Go Beyond Activation With Brand Adventures

April 21, 2017

Have you ever met someone representing your customers who asked to be taken on a customer journey? Did you ever hear someone other than marketing professionals who were craving some brand activation? I bet the chances are very slim.

Why not challenge yourself and your brand to create something really exciting for your audience as their next brand experience. Invite them to join you in the next level of experiential branding, the brand adventure.

However, before we aimlessly head all excited into the woods, let us define a common understanding of what the meaning of adventure is as a fundamental part of an immersive, engaging brand experience.

If you want people to experience an adventure, it needs to take them outside of their comfort zone, expose them to risks, and send them on an emotional roller-coaster ride. As is (usually) the case with the roller-coaster experience, the danger is not necessarily real, and the ride may only last for a few minutes.

You know what makes a great experience? It is not only the nice, safe, cute things, but things that made enough of an impression to make a lasting impact. And your goal in creating a brand adventure is to create a memorable, shareable experience.

‘There Should Be A Tear’

If you are a marketing professional who is used to evoking happy feelings, and have become experienced in avoiding any kind of negativity or possible controversy, you may know that stepping into this arena also presents a series of pitfalls.

However, you will also need to recognise the possible drawbacks of only presenting shiny, happy people and not putting a dynamic narrative to good use. In doing so, things often simply end up being perceived as superficial, artificial, and boring in the hearts and minds of your audience.

You may or you may not like Walt Disney, but it is hard to ignore his impact on popular culture around the world. He once phrased a great embodiment of the dynamic needed in a classic story. “For every laugh, there should be a tear” is a simple, yet great reminder about the power of narrative dynamics for anyone working to reach and engage with people.

Just think about it for a minute.

Getting Started

Let us agree for the matter of argument that you are now ready and willing to move beyond business-as-usual marketing communications and challenge yourself and your audience with a brand adventure. By the way, you should be applauded for doing this. To many marketers, it will be a bold move. Luckily, there are a few general guidelines that can help you in this leap forward in experiential marketing to make certain that you do not lose your way.

To get started as a brand adventure creator, start by asking yourself these key questions:

What are the brand message and values that you want people to experience?

This is your anchoring point for what should happen as part of your brand adventure. You may need help from someone who is capable of translating your brand message or values into an experience. 

Who is your audience, and what are they willing to do?

Welcome to the wonderful world of creative experience design, where you will need to consider what you can ask of your audience.

What will be your element of danger, real or not?

This is key to creating an adventure, and to enabling your participating audience or your brand to become a hero.

Where and when will you present your brand adventure?

If it is for a limited time or a limited audience, then how do you make certain you can achieve a certain reach to those who are not there? Also, how do you get the most out of the context your brand adventure will be set in?

What will you need to create an extraordinary setting?

This is an important part of the adventure, and, even if you have only a corner, you should find a way to create an exciting space.

What kind of technologies and specialists will you need?

If you think you can do everything yourself, chances are you are not pushing your brand adventure enough, or you are in for a bad surprise when things go live.

What kind of measurable ROI are you aiming for?

You can set up a whole host of KPIs that are measurable, and it is surprising that many professionals do not apply this to their experiential, event, and conference activities.

What can go wrong, and how do you proactively address bad situations?

Design for errors and address real risks proactively—it’s better to be great at risk management than being forced into damage control mode.

Finally, do not forget to have some fun exploring what your brand can become to your audience. After all, you have just begun your own adventure into the next dimension of brand experience design.