The word “immerse” is defined as being deeply involved in a particular activity or interest. Immersive marketing is the magic of creating a 360-degree experience that allows consumers to interact with your brand offline – using all five of their senses.
When Insomnia Cookies needed a new way to reinvigorate and engage their customers and deepen brand loyalty, they held PJ Parties at their locations. This provided college students (their target audience) with a fun event to attend with their friends, created buzz and excitement and was a great opportunity for attendees to share photos and videos of the event on social media, spreading the news (and brand) even further. It’s now an annual event.
By engaging all five senses, people feel more emotionally connected to your brand and will associate specific memories, textures, scents and even sounds to your company. When planning your immersive experience, every detail should be intentionally designed and purposefully curated for your audience.
It has been proven that the brain responds strongly to colors and shapes. Your logo, website, ads, social media content and email marketing are all very important elements. But that’s only step one. Visual brand consistency should be strong offline too. When your brand ambassadors are interacting with the public, branded shirts, vehicle/car wraps, billboards and handouts need to be memorable and engaging.
The Netflix tudum. You heard the sound in your mind when you read that, didn’t you? That is a perfect example of auditory branding. Music, phrases, sound cues and even voices (hey, Siri…) make sound a powerful memory tool. Use sound to engage people in your marketing and promotions efforts. When your consumers visit your location or you host a fundraising night, be intentional about the sounds you want your audiences to associate with your brand.
The feeling of the warm sun on your skin, the softness of a silk sheet, the weight of your cellphone in your hand, the prickly cold first plunge into the pool… We interact with the world around us through touch. When you design a printed collateral or swag, think about texture. When you have a table at an event (like Firefly or Coachella), set up interactive activities to draw people in, curate photo opportunities for visitors to share on their socials (and tag you!) and distribute branded goodies for them to take home. The possibilities are endless.
“People often say that the sense of smell conjures up memories so well that they feel as if they were experiencing the event again,” says Theresa L. White, PhD, professor and chair in the department of psychology at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. Candles, essential oils, fresh baked cookies and even natural scents like fresh cut grass bring up powerful memories and can even influence a person’s mood.
Eating is a social activity that both excites and bonds people (do we need to bring up Insomnia Cookies again?). Food and drinks are an important part of any event and is an added draw for people to attend. Whether it’s an annual dinner for a non-profit, a sip-n-paint for an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, a patient appreciation BBQ for a healthcare provider or a holiday party for a public relations firm, don’t even think about bypassing the menu when creating your immersive experience. Get creative and make your cuisine unforgettable!
In a world where most of our interactions occur on a smartphone (overloading our visual and auditory senses), people are starving for well-rounded, tactile stimulation. The race for tech companies to dominate the VR and augmented reality industry is confirmation that people are eager for deeper encounters. Implementing consistent, tactile touchpoints into your 2023 business strategy is how you’ll stand out from your competition.
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