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Digital Transformation Technology Brand Strategy

Make goosebumps your new KPI

By Thomas Vig, Senior Strategist

Jack Morton

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The Drum Network article

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June 12, 2024 | 7 min read

Exciting new technology to capture your customers’ attention abounds. Now more than ever, says Thomas Vig of Jack Morton, be bold in delighting your audience – and you’ll be rewarded.

A merged streetscape of neon signs showing brands and Asian writing

Aim to please the senses of your customers and forge an unforgettable connection with them / Thomas Kinto via Unsplash

We find ourselves in an age of integrated marketing – with experience at its core. Events continue to show the strongest growth of all marketing categories, according to the Q1 IPA Bellwether Report, with budget expansion hitting the highest rate on record, with a net increase of 23.1%. And no wonder! People are craving experiences more than ever.

Consumers are numbed by grind culture, political polarization, war, climate crisis, inflation, and the traumas of the pandemic isolation – all meaning connection and escapism are in high demand. Some 78% of Americans now say they prioritize experiences over products according to Eventbrite. Meanwhile, people say they want brands to aim to give their customers goosebumps.

Yet, few brands are tapping into this desire: 70% of people say they can’t remember the last time a brand did anything that excited them. The same study shows 65% of people would like brands to wow them with spectacular advertising and marketing, with 61% wanting brands to help them feel intense emotions.

In fact, almost twice as many people (49%) say they are likely to buy from brands that bring them a sense of joy, or those that surprise and delight them (45%), than from brands that just do what they say they will (26%).

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Making something special

So, how do you build a goosebump-inducing experience? Firstly, be emotive. Having the guts to listen to your gut pays off when you want your brand to be highly memorable and effective. Mint Mobile CMO, Aron North talks about how this approach led to 90,000% revenue growth. Your creative strategy should not begin with the traditional KPIs. Instead, it should start with KPIs such as heart swells, jaw drops, spine tingles, and goosebumps. Wowing your audience should be the goal. Traditional metrics will kill the creativity you need to be different and memorable.

Secondly, build community. In a world in which The World Health Organization identifies loneliness a ‘global health concern’, marketers should prioritise connection to tackle the social challenge of our era. Be the brand that facilitates meaningful connections. Data shows that 85% of people feel estranged, so now is the time to carve out rich opportunities for community-building, offering rituals and spaces for people to connect. There is no better medium to do this than experience – both physically and digitally.

Thirdly, captivate the senses. Use emerging creative technologies to surprise and enthrall your audience. Innovation in LED, generative AI, scent design, XR technologies, game engines, and so on are unlocking new ways to create brand experiences that are multi-sensory.

Fourthly, make it unreal. Look into culture. People are flocking to highly Instagrammable experiences such as Dopamine Land, Afterlife’s techno shows, and immersive Van Gogh exhibitions. People want what looks unreal on the “‘gram” because it has scroll-stopping power that feeds likes, shares, and dopamine. Brands that bravely create one-of-a-kind moments like Metacore did to launch its latest version of the hit mobile game Merge Mansion will be the big winners.

Lastly, be fluid. Today’s biggest, most successful advertising ideas have experience at the core, with no boundaries when it comes to scale. That creates the ability to move seamlessly between in-real-life (IRL) and URL, quickly creating fear of missing out (FOMO) for non-participants, which also amps up your brand awareness and cool factor.

Brand experience is no longer just about creating one-time destinations, but rather leveraging those destinations as catalysts for continued reach and engagement. Some call it omni-experience; we simply call it being fluid. Again, highlighting Merge Mansion as a North star: the brand welcomed lore lovers, subreddit gamers, and celebrity sleuths to an IRL version of the mysterious Boulton family estate – and ultimately earned over 177m social impressions.

To go viral, give people goosebumps

Now is the time to invest in big experiential ideas that are crafted to reflect trends and culture. If you want to go viral, aim to give people goosebumps. That goes for both B2B and B2C brands. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), brands like SK and its Wonderland experience, a jaw-dropping theme park experience, stole the show. It’s time to rethink your experience strategy and find tactics to surprise and delight your audiences. Aim to give them a feeling about your brand that they’ll never forget.

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Digital Transformation Technology Brand Strategy

Content by The Drum Network member:

Jack Morton

No one sets out to be average. No one aspires to be ordinary. Jack Morton is an award-winning global brand experience agency that exists to reimagine what an experience...

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