Companies often get caught up thinking that there is real engagement driven by a banner ad on a website, a billboard above a highway, or a quarter-page graphic in a print magazine. These days, the best companies understand that when someone takes time out of their busy lives to spend it to interact with YOUR brand, that is when a true connection is made.
Alcohol companies have long known this. Spend time in Napa Valley, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, or Scotland, and you'll explore carefully created experiences meant to make you fall in love with a particular brand.
You'll never forget drinking a dram of peaty scotch in a historic Scottish castle while the master distiller tells you stories about ghosts and poets.
Then six months later, you'll be in a bar in Denver. You'll peruse the hundreds of whiskey bottles on the wall, and when your eyes hit the scotch from that castle, you'll remember poets, ghosts, and the taste of that awesome memory. And you'll order it. Neat.
What has long been a mainstay in the alcohol industry now permeates almost every forward-thinking consumer-facing company. Sports brands are engaging their customers with workouts and running clubs. Makeup brands are bringing their customers in-store for classes and demonstrations.
Even more traditional, more established brands are finding ways to keep their marketing relevant and engage their fans with classes and tours.
Millennials care more about experiences than things, and they collect memories as social capital. The smartest brands in the world are using the power of experiences to build trust and long-term relationships with the people who matter most.