The time and space for brand experience

A guest column from Martine Eveille, borad account director, Arc UK

I attended a talk by an inspiring speaker – Howard Saunders, founder of Echochamber  – which led me to think about just how much involvement is needed from a consumer when interacting with a brand experience?  In a world where brand engagement is ever more complex and competitive, are we looking simply for brand contacts, or should we strive for brand advocates?

Saunders talked us through his top tips for promoting experience in retail and one in particular struck a chord when thinking about brand experience. Time.

He told us to “give consumers Einstein time” – time to absorb and enjoy the experience that we are bringing them. He argued that it’s about allowing consumers the time to discover the message in their own time, rather than providing a quick hit.

With Saunders mantra in mind, a truly successful experiential campaign should therefore allow consumers to take as much or as little time as we need to enjoy the content of the campaign. Obviously, there is a place for campaigns that are about lower interaction and high volume contacts but with the complexity of messaging that we see more frequently from today’s brands, we need to ensure that our consumers have time to absorb, not just the lead messages, but the little details that we work so hard to include.

An example points to Dishoom a pop-up for an Indian restaurant which is in residence on the Southbank. It exists to feed and hydrate the population and bring a little touch of India to London. At the same time however, it also exists to allow consumers to kick back, relax and take some time enjoying the moment, the tunes, the sunshine, and the sand between their toes. They understand that it is about the experience not just the number of contacts.

In the same vein, one of our recent campaigns for Kenco Millicano included a mock living room, with tables and chairs available for consumers to take all the time they wanted to really immerse themselves in the environment and enjoy the product. It was more than dwell time; the campaign gave the consumer consideration time.

This leads to a question, as experiential marketers, how do we ensure the fine balance between achieving robust deliverables and a deeper experience? Is it as simple as entertaining the children for the duration so that parents have some time to themselves? Is it providing seating for consumers to take in their surroundings? Is it as brave as paring down the message to allow consumers to take in the most important communication? Or simply as demonstrating that some things are worth waiting for?

At Arc, we think it’s important to find the right balance and create time and space for consumers to enjoy our experiences; actually proving to them that any time they do spend interacting with brands will benefit them in more ways than just receiving a free sample. It gives them some ‘me time’ and it gives our brands true advocates not just contacts.

We need to be brave and help our clients to do the same to ensure that ambassadors are created.

Martine Eveille, is a Board Account Director at Arc UK

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