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Brand building through experience

Last year was marked by major brand sponsorships during the Olympics and Euro 2012 and now more brands are looking for ways to make an impression on consumers, beyond the standard direct advertising. However, while trying to engage consumers with compelling content, brands risk overdoing things, Marketing Week warns.

Marketing today is about creating experiences. Even though alternative campaigns may not reach as many consumers, they are more effective because consumers find niche campaigns more enjoyable to take part in and to share. One example of a successful experience was the launch of the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820, in which the company created a sound and light show in an entire street in Southwark, London, in November 2012. The brand only allowed 500 people to witness the event but it was also streamed live to 2,000 people at a Brixton nightclub.

Adam Johnson, head of consumer marketing at Nokia, explained the brand's choice of campaign by stating that Nokia wanted to respond to the big, flashy advertising of its competitors during the Olympic Games by offering something completely different – a more underground and sophisticated experience that would only be available to a small number of consumers.

Of course, experience does not have to be accessible only to a few chosen ones. Heineken, for instance, has taken on a different approach. In the year when it celebrated its 140th anniversary, the Dutch company converted its first brewery into a Heineken Experience museum, which offers visitors a beer and a look into the brand's past, present and future. One of the key features of the Heineken Experience is a video screen consisting of 5,000 green Heineken bottles lit with LEDs, where visitors can send in posts and pictures via social media.

The bottom line is that brands need to be creative and innovative when providing users with an experience, and the experience should not put the entire emphasis on the brand itself but rather on create a long-lasting impression in consumers, Marketing Week notes.

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