How many times have you heard the phrases “the new normal” or “in this uncertain time?” These have become part of our daily conversations both in our professional and personal lives. At this point, you may skim over them, not even realizing you’ve read them once again.

As the world becomes numb to these messages, digital marketers struggle to cut through the noise and reach their audience. How can brands create a memorable experience for their audience to capture their attention now and post-pandemic?

Before the pandemic, research from PwC found 59% of global consumers felt companies had lost touch with the human element of the customer experience. Today, human connection is even harder to foster as individuals navigate brand experiences solely from a digital medium.

Companies looking to make a connection with consumers must shift to a digital environment where they deliver information that is easily digestible and memorable while remaining empathetic to today’s environment. This also goes for events shifting to virtual experiences. It may be intimidating for brands to imagine shifting their entire marketing strategy to be online, but a little creativity goes a long way. There are two important factors to consider when shifting to an online strategy.

Leverage experiential content 

Many businesses have been forced to accelerate their digital transformation efforts, basically overnight. To successfully do this, organizations must adopt flexible digital tools to help them survive and thrive in the current climate. Companies who fail to do so risk losing time, money and, most importantly, customers. 

With the majority of the globe working from home, digital marketing is one area organizations can adjust their strategy and invest in tools that help them better meet the needs of their customers. To truly capture the audience’s attention and create a meaningful experience, brands are turning to experiential content that is purposefully designed to create a lasting and compelling impression. In a world where your online presence is your only presence, failing to create a memorable digital experience could destroy your business. 

Shifting your marketing strategy

Digital marketing has never been more competitive or complicated than it is today. By leveraging experiential content, brands can connect with their audiences to improve overall engagement using visually-compelling components like graphics, interactive content and videos. As things begin slowly returning to normal, brands putting this approach at the forefront of their marketing strategy have a greater opportunity to remain connected with their audience and continue developing relationships.

An example of a company successfully using experiential content is GumGum, an artificial intelligence company focused on computer vision. The company executed nearly 275 events last year, making up nearly 70% of its marketing strategy.

With the interruption of the global pandemic, GumGum had to adjust its marketing strategy — basically overnight — to deliver a virtual experience in place of in-person events. It could no longer rely on music, fancy cocktails and giveaways to engage and attract attendees in-person.

GumGum had to find another way to interact with their usual attendees and adjust their event experience to create a digital experience. With experiential content creation at the forefront of its marketing strategy, GumGum was able to deliver a virtual experience to its audience that still allowed its brand to make human connections.

Whether you are looking to take your event strategy virtual or you’re simply looking to increase customer engagement, experiential content can be used to grab your audience’s attention and retain it through to the call to action. Most importantly, it cuts through the noise by providing a great experience versus an experience that’s frankly forgettable.

It can be used to create a compelling message to prospects making their way through the sales funnel, creating touchpoints that can ultimately influence their decision-making and guide them to choose your brand over your competitors. No matter how you choose to integrate experiential content, it’s essential to remember that the experience doesn’t stop once the pandemic ends. Marketers must continue to develop experiences that align with their audience’s interests and their current environment — now and post-pandemic.

We never imagined a global pandemic would force us to shift our marketing strategies overnight. For many businesses, this time has caused them to rethink how they engage with customers. In a time of crisis, companies have no other choice than to implement experiential content. As we continue to adapt to our, dare I say it — new normal — experiential marketing allows brands to create compelling and easily digestible content in a time when we need it most. 

About the Author: Ryan Brown is head of brand strategy at Ceros where he leads brand marketing efforts. Ryan is a frequent thinker and speaker on creative strategy and all things experiential. His previous marketing and brand experience efforts has included work for Amazon, NFL, DreamWorks Animation, Hulu, Lincoln Motor Company, Madison Square Garden, HubSpot, Capital One, HGTV, and others.

Image sources:

PwC Future of Customer Experience Survey 2017/18

Ceros (2020), The Guide to Experiential Content 2nd Edition, https://resources.ceros.com/guide-to-experiential-content/p/1

Ceros/GumGum (2020), 5 Essentials to Stay Connected with Us, https://view.ceros.com/ceros-inspire/essentials/p/1