How to Create an Experiential Media Plan for your Integrated Marketing Efforts

The customer journey is one of building ever-increasing levels of trust. As customers, we only repeat purchases for businesses we trust, so trust is paramount in the success of a business. How do you develop trust? You expose customers to your brand in various ways, which reaffirms your brand promise. 

One way to do this is by developing a fully integrated Media and Marketing Plan that will reach customers in different ways and support your brand’s mission to build awareness and then develop trust. As an Integrated Digital Marketing Agency, the Kool Source specializes in crafting a full, well-rounded approach to attracting and acquiring customers. While our expertise is rooted in digital marketing, we believe that to be truly successful, businesses must engage all of a customer’s senses in order to not only become memorable but to remain top of mind when the customer is ready to purchase.

How can businesses achieve this? Through an Experiential Media and Marketing Plan that ensures your customers See your brand, Hear your brand promise, Watch your brand execute on that promise, and then Experience your brand for themselves.  

See

In order to be considered for purchase, your brand must Be Visible. Where are all of the places your brand shows up? Is that list inclusive of where your customers hang out? It’s one thing to find a brand on social media, but it is another thing when you See a brand on social media as well as on a billboard or in a magazine. The additional locations where people can See your brand reiterate your brand power and potency. Subconsciously, customers will have a deeper level of trust and awareness of a brand that they See multiple times and in multiple locations.

Have you ever Seen a McDonald’s ‘M’? That sign is one of the first things you See before you encounter their brand. It’s big, it’s bright yellow, and it’s prevalent. This is an intentional strategy to make a customer’s choice easier when they are on a street saturated with other eating establishments like Wendy’s, Burger King, Arby’s, and many more. Add in non-fast food restaurants and the competition skyrockets! No wonder they need a big yellow ‘M’ to attract customer’s attention. 

Have you ever Seen a Chick-Fil-A billboard? If your answer is no, then my question is – Where are you and where do you live? I must ask because Chick-Fil-A billboards are everywhere in Atlanta! Their billboards are also prevalent; however, instead of being big and bright yellow, they are black, white, and/or red. They are creative, funny, and larger than life – often with cows falling off the sign or something else that is beyond the scope of the sign size. The visual is branded throughout from the font choice to the intentionally erroneous spelling as if the message was written by the cows themselves.

Every time a customer Sees these branded messages – whether it is a sign, a billboard, or a digital ad – they are reminded that your brand exists. They are encouraged to consider it if they are in a moment of need. Yet, in this world of a billion brands, your message will have to be more than something a customer can just See

Hear

Another way that your customers can encounter your brand is by Hearing it. In the early days of Radio, this was a big deal! Brands offered customers catchy jingles, smooth reassuring promises, and exciting, passionate stories while they listened for hours to a technology that offered no visuals. Although today’s listening activities have evolved and become more fragmented, the power of Sound is still relevant.

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? Currently, mine is “Boss” by The Carters, and it pops into my head without a conscious thought! Is there a jingle you know back and forth, like the one for Blue Bell Ice Cream? Is there a slogan, tagline, joke, or call to action that you know so well you repeat it with them when it comes on? For instance, one of my least favorite, yet most well-known call to actions is the one for 411 Pain. They come up with countless jingles that get you hooked long before you realize it is an ad for when you are in a car accident. It may not be “well-received” but it works! I know the tagline well even though I change the radio each time I hear their ad. Thankfully, there are countless auditory services people can choose to listen to now from Apple Music to Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, YouTube, and many more. Each of these platforms presents an opportunity to insert a memorable, often hard to forget, Sound encounter with your brand.

While the experience of listening to Radio has evolved, Sound is still an extremely powerful branding tool if used well. Ask yourself, does your brand have a custom Sound that helps customers remember your brand when they Hear it? Think about the intro sound before you watch a show on Netflix or the sound your favorite game makes while you play. These sounds, much like our favorite songs, are permanently etched into our subconscious and prime us for the next experience with that brand. A custom sound can even deepen trust with a customer as it consistently reiterates the brand promise in a unique way. 

Now, imagine combining the power of branded visuals with custom Sound. How do you think that will deepen the brand engagement with your future customer? 

 

Watch

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words would a Video be worth? I imagine a million, if not more.

When a customer Watches a brand video, they are granted the opportunity to witness a fuller, richer, more dynamically complex brand encounter, usually in the form of a story. This story offers higher emotional impact, relatability to what is being shown on screen, and deeper context about how to integrate the brand, product, or service into their life. 

Between the physical words used and the themes shown that can be further expressed in words, there are millions of micro-moments and messages being conveyed in videos. These messages range from “Who is this product right for” to “How can this product or service be used in the real world?” 

As customers prepare to make purchasing decisions, more and more are turning to video to gain a better impression of the brand they are considering. In this way, they can Watch how others interact with the brand and how the brand adds value to their life. Since videos utilize both imagery and Sound to create a dynamic brand encounter, customers feel an increased sense of trustworthiness from Watching videos. However, as marketers perfected the craft of strategically developing advertising videos in the form of commercials, customers became wiser and more particular in what they are willing to believe. That is why there is a rise in organic and user-generated content. The idea is that customers want to See and Hear the real story behind the brand, in addition to the one that was masterfully crafted. 

Have you ever Watched a video on YouTube that was just stock photos and Sound? While the Sound is captivating, the still imagery doesn’t feel as powerful as moving images. Now, how do you feel when you Watch a Nike video on YouTube where they have expertly paired custom Sound to powerful, branded visuals? And finally, how about when you see winter holiday ads like the ones created by Pepsi or Coca-Cola? Each of these videos evokes a different level of emotion for your customers. Choosing the right style of video for your brand is critical to ensuring that the level of trust increases, so that your customers feel more comfortable choosing to purchase your product or service. Because once they do so, then they are ready and primed to fully Experience your brand.

 

Experience

Experience embodies tangible and physical interactions with your brand. This ranges from tasting a Chef’s Special of the Night to walking into a clean, well-organized grocery store. Although every touchpoint is important in helping your customers build trust and develop a brand preference, Experience often has the deepest, most profound effect on your customers. Given that we as humans typically remember the first and last of something more powerful than moments in the middle, your ideal Experiential Media and Marketing Plan will often place powerful Experiences at the beginning and end of the customer journey.

Do you remember reading high-end fashion magazines? Whether it was Vogue or GQ, you were visually transported into a brand story that was softly lined with Experience as it allowed you to touch a piece of the Brand Magic. Do you also remember the perfume and cologne samples that came in those magazines? Usually, they are folded into the brochure or available on a perforated tear-out next to a full-page ad about the perfume or cologne. As a kid, I remember taking out the best ones and rubbing them onto my skin. This enabled me to have a deeper Experience with the brand and it allowed me to share that Experience with others. 

Now if you had to guess, which brand would make more sales? The brand with a full-page visual ad that you simply See or the one with the free sample that you can Experience? You guessed it! The brand with the free sample! This fact demonstrates the importance of continuing to build trust on an increasingly deeper level with your customers to help guide them along your sales journey.

When you put all of these pieces together – See, Hear, Watch, and Experience – you will have before you a truly Integrated Sales and Marketing Plan for your brand or business. This powerful plan ensures that you have various brand messages and encounters that help you Get Visible, Get Found, and Get Paid!

For more information on how your brand or business can get Visible, Found, and Paid, contact our team at The Kool Source and we will help put together an Experiential Media and Marketing Plan to reach your customers, deepen their trust, and hopefully gain their business.

Kema Hodge
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