The ins and outs of brand experience communication

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Consistent, creative and innovative brand experiences are a recipe for B2B and B2C success, says Damian Clarke.

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A successful communication strategy demands both excellent business to business initiatives and fantastic consumer treatments. 

A joined-up approach to these quite different channels through consistent and innovative creative can produce huge rewards for a brand and live brand experience disciplines have never been more important in bringing these communication strategies to life. 

B2B initiatives

Ensuring that internal teams and partners are immersed in your brand’s values will produce committed advocates throughout the organisation and help maintain strong supplier relationships.

Internal communications

Using proven internal communication methods but with a fresh and modern twist can ensure the brand message cuts through to every colleague. 

Internal teams ought to be a brand’s biggest supporters. It is a facet of the communications mix that can be overlooked but it is imperative
in a highly competitive jobs market. Here are three ways of making it happen:

  • Town hall meetings. A regular ‘town hall’ event, led by a known or respected brand ‘owner’, can be filmed and packaged for distribution to all corners of the organisation. Producing a cost-effective online (not native) app to host this content will also give employees access to daily or weekly updates as and when they would like to view them. 
  • Conferences. The yearly communications conference used to be the bane of all involved but modern presentation techniques with sound takeaway methods can breathe excitement and loyalty into an organisation. If relevant, regular regional meetings can ensure localised messaging is consistent. 
  • Corporate social responsibility. The case for linking brand communication strategies to CSR hardly needs making. As Business in the Community says, the key benefits of being a responsible business are “improved brand value and reputation, better employee motivation and greater operational effectiveness”. 

Supplier communications

Suppliers and agencies that help support internal teams are an integral part of the strategy. Making them aware of current internal propositions and strategies is as important as fully understanding their own direction and focus.

Annual exhibitions and conferences are a great way to put entire teams in front of suppliers, but why not communicate a brand’s proposition more regularly? This can be achieved through partner and agency brand immersion days. 

There is no need to make a big production of this. Communicating a brand’s ideology in a simple and cost-effective way can save huge amounts of time when working together day-to-day. Building on the strong advocacy of a brand’s internal teams and partners creates the most fertile environment for the core consumer work.

B2C initiatives

In this age of social media and ecommerce growth, it has never been more important for brands to tell their stories in a live setting through strong brand experience initiatives.

Live communications

Bringing consistent creative messaging from a B2B perspective through to the live consumer environment can be tricky. Implemented correctly, it offers big rewards in enhanced brand loyalty. But if produced with a lack of strategic direction, it can easily do more harm than good.

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In today’s crowded environment, it is important to produce innovative experiential installations

Experiential installations and pop-up shops are among the most familiar and best disciplines. Each has its own merits and can be easily scalable to fit budgets, although beware the scatter-gun approach and always try to innovate. Location needs to be analysed to achieve the required demographic – nothing is worse than a misjudged and empty experiential installation.

Brand ambassadors are also an excellent weapon in the B2C brand experience arsenal. The teams should be fully immersed in the brand’s values and, if launching a product or service, should know the USPs backwards. In today’s instant communications environment, ambassadors must also be able to deal with tricky questions and service issues or at least be ready with a satisfactory standardised response.

Media communications

Brand experience disciplines have traditionally played a large part in media communications strategies, with product or press launches
and media immersion days proving popular. 

Again, implementation of a consistent creative through these channels is essential, as is innovation in an already crowded media environment. 

Brands have always used PR stunts to generate media coverage and there are some legendary success stories (think of FHM’s projection of a naked Gail Porter on to the Houses of Parliament). In today’s crowded environment, however, it is important to stick to the core creative treatments, maintain consistency in the delivery and, most importantly, produce something innovative or it simply will not get picked up.

With the rise and rise of social media, it is more important than ever for a brand to produce interesting and engaging content for customers. A live brand experience campaign with strong social media links can bring rich rewards for those willing and able to innovate. Rewarding customers for their involvement is a must but innovation in how that interaction is generated is one of the best ways to build return on investment to the brand’s social media stock.

Consistent and innovative creative

Although all of the above disciplines are really important for a brand’s narrative, they are nothing without innovative and creative messaging. All too often we see a great brand proposition that has been hugely diluted by the time it reaches internal teams, intermediaries and consumers.

Clients should focus their campaigns on key propositions and use these to produce the creative treatments running through both channels.

The rewards for using live brand experiences as part of a wider communications strategy are immense and are achievable through innovative and consistent creative treatments down both B2B and B2C channels. 

This is serious stuff, but it is worth remembering that all customers, internal and external, are more likely to engage if a brand can have some fun with its creative treatments.

Damian Clarke
Founder and managing director
Undercurrent UK

146 Marylebone Road
London
NW1 5PH

T: 020 7183 6661
E: damian@undercurrent.uk.net
W: www.undercurrent.uk.net

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