What are At Home Brand Experiences and why are they becoming more popular?
The events of 2020 have created change across the globe at a rate unprecedented in modern times. The way we live our lives has fundamentally changed and these shifts have had immediate implications on the future of experiential. A global lockdown emptied the types of environments brand experiences traditionally thrive within – festivals, events, crowded high streets and bustling shopping centres. However, just because people weren’t in these locations didn’t mean the show couldn’t go on for experiences and sampling in lockdown. Experiential was never really about the environments it took place within. It is about people – brands augmenting their lives to make the everyday a little more exciting.
Rather than turning our back on the activities that were once only possible outside of our front doors, we’ve brought our favourite past times into our homes. We’ve seen a global increase in intent for activities such as for cooking (+54%), at-home entertainment (+40%) and home improvement (+22%) (source – McKinsey). Zoom’s daily user base grew from 10 million to 200 million in the three months over lockdown as more of us were forced to work away from our offices (source – McKinsey). There has been an 18% increase in e-commerce use in the UK for products normally bought in-store as a result of COVID-19 (source – Shopify). These changes in behaviour have created a range of unexpected challenges for brands.
Why are brands investing in At Home Brand Experiences?
The issues range from the very broad to the very specific. For some brands, product trial may be the cornerstone of a marketing strategy. With the dramatic reduction in footfall in environments like commuter hubs and events, these brands now face the challenge sampling efficiently using door to door sampling or non face to face sampling. There may be brands who have launched new DTC channels during the pandemic and want to support their new venture.
For other brands, engagement may be the foundation of their approach. Content only goes so far – some brands need tangible interactions via at home experiences rather than passive absorption via content. Then there are the brands with specific problems that seem almost impossible to overcome in the current climate. For example, the market for on-the-go products bought in convenience stores between the tube station and the office. How can we address this most specific of problems? The good news is solutions do exist for brands with these sorts of issue. Innovation is occurring that represents the immediate future for brand experiences and all the benefits that come with it.
What sort of At Home Experiences are possible?
Depending on the product and the brand problem, the more popular formats include;
Virtual Tasting Sessions
Popular with Food and drinks brands are using these to showcase products, educate customers and drive new occasions, such as Malfy Gin’s Masterclass in partnership with Pasta Evangelists.
These are often stunt based with a small direct audience but a wider secondary reach via PR or social, such as Papa John’s Carnival themed pizza deliveries over the usual Notting Hill Carnival weekend.
Community and Localised Events
Bringing experiences to small targeted audiences such as Blue Bunny’s Ice Screen Truck, delivering driveway movie screenings across America to digital competition winners.
At Home Sampling
Various means of generating product trial in the home using techniques such as; Social and Digital sampling via platforms such as Instagram or voice activated devices. Physical Door drops where products are delivered to highly targeted customers. Insertion in existing DTC deliveries such as retail deliveries, meal kits and takeaways are popular lower cost, higher volume methods of generating product sampling at home.
At Home Brand Experiences – 5 Top Tips
Experiences were never about the environments they took place within but more about capturing the potential customer in the right mindset to engage with your brands product or service. The last few months have seen brands focussing their attention on the home to great effect. But what makes a great brand experiences at home? Outlined below are five key tips for brands to remember when activating in living rooms up and down the land.
1. Remember the difference between experience and content
Experience and content are not the same thing. Experiences are powerful because they involve an interaction. The act of slicing up our own garnish, dressing up our living rooms and applying our own make-up is so much more memorable than watching someone else doing it.
2. Social amplification is essential
In the past, the question for every brand experience was how to increase the reach for something taking place in the physical world. At Home experiences rely on social amplification and it has never been easier for brands to include more people in their experiences. Hundreds of people tuned in live for the PizzaExpress x Fever-Tree Mixing Masterclass. The convenience of an experience taking place in your living room makes it far more accessible. The key for brands is understanding which social channels and influencers will increase reach as effectively as possible.
3. Think about an occasion to align with
Marketing is all about building associations. To build habits (and ultimately increase sales), At Home experiences should align with a natural consumption moment in the home. With us spending more of our time at home, the opportunities for brands to align with have grown. Take exercise for example. At the start of 2020, few could predict that half the nation would be leaping around their gardens to a 9:00am Joe Wicks HIIT class by April. The change in behaviour presents an opportunity for many brands that would never normally be consumed in the home. This is how we can change perceptions and how products naturally consumed on-the-go could begin to become relevant in people’s lives again.
4. Consider your marketing objectives
Brand experiences are a powerful tool if used strategically. They can be used to deliver a plethora of different marketing objectives. In general, experiences can be used to grow awareness and consideration whereas product trial can be used to build association and drive immediate sales. When planning a campaign, especially an experience, try to build a strategic roadmap. What does our audience currently think about our brand? What do we want them to think instead? How can our experience be designed to changed those perceptions and show the brand in a new light?
5. Idea first, format second
Experiential is a flexible marketing discipline. The possibilities for an experiential activation are endless and the best marketing is distinctive and original. Just because your competitor did a comedy gig live over Zoom doesn’t mean you should do the same. There are a multitude of ways a brand can augment and improve the At Home experience. Trust the creatives to build something unique.
Despite a turbulent few months, this winter may be one of the most exciting in recent memory for the brand experience industry. A few brands have pioneered the At Home experience movement, innovation that was necessary regardless of a global pandemic. Brands no longer need to wait for the summer months with their festivals and crowded city centres to interact with their audiences. The opportunity to engage with consumers in their homes exists. For those willing to grab that opportunity, the chance to stand out from the crowd and drive brand advocacy is enormous.
Sense has developed an industry leading methodology for running At Home brand experience and trial campaigns. We can show you how to align your product with a perfect at home context, create an experience that puts a creative idea before a tired format and use our world-class targeting tools to reach exactly the right audience.
To find out how we can help drive measurable results for your brand at home, don’t hesitate to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org