Some call it “event marketing.” Others use the slightly more sexy “experience design.” But, for some of us, every name du jour concocted by the industry not only seems to miss the mark, it betrays a lack of understanding about the business we are really in.
We are in the business of creating community between brands and customers.
Community is the most desired and profitable result any marketing partner can deliver for a client—and it doesn’t take a bunch of research (though there’s a small pile of it) to understand that Live Communications is a powerful way to make this happen.
What’s disheartening, when you see how Live Communications is sometimes practiced, is that so much of its community-building power is often left on the table (or, more appropriately, on the show floor).
In a day when the terms efficiency, optimization, and ROI are being heralded the way peace, love, and harmony were in the 60’s, there has never been a better time for Live Communications to strut its business-building stuff.
What it will take is a different way of looking at this discipline, especially by those who practice it.
Igniting the Fire with Strategy
At EWI Worldwide, when counseling clients on how to unleash the power of Live Communications, our first recommendation is often a request—asking them to close their eyes and create a picture. Not of a specific project or event…but of a campfire.
We call it the “Brand Campfire” and, by ideating this way, the thought process moves away from tactical considerations and into the realm of strategy—where brands are built and results are born.
The Brand Campfire is wherever a brand and its customers gather—events, exhibits, mobile tours, trade shows, corporate meetings, product launches, press events, and retail environments—and becomes real when “passive” space is transformed into an “active” place where people exchange ideas, engage in discovery, develop trust, and build the kind of community from which mutually beneficial (and transactional) relationships are forged.
No tool is more effective than Live Communications for gathering brands and customers—and creating the campfire that builds community. And no combination of tools delivers community more powerfully than the coupling of Live Communications with its virtual cousin, the internet.
This killer combo has helped accelerate the evolution of Live Communications from tactical initiative to powerful, strategic weapon.
With a shifting global marketplace (been hearing more and more about BRIC lately, haven’t we?), a battered worldwide economy, and a newly-cynical consumer who will likely remain that way for a while, it is no wonder that brand marketers are screaming from the mountain tops: “Find my customers and get me as close as possible to them!!!”
Talk about an opportunity.
By leveraging the online tool kit, the value of Live Communications has increased exponentially—identifying customers, creating desire, driving traffic, measuring effectiveness, incubating leads and, most important, expanding the brand community.
Brand Radiance = Results
This potent one-two punch delivers far-reaching impact—what we call “Brand Radiance”—that is quantified in across-the-board jumps we see in awareness, purchase intent, measures such as Net Promoter Score, and directly attributable transactions.
Disciplines such as word-of-mouth marketing are also playing prominent roles in the Live Communications mix as marketers realize the power of a back-to-the-future world where the face-to-face encounter (made possible, ironically, by technology) is the most potent selling tool.
As clients continue to struggle with what type of marketing partner will help them build vital Brand Community moving forward, and as agencies of all types (including advertising, direct response, and digital) race to prove they are best suited to get brands closer to customers, those of us who create Live Communications--and the client-side marketers who have experienced its value--need to remember a very important fact.
We are already there.
So gather ‘round the campfire.
And make the most of it.