Food brands no longer need to wait for the summer months with their festivals and crowded city centers to interact with their audiences. At Home experiences bring engagement and trial opportunities to everyone’s living room, says Vaughan Edmonds, planner at global brand experience agency Sense.
The events of this year 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 our marketing.
In particular, a global lockdown wasn’t great news for the types of environments traditionally associated with brand experiences, which have become an increasingly important part of food brands’ marketing strategies – festivals, events, crowded high streets, bustling shopping centers and commuter hubs. However, the past six months have taught us a great deal about the art of brand experiences.
We’ve learned that brand experiences were never really about the environments they took place within. They are about people – brands augmenting their lives to make the every day a little more exciting. Just because the people weren’t on the streets didn’t mean the show couldn’t go on.
It doesn’t take the latest in-depth webinar series to know where people have gone. It turns out we’re adaptable. Rather than turning our back on the activities that were once only possible outside of our front doors, we’ve brought our favorite past times into our homes.
We’ve seen a global increase in intent for activities such as cooking (+54%), at-home entertainment (+40%), and home improvement (+22%) (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 (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 (Shopify).
These changes in behavior have created a range of unexpected new challenges for food brands. The issues range from the very broad to the very specific. For many brands, product trial is the cornerstone of their marketing strategy. With the dramatic reduction in footfall in environments like commuter hubs and events, these brands now face the challenge of sampling efficiently and effectively. For others, engagement may be the foundation of their approach. Content only goes so far – some brands need tangible interactions rather than passive absorption.
The good news is solutions do exist for food brands facing these sorts of challenges. Innovation is occurring that represents the immediate future for brand experiences and all the benefits they bring. Successful experiences can be activated in any environment.
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