media. That is because audiences nowadays do not want to be talked at, but want to be engaged with. In a classroom analogy, if traditional advertising is a one-way lecture, think of digital strategy as a discussion board.
At its core, the experiential design is a moment where a brand can connect with its audience in a personal and meaningful way. Design experts work to design that moment to be as impactful and memorable as possible. The principles of successful design strategy are fairly simple, though sometimes hard to achieve: make it unique, engaging, and widely applicable and shareable. Bold and loud is not enough anymore. Forwarding to today, brands are still trying to connect and engage with customers in unique ways, and give them experiences worth talking about. But how does experiential design come to life in a world of self-isolation and social distancing?
We at Team LuxeForGood have compiled some tips that businesses, especially small and growth-stage organizations, can adopt to keep their consumers engaged and interested in their offerings.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO INTERACT ?
Content creation and marketing is key in building a new business ecosystem that adheres to the rules of social distancing. With multiple competitors all quickly taking to the digital space, your content should shine. Make it unique, valuable and interactive. Most importantly, make it about your audience, and not about your brand. Think about what it is that people are missing the most today, and allow your content to occupy that empty space. This is especially difficult because you cannot look to competitors for a blueprint; in fact, that is exactly what you should not do! Take some time, but ensure that your business carves its own niche, instead of piling on top of an already occupied space.
Interaction is important because what people miss the most is having intimate connections with other people. It can range from simple polls integrated into your content to immersive experiences like escape rooms or treasure hunts to get people to connect with your business. Audiences today often care more about what a brand stands for than what they sell. This is truer than ever in a post-COVID-19 world. Activations that spread goodwill will rise to the top and become memorable engagements for years to come. This includes gestures like self-care kits, live-streams with DIY spa treatments or a package with decadent snacks.
HOW TO INTERACT ONLINE ?
Digital media strategy is your best friend. With social media having more users than ever, now is the time to switch to social media or other forms of digital marketing. These can take many forms, based on what outcomes you want for your business. One interactive method to leverage social media is to schedule social media takeovers. This is when an influencer/ industry leader “takes over” your social media platforms for a stipulated time period. This would allow followers of the influencer to engage with them using your social media as a platform, resulting in larger footfall into your page and engaging a wider user base. Another tactic that works is to create digital subscription packages. This could be anything from newsletters, bulletins or even door-delivered packages. Through subscriptions, users are constantly engaging with your brand. Using creative marketing collaterals for these subscription packages can elevate your business to the next level.
Lastly, dynamic marketing and growth is important especially given the uncertainty in business practises. Now is the time to rebrand, give your business a makeover and see what needs the market is not fulfilling. While this sounds complex, it is simply a matter of analysing the aggregation of personal issues; for example, what do you think you need right now to make working during COVID-19 easier? Chances are, your consumers think the same thing, or at least along the same lines. By providing solutions to these problems, you are adding value to your business and to your users. This will allow you to engage meaningfully with a wider customer base.
While employing these tips to forge a connection with your consumers, it is important to reveal to them your own vulnerabilities, given the state of business today. In today’s world, it is no longer enough to be a business that provides a good or service. To form a genuine and long-lasting relationship with your existing customers, and to attract new ones, you must both open yourself up to criticism and be transparent about your weaknesses. Today, consumers expect complete transparency and authenticity from businesses, and this is further emphasised in the landscape of a global pandemic.