If you asked your grandmother what advertising is, the first thing she might think of is a television advert or a poster on the street. Although that’s often the basis for a campaign, brands now have to give more of themselves on many more platforms. The way brands advertise has changed considerably, for the better. Brand effectiveness results in connecting emotionally to the customer with stimulating storytelling, which ultimately gains loyalty and trust. This is harder to achieve with just a billboard and a 30 second ad; it simply isn’t engaging enough. So how do you resonate in this digital age?
The way brands reach out to their customers has become more engaging in recent years. It’s interesting to see successful and well-established brands such as Burberry, Levi’s and Vans (to name a few) who are developing experiential and immersive ideas that work in harmony with their proposition and brand values.
One of the market leaders is, of course, Nike. Here we have a company that has a culture etched so deeply into their brand DNA that their customers all over the world are loyal for life. Just one of the many customer experiences Nike have produced over the years is a very successful concept called Nike Training Club (or NTC). It’s an enchanting idea encouraging customers to be active and get involved in the Nike culture, without having to pay for a thing. If you ‘like’ NTC on Facebook, you can book yourself into free (yes, free) classes all over London, including sprint classes, exercise classes, running club and yoga, which take place within their stores (see images). It’s just a simple way to immerse the customer in the brand online and offline, while staying true to Nike’s core values and ultimately generating revenue.
Another successful brand engaging with its customers offline as well as online are Vans, who this summer launched 'House of Vans' in the Waterloo tunnels near Southbank. It is the physical manifestation of the culture that has defined Vans from day one. This is a space that allows people to connect with the ‘Off The Wall’ spirit of the brand, and engage with art, music and skateboarding throughout the summer months. Situated in an area that resonates so deeply with skateboarding, House Of Vans is inspiring for all types of people and is a huge success already in its first few weeks (see launch clip here). It is a delicate balance to strike particularly in wake of the recent campaign against knocking down the Southbank Undercroft, which has been put on hold due to the vast amounts of people protesting against it.
So why do brands have to work harder? It’s to keep the trust and loyalty of their customer surely, but also to enrich their lives on multiple platforms and drive engagement. If you create a culture, people will want to be part of it. Ultimately, that’s how we see a successful brand working.