Consumers are investing less in material goods and more in experiences — often as a way to disengage from their devices and interact with people in the real world.

It’s no surprise that people long for in-person connections with others who share their passions. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports that young adults who spend the most time on social media are twice as likely to experience perceived social isolation. Thankfully, brands have a unique opportunity to build experiences that bring people together.

Brand experiences build memories, community, and loyalty in a way that traditional advertising cannot. People are so saturated with advertisements that banner blindness — a phenomenon that causes consumers to ignore banner ads they see on the internet — is the norm. Traditional ads provide no emotional connection or entertainment value (and have become almost irrelevant), but experiential marketing can bring people together to create lasting memories.

Breaking Through Ad Clutter

Memorable live experiences allow brands to differentiate themselves from companies focused on traditional advertising. Here are three ways experiential marketing will help your brand stand out:

1. Build trust by engaging directly with consumers.

When was the last time you had a two-way dialogue with an advertisement? Probably never. Brand experiences, on the other hand, provide opportunities for consumers to engage with a product or service in ways that allow for education, discussion, and feedback.

For example, early childhood education provider KinderCare created a pop-up experience with its traveling Tiny Schoolhouse. KinderCare showcased the schoolhouse at local county fairs and zoos to attract consumers within specific communities. The experiences engaged parents, allowed toddlers to explore the environment, and displayed the company’s approach to education and its brand promise, “Confidence for Life.” The Tiny Schoolhouse gave parents a view into the KinderCare teaching methodology, providing a measure of comfort with the brand.

2. Offer personalized experiences that engage your ideal consumers.

Traditional advertising often serves ads to the masses, but modern consumers want personalization. When consumers see an irrelevant ad, they lose attention. To combat this, experiential marketing builds experiences that will engage consumers — melding interests with product knowledge in relevant and intriguing ways.

AT&T and DC Comics, for instance, hosted a pop-up Batman experience at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. The Batman Experience, an interactive memorabilia museum, was open to the public — no elusive Comic-Con badge needed. With hundreds of Batman props from film and television, including Michael Keaton’s batsuit and the Batmobile, it was the ideal attraction for comic fans. The pop-up also included a virtual reality experience and video games that highlighted AT&T’s premium content, direct-to-consumer offerings, and high-speed network capabilities.

3. Create lasting impressions that go beyond the experience.

Successful and meaningful brand experiences go beyond creating shareable content via an Instagram-worthy backdrop. Consumers should want to share their experiences because they had an amazing, memorable time.

According to the Sitel Group, 49% of consumers who have a good experience with a brand will leave a positive review online or on social media, encouraging others to participate. These consumers post about their interactions and share reviews because they value the related brands and want to share their experiences.

An illustration of this trend was the L.L.Bean 2019 pop-up summer tour across several U.S. cities. Hosting backyard campsites, Bootmobile visits, and outdoor discovery programs allowed the brand to bring the great outdoors to concrete jungles. The “S’more Out of Summer” campaign provided fun and photo-worthy opportunities for people to camp and make s’mores. Consumers were introduced to the L.L.Bean camping line while relaxing with family and friends in a unique setting — and they were happy to share on social media.

Most people don’t remember the last advertisement they saw or clicked, but they undoubtedly recall the last time they had a notable brand experience. The key for brands is finding ways to stay relevant and get in front of appropriate audiences. If you can bring consumers together for an incredible shared experience, it’s a win-win for all.

Interested in learning more about experiential marketing? Download my company’s whitepaper to learn more about the latest trends in the experiential world.