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Blending the virtual with real life – a cohesive marketing experience

December 2023

Malibu at Elrow London July 2023

In today’s fast-paced and digitally driven world, marketing has evolved to include a symphony of real-life and virtual experiences. Brands are no longer confined to the boundaries of either a physical or digital campaign but can extend their reach by creating a blend of online and digital experiences that complement each other cohesively, nurturing relationships with prospects and further cementing a brand experience

Brand experiences that can combine virtual/digital with live can captivate audiences both online and offline. By seamlessly weaving an experiential marketing campaign with the digital world to create a multichannel brand experience, you can leave a lasting impression, foster stronger connections, brand loyalty, and ultimately, business success.

In the age of data, it’s not just about the experience itself but how effectively you leverage the digital landscape to understand and enhance it. So in this blog post, we’ll explore how to master the art of a cohesive brand experience that encapsulates real life and online experiences. 

The power of the multichannel brand experience

According to a study by Kantar, brands offering stronger experiences are 2.5 times more likely to significantly grow their market share. In a landscape where customer expectations evolve, maintaining consistency across all channels is crucial. Innovative and immersive experiences must be integral to a brand’s strategy to remain both consistent and relevant.

Experiential marketing campaigns have the power to become unforgettable brand experiences that enable brands to influence positive behaviour change in their consumers while forging deep and meaningful connections with their audiences. According to Zipdo, 57% of consumers expect companies to provide consistent experiences on every channel and 72% of consumers say they would prefer to connect with business via a multichannel approach.

In today’s landscape, consumers expect brands to engage with them both online and offline. Pre or post-brand experience, consumers can be engaged through a multitude of channels online to either promote the event or post-engagement. A cohesive and immersive campaign can foster stronger connections with your audience, leading to brand loyalty and increased customer retention.

The Las Vegas Sphere

Credit: Harold Litwiler from Orcutt/Istanbul, USA

The Vegas Sphere: Redefining Experiential Architecture

The Vegas Sphere provides a great insight into the future of this element of cohesive experiential campaigns. 

Dominating the skyline, the Sphere is not just a monumental construction but a visionary structure designed for immersive experiences. It symbolises the future of brand experience, transcending traditional boundaries.

By day and night, the sphere’s exterior is brought to life with animations and imagery, adapting to the season or occasion. For example, transforming into a snow globe during Christmas, seamlessly blending physical and digital realms.

This architectural marvel goes beyond the visual, integrating technology to immerse visitors in real-life experiences. As virtual reality becomes ubiquitous, we anticipate more constructions mirroring the sphere’s capabilities—projecting brand imagery, simulations, or live events to elevate the consumer experience.

The venue even has haptic seats that synchronise with on-screen events and 4D machines. These can add to the real-life experience by creating wind, temperature, and even scents that help bring an experience to life. The Vegas Sphere pioneers technology that is still in its early stages of development. We’ve only scratched the surface of its immense potential.

For brands today wanting to enhance the experiential experience they deliver, it’s important to leverage technology innovations and the data it affords us, to provide the most memorable, and meaningful experiences.


Unlocking the Power of Data

In the realm of experiential marketing, data capture plays a pivotal role in extending the impact beyond physical events. 

Armed with accurate consumer preferences and purchase history, brands can tailor their marketing and communications. Whether through personalised discounts, offers, or advice, a customised experience fosters a sense of exclusivity, enhancing customer loyalty and emotional connection.

Data gleaned from online activities also empowers in-store teams to offer a personalised experience. Many brands now use a seamless integration where information from loyalty schemes shapes a unique and tailored in-store experience for the individual.

Considerations for amplifying brand cohesion:

  • Ensure brand ambassadors and online customer service staff are all briefed on your company ethos, values and tone of voice so that they work to convey the business in the same way. A lack of consistency here can be damaging, especially for those who are interacting through both channels. If brand ambassadors appear friendly, personable and helpful, but online customer service staff convey a different persona, this can greatly impair the experience of the consumer, and be detrimental to your brand’s reputation. An event should be meticulously designed to align with the brand’s identity and values. The branding, messaging, and overall experience reflect the brand’s personality and mission.
  • An online hashtag that is promoted and used throughout the event will help to align all digital content that is associated with the event. As well as encouraging and incentivising audiences to use this hashtag, it will increase the volume of user-generated content while increasing visibility and engagement across online channels.
  • A dedicated landing page exclusively for the event’s hero product or service will allow you to gather valuable metrics as to how successful the event has been. This can be used as the primary call to action for all events and online promotions associated with this particular hero product or service. 
  • Consider using your data to personalise an experience or individuals, especially those who’ve purchased previously from you. 

Crafting a memorable, multichannel experience is not only vital for the success of the brand experience but also allows you to gain valuable insights and metrics that can help further propel your marketing strategy. The blending of physical and digital activity allows you to cast your net wider and gather significant metrics that will inform you of the success of your event.

Brand experiences can take various forms, including product launches, pop-up shops, trade shows, exhibitions, conferences, and cultural activations. Executing them in isolation without a multichannel approach is a sure way to lose both money and time. You can have the best brand experience campaign in the world but if you neglect online activity, you are sure to miss out on consumer engagement and loyalty. 

Brand experience is not just an afterthought; it must take centre stage in your marketing and innovation strategy. In the face of evolving expectations and fierce competition, a cohesive experience demands consistent and coherent strategies that resonate meaningfully both offline and online. Aligning your brand with the future starts with embracing innovation at every touchpoint.

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