The Brand experience:
Make no mistake: the Digital Age of marketing has arrived. Companies and brands are finally beginning to realize the importance of creating an end-to-end brand experience for their consumers. Switched-on brands know that to attract and engage consumers, they must connect with them on a personal level.
‘Millennials’ (also known as ‘the Y generation’) now have more spending power than any other generation, so it is absolutely crucial for brands to understand how and why they purchase products and services.
On average, Millennials spend 5.4 hours per day consuming content on social media. It should come as no surprise then that brands are now spending significant amounts of time and money on marketing through these channels. But how much of this content is actually engaging? And how much of it gets lost in the noise caused by billions of others, all shouting to be heard?
What do our consumers want?
Coca-Cola is one brand which understands the diversity of its audience. Their marketing team knows that it takes more than a good advert to connect with and engage consumers and fans. One of Coke’s most recent campaigns, “Share a coke with” is about family, friendship, and the sharing of an experience. This is a smart move as these are some of the things which Millennials say are most important to them. But how do we ensure we are truly engaging our consumers and influencers online? And what does this engagement really look like?
Millennials look for meaning in everything. They want brands which offer them experiences – rather than simply trying to sell them a product. They favor brands with which they can create long-lasting relationships. When they do, they are very protective – often retaliating against any negative comments directed towards those brands online.
Engagement is all about listening to what the customer wants, understanding their desires and supporting them throughout the consumer journey. Brands need to create an ongoing dialogue of experiences and online ‘moments’.
What do brands fail to deliver?
Why is it then, that when companies have worked so hard to engage their customers, they forget that the brand experience should last from start to finish? And that the end point is often the most important part?
Take, for example, the latest technology-based marketing platform: Augmented Reality, which has the potential to bring products and brands alive. It allows consumers to interact with their brands like never before. Simply ‘grab’ a logo using any smartphone camera and users are instantly treated to incredible interactive content, offering consumers the ultimate in brand experience.
Brands using legacy app-based solutions to deliver Augmented Reality may think they are creating a brand experience but in fact, by forcing consumers to download and install an app, they are disconnecting them from the brand at a crucial moment. How can it have gone unnoticed that this blip in the customer journey is actually ending engagement? (For good, in some cases.)
A recent study by Similarweb in the USA showed that, for every 1,000 apps downloaded, only five people continue to use the app after 30 days. In the UK, statistics are even less favorable: only 1.5 people hold onto the app after 30 days.
Mobile web VS App
Where the mobile website offers immediacy to your customers, making things instantly possible to view or connect with, downloading and installing an app creates a significant barrier between the brand and customer engagement.
In an interconnected and social world, people love to have conversations and share their thoughts and experiences. They expect to be able to do this in a few simple clicks. Mobile websites are easily shared between users in a way that apps will never be.
This sharing broadens the reach of brands by encouraging engagement through search engine results and other social media users. It reinforces the positive effect of Augmented Reality and makes your campaign activation go further, faster – and for longer.
Finally, Augmented Reality on mobile web has the ability to go global, creating brand experiences which can be activated simultaneously worldwide. This breaks down ‘silos’ between individual countries, operating systems and app stores. And it gives brands the ability to create stronger engagement with their target audience around the world.
As technology continues to develop, so too should its ability to enable true and authentic brand experiences. These experiences need to be cohesive from start to finish and meet the sky-high expectations of Millennials. This is the most important factor in creating consumer engagement with your brand – and ensuring continued strong levels of loyalty into the future.