As a brand, a key objective is to be remembered by the consumer. The first two numbers cover the most common ways consumers are exposed to brands. Brands need to understand that growing in the current market is no longer just about getting your brand noticed, but by getting customers to engage with it. Engagement fosters human connection, and this connection is what powers growth.
If you have been on Tinder in the past month, you might have come across the faces of actors Zac Efron and Adam Devine. While their profiles operated under the names of their characters in their newest film, Mike and David Need Wedding Dates, their faces are familiar. The excitement of finding Zac Efron on a dating app might have prompted smitten users to swipe right, before realizing that the profile was only a promotion for the aforementioned film. If users did swipe right, they were given a chance to enter a sweepstakes to meet the two brothers that the film is based on.
20th Century Fox is not the only brand to have partnered with Tinder as a means of engaging consumers. Domino’s Pizza, for example, looked to the platform to reach its audience. This past Valentine’s Day, users had the option to swipe left or right for Domino’s. Those who swiped right were entered into a lottery to win free pizza. Domino’s made over 700 Tinder matches, with a potential reach of 700,000. They tapped into a new cultural aspect of Valentine’s Day, giving singles a distraction and starting a lighthearted conversation with audiences. The success shows that individuals felt their needs were understood by Domino’s, and their decision to swipe shows the brand made a connection.
These brands have not only found a way to make themselves present in people’s lives—beyond billboards, print ads, and even digital ads on the corner of a computer screen—they’ve found a new way to interact with consumers. In just a moment, users have to decide to either say “yes” or “no” to a product. They trigger individuals to make a decision about their products when that person might not have even been thinking about the brand to begin with.
More importantly, these brands are manifesting themselves on the customer’s turf. When you walk into a MINI dealership, you experience the brand. At a tradeshow, you experience the ABB brand through their booth before you even get to the product. Yet these hallmark experiences are highly controlled by the brand; how do you create an experience that occurs on the consumers’ time, in their space? Building relevant experiences that allow the brand to engage with the user in real life micro-moments is what grows connection.
Tinder is just one way. Coca-Cola Israel has attempted to transform the rather passive medium of commercials, into a more engaging experience. Partnering with Gett, the most used Taxi app in Israel, Coca-Cola created a commercial that engaged viewers as they watched by giving them on-the-spot purchasing power. The ad sent ultrasonic waves to viewers’ smartphones that, when picked up, displayed the message “Gett Coca-Cola”. If the viewer accepted the message, a Coca-Cola package was delivered directly to that home. Coca-Cola partnered with Get to deliver the product, allowing both brands to directly engage with people. This micro-moment allowed the businesses to involve consumers directly and instantaneously. By activating new touch points along the consumer journey, brands are able to grow as their customers interact with them more frequently and in a meaningful way.
It becomes clear that traditional ads are losing relevance, and experiences gaining. Brands need to begin thinking of the most meaningful touchpoints in a consumer’s life, and how brands can appear at those times. Tinder users might not have thought about ordering Domino’s Pizza, but because he or she was compelled to swipe, they might feel as if they had already made a decision. Even if you didn’t win the free Domino’s pizza, committing to the competition by swiping might trigger a taste for pizza, and you might order it anyway. Starting a conversation with consumers allowed the brands to come alive and be at the forefront of customers’ minds.
A great brand has its strong values, and individual characteristics. If we truly believe this, then we need to figure out what platforms are capable of bringing them to life through human interaction. Brands need to consider which platforms are most aligned with its purpose and character; Social media? VR? Physical touchpoints? In any combination of those, we need to explore new experiences that consumers embrace as their own. Today a brand must deliver beyond just its product or service. If brands can create a memorable experience, their connections with consumers will only grow—and so will their businesses.