This weekend, I read a wonderful post about how Hershey's Chocolate World - yes, the famous kiss-creating chocolate mogul - is launching a new, completely interactive experience right in the heart of Times Square in New York.
The location is three times the size of its old one, which is pictured here. Rather than just focus on TASTE, the company - who built their brand on giving tours of their facility since the 1920 - is planning to "create new and exciting experiences by connecting fans with what they are smelling, tasting, touching (and even hearing) when it comes to chocolate."
You'd think they'd just focus on TASTE, huh? No. Because their brand is linked to all sorts of sensations conjured up in childhood. The senses of smell, and hearing and touching all play into the brand connection with our inner child.
As you read their plans and watch their tease video, you can see that its superb marketing team plans to push every experiential hot button they can in driving us - particularly the new consumer power-group - millennials - to connect with their product. In fact, the press release touts that the new location will "continue our legacy and showcase our creativity with new, exciting and interactive experiences."
Interactive experiences. The more you engage your audience, the more they can connect with you.
So let's right now fly 30,000 feet, as if we can look at your marketing plan from above. What parts of your plan, your media, your trade show design, your sales message delivery have buyers INTERACTING with your product, EXPERIENCING your service? Sure, Hershey's has CHOCOLATE to experience. You or your customers may have health care or pest extermination or casual furniture or financial services as your product. But that does not mean you can't deliver an experience just as powerful.
The success of great companies today is often in the storytelling they do. The new age storytelling is EXPERIENTIAL for new consumers today. For them to want your product, they have to experience it... or what life is like without it. They want to relate it to THEIR world, THEIR needs, in THEIR way. Through digital and social sharing which is so a part of their world.
As you begin to plan your marketing for 2018, examine what could you do to better involve your customer:
- Which scenarios can your reps convey to paint the picture of what it's like to experience your product or service, different from your competition?
- How can you convey that in a demo or in a theater in your trade show booth?
- How can you engage prospects in simple videos or with meaningful content - beyond just sales flyers or specials - in social media that will become shareable and viral?
And if you're stumped at how... then you might need a marketing pro who can help. (It's what we do!)
I wish you delicious results for your next experience ...
Mary Ellen Sokalski
Diva of Direct Marketing.