In a world cluttered with advertisements and constant promotional events, advertisers are struggling to make sure that consumers not only see and hear their messages but remember them. At the same time, communicators are striving to build emotional connections with consumers in a manner that is both natural and socially relevant.
To achieve these two goals, brands are beginning to turn to lived experiences as a way to stand out to consumers. In a candid discussion of these ideas, John Wall Street reporter Corey Leff sat down with the Vice President of Anheuser-Busch, João Chueiri, and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) Chief Operating Officer, Russell Silvers, who shared their insights about how to best use experiences and partnerships to build brands.
Traditionally, sponsorship deals do not involve hands on experiences for consumers, but this is a model Chueiri believes we must evolve in the future. Chueiri regularly reminded the audience throughout the conversation that 15 or 20 years from now, few people will remember a brand’s commercials or billboards. Rather, they will vividly remember the experiences they shared with the particular brand.
AEG recently did a remarkable job embodying this new model of sponsorships by partnering with Anheuser-Busch and Budweiser during this year’s Stagecoach Country Music Festival. Silvers explained how Budweiser engaged festival-goers through a digital treasure hunt between performances that encouraged them to explore various areas of the venue. As they moved through the hunt, consumers simultaneously and seamlessly learned the story of Budweiser. According to Silvers, the idea of a treasure hunt worked well because it utilized consumer data, something he said is essential to reach target audiences.
“Data is important because it lets us connect to fans in an organic way,” Silvers said.
But data itself is clearly not enough to get consumers’ attention in today’s world of advertising. In fact, for large brands already visible in society but struggling to hold attention, Chueiri said the most important piece of the puzzle is developing organic emotional connections with consumers.
To illustrate this idea, he discussed Budweiser’s promise via a tweet earlier this year to buy beer for the entire city of Philadelphia if the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. This promise generated massive amounts of social conversation and speculation as to whether or not Budweiser would actually follow through in the end. While Budweiser did end up buying beer for the entire city, Chueiri said natural beginnings and social relevance are what ultimately make marketing ploys of this nature so successful.
“If we’re not part of the social conversation, we cannot be meaningful,” Chueiri said.
For Chueiri and Silvers, the biggest lessons for creating brand experiences revolve around relevancy and the consumer experience. Massive budgets are not always the key to consumer connection, as Chueiri maintained that valuable connections usually grow out of relevant experiences and strong consumer insights. In the end, Silver’s main piece of advice to advertisers was to be sure brand experiences always meet or exceed consumer expectations.
Because in 20 years, while consumers might forget a brand’s week-long social media campaign or 15 second advertisement, they will always remember the real-life moments they experienced with a brand and the emotions they felt.