Brands are complex things, existing in a state of flux in today's changing consumer environment, writes Max Eaglen, director, Platform.
Traditionally, services and products were created, given a name and sold to us consumers. The better they were the more they sold.
The more effort the creator put into maintaining and developing the product or service the longer it lasted until eventually it developed its own ‘gravity’ whereby it was the product of choice above all others.
As the market developed, brands had to fight for air amongst the noise that was the over saturated, highly competitive, plagiarist marketplace in which they lived.
The question soon arose as to how to differentiate your product or service both in the short term and in the future? The brand experience centre was born from the desire to build gravity around brands by creating spaces in which, unhindered by competition, the product was king.
At face value a brand experience centre means different things to different people, but at the core they all share a common nucleus. It is a place where you can create moments, where a customer feels truly connected with your brand.
A place for ideation and co-creation
But today, brand experience centres have gone a step further, the buzz words are no longer demonstration and inspiration but ideation and co-creation whereby consumers take an active part in developing brands throughout the product lifecycle, the centres are more learning and creation workshops than ‘car showrooms’.
This means that the environment you create, the stories you tell, the interactives you design, the people you chose to represent you all need to think differently to trigger a new set of responses from their customers.
They all need to engage more deeply, investigate, learn and share, and plan.
As it becomes more complex so the range of disciplines required broadens.
Making emotional connections, creating tangible business ideas and integrating operational expertise requires business strategists, marketers, creative experiential thinkers, designers, writers, people development specialists, AV specialists and technologists.
Importantly there is now a greater interest in B2B experience centres as companies realise the need for greater engagement with their enterprise and SME customers. This kind of engagement becomes a haven for developing and maintaining long term relationships with clients, suppliers, staff and resellers who may not have the marketing budget to develop and run such a space themselves.
What is more interesting still is that as these centres develop they may well exist in mirror image of what they are now, being driven or even run by the consumer rather than the brand owner, generating ideas and projects that can be picked up by the brand and delivered back to the consumer.
Max Eaglen, director and co-founder of creative design agency, Platform