In a world where having the best product on the shelf is no longer enough, a sensational brand experience has become the standard to beat.

No brand is an island

Brand experience is the entire ecosystem that exists around a brand or product; the place where consumer need and brand objective overlap. It’s everything: advertising, content, packaging, customer service, events, and (naturally) social presence.

The world of marketing spins at breakneck speed. That killer viral video that kept your Facebook Page alive for months in 2013 would hold your audience’s attention for less than 10 seconds in 2019.

To reach today’s ‘connected consumer’, brands need to offer an always-on experience, allowing the user to easily hop from device to store and back again– without ever breaking the spell.

In practice, this means creating bold visual assets that encapsulate everything the audience loves about the brand. It means streaming live events; engaging with fans in the comments; shoppable Instagram Stories; authentic partnerships with influencers; quirky brand activations; exceptional customer service. Equally strong as standalone assets, each of these forms a piece of the brand experience puzzle– working in harmony with everything else in a fresh and unique way.

At Punch, we’re proud to work with some really exciting, forward-thinking brands that aren’t afraid to push the envelope when it comes to crafting a truly unique experience. With so many brands competing for headspace, what will this mean for audiences going forward?

You spin me right round

“The world is one big round place, and the problem is, we’ve been looking at a cropped view of it for way too long.” (USA Today)

Thanks to advancements in camera technology and algorithms, 360 has become a driving trend in social over the past couple of years.

Just a hop, skip and a jump from virtual reality, a recent study highlights just how effective 360 content is when it comes to performance. Based on 1,000 campaigns, 360 static content was found to boost click-through rates by an incredible 300%. When compared with regular video, 360 video improved video completion rates by 46%.

We’ve been spearheading the 360 trend here at Punch, working with brands like John Lewis, Space NK and River Island to catapult their social offering to the next level. Great Scott! We even got our hands on a genuine DeLorean to create our own Back to the Future-themed shoot.

AR: blast-off

Blasted into the mainstream by Snapchat, augmented reality (AR) is expected to attract 1 billion users by 2020.

Having recently launched AR for brands, we’ve been working with some huge beauty names including Space NK and Benefit to lead the way in this playful, interactive space. To coincide with the release of Benefit’s Brow Contour Pro, we created a fun pop art-inspired filter. Using facial mapping

technology, the filter was designed to redefine ‘the art of the brow’, adding a new dimension to Benefit’s product launch and was one of the first ever beauty effects on Facebook.

Perfectly complementing one another, AR and VR combine to create the ultimate ‘hands-on’ brand experience. This creates a smooth and fluid brand experience that is fresh, bold, creative, and literally puts the product in the consumer’s hands.

The perfect partnership

Thanks to the ASA, today’s influencers are subject to fairly stringent rules when it comes to using their platforms to promote paid content; they now have to clearly state when something is an ad. If an influencer posts with the #ad tag every five seconds (as many of them do), they risk frustrating the audience and diluting the message.

Finding an influencer is only half the battle. Content needs to be authentic and work as part of a wider plan. By defining your specific goals and harnessing influencer content as part of a highly-targeted campaign, the brand experience is enhanced by selling both a product and a lifestyle.

It’s all about you

In the future, brands looking to cut through the noise will need to present information in a way that requires consumer input. Whether that means ramping up your social listening to craft bespoke responses to extend the conversation– with an added sense of humour– or the inclusion of user-generated content that really resonates with your audience, personalisation should be integral to brand identity.

Personalisation needn’t stop at the keyboard. Bringing in bespoke direct marketing campaign or building a profile with customers in-store (make-up brands do it!) can add a welcome element of surprise and delight.

If you want to find out more about 360 content, AR filters and all kinds of other stellar brand experiences, why not get in touch for a chat?