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- Experience launches are a method for generating excitement and fostering a more impactful product launch through immersive experiences.
- Crafting an experience launch gives you the ability to reach a wider audience and make a lasting impression on your target audience.
- To maximize the reach of an experience launch and ensure momentum, you must take several detailed steps on launch day, as well as before and after.
- Make the experience more memorable by making the event fun, incorporating storytelling tactics, and staying true to your brand identity.
We can remember commercials and advertisements, but they don’t quite stick in the memory like things we’ve actually done and experienced ourselves. Brands can capitalize on this by building experiential marketing into their product launches for a greater impact.
Experience launches bring customers into a setting and involve them in the experience of rolling out your product. A launch that leverages immersive experiences gets more eyes on your product, makes it more memorable, and encourages more people to buy it.
The art of experience launches takes calculated effort to master. By creating a road map with clear goals, timelines, and promotional strategies, your brand can master the art and reap the benefits of enhanced sales.
Planning the perfect launch
Experience launches make for fun, joyful, and impactful product launches, but the most important work happens well before the actual launch.
1. Set clear goals
Any successful launch starts with a clear goal and objective. Clear and measurable goals provide a sense of direction for your launch so you can take more targeted steps. Think about your goals in tangible metrics, like media reach, attendance, and product sales.
Some questions to inform your goals include:
- What results do you want to see from the launch?
- What impact do you want your launch to have?
- How do you envision the customer journey map laid out step by step?
- What do you want to highlight about your product?
For example, consider whether your main goal is for people to buy your new product that day, or if you want them to share their experiences on social media to generate more interest. Understanding your desired outcomes will improve the success of your event and provide you with more direction on what steps you should prioritize in preparation.
2. Identify your target audience
Understanding your target audience is crucial so that you’re not simply aiming your efforts without any direction. As you work to narrow down your target audience, consider these points:
- Are you targeting your full audience with this product or just a segment of it?
- What needs will your product fulfill?
- Who will benefit most from your product?
- Who do you expect to attend your event?
Consider the demographics you’ll target, like age, gender, and income levels, as well as psychographics, like interests and values. This understanding allows you to tailor your experience and messaging framework accordingly.
3. Budget and resource allocation
Consider all areas that you’ll need to include in your budget, and which you should prioritize depending on your goals.
Some of the costs you will have to account for in your budget include:
- Presenters and guests
- Event space
- Rental equipment, like speakers or seating
- Additional staffing
- Promotional materials
- Giveaway materials
4. Create a timeline
A well-structured timeline ensures all elements of the launch are executed seamlessly and gives a roadmap of what steps you need to take to maximize the impact of the event. A strategic timeline should include:
- When you will post on social media in advance of the event
- When you will reach out to local community members, influencers, and media
- Release dates for promotional materials
- Dates for the event itself
- When you will reach out to customers after the event
- The cadence you will post on social media after the experience
Crafting a memorable experience
Adding in the following elements will allow you to capitalize as much as possible on the experience so that it’s memorable and resonates.
The power of storytelling in launches
A good story builds a common ground between you and your customer by providing a relatable experience. It should appeal to emotions and resonate in a way that your audience can see themselves in your story.
A common story format for product launches features a given problem, how the product was developed to solve the problem, and how it makes life easier. Bring a captivating story into your launches through video presentations, blog content, and social media posts.
Designing the launch space or event
The design of your space has a significant role in increasing your event’s impact. The space should be easy to navigate, engaging for attendees, and clearly designed so audiences know the purpose behind the event and have no confusion about whose event they’re attending.
As you design the space, consider:
- What mood and energy you want to create
- How attendees will be able to move through the space
- Using up as much of the space as possible to keep people engaged
- How it can be designed to grasp the eye and engage others passing by
- Maintaining your brand identity throughout the space, signage, and materials
Incorporating sensory elements
Especially in today’s world where we value stimulus for its ability to grasp our attention, it’s beneficial to incorporate other sensory elements. For example, consider incorporating video, music, and even actions into the experience. Think about activities that can get attendees to write, use their hands, or move a little bit to make your launch all the more memorable.
If you can incorporate other senses, like taste, smell, and touch, you can make even more of an impact. Brands that sell food and launch new flavors have a leg up here, as they can provide samples to engage multiple senses at once.
Showcasing your brand’s unique identity
If there is a unique aspect of your brand, use your launch event as a chance to highlight it. It can be easier than you’d think for an attendee to remember the experience of an event, but not necessarily remember the host. Bring out a mascot or a representative that is unique to your brand and a recognizable part of your identity.
The event should also be on brand in the sense that it speaks to your values, mission, and voice. Don’t confuse your audience by choosing an activity that doesn’t somehow point back to common brand themes, messages, or ideals.
Generating buzz and hype
Buzz and excitement surrounding your product launch is what compels people to feel like they can’t miss out on your event. Take the following steps to generate hype.
Building anticipation through teaser campaigns
Preface your launch with a teaser, and don’t show all your cards right away. The mystery provides an opportunity to pique the interest and curiosity of your target audience, which is what makes teaser campaigns so effective.
As you release teasers, consider providing enough information to get them interested, but leave out enough to keep them guessing. For example, you can introduce the problem a product solves or exciting features that it will have without showing the product itself.
Some ways you can build an effective teaser campaign include:
- Releasing videos that tease your product or the event
- Send pre-release products to select members of your audience
- Making vague social media posts that leave room for curiosity
- Using cryptic image or messages in your promotions that provide room for your audience to guess what’s coming
- Provide incentives for people to solve the mystery behind your announcement, like a social media shoutout or free merch
- Highlight how audiences can stay in the loop for future updates
Leverage social media and influencer marketing
In-person events also serve as a foundation for you to reach those who aren’t present. A good margin of your efforts should be sharing your event on social media throughout the launch. Leveraging social media allows you to expand the hype and excitement of the event to those who aren’t there.
Invite influencers to your event so that they can help in spreading the word about your launch. They’ll be able to share your event with their followers and give you even more credibility across audiences.
Engage the community and local partners
By engaging the local community, your web of outreach only grows, as they will be able to spread the word about the event. Showing that your brand is interested in partnering with the local community will also increase your credibility and encourage greater participation.
Leverage traditional PR strategies
Traditional PR efforts are still plenty valuable, especially for newer brands that don’t have large followings. Scheduling media coverage from local news outlets, writing a press release, and buying ad space are great ways to expand your message, highlight your product, and interest more people.
The launch day
Launch day doesn’t bring a sigh of relief just yet—the day itself should involve several steps to maximize the impact of the experience.
Fine-tuning last-minute details
Even with all the planning you put in, the last-minute details still matter. Run through a checklist before the event:
- Walk through the schedule for the logistics of the event
- Verify that all teams are on the same page
- Ensure channels are established for follow-up after the event
- Test all technology needed for the event
- Prepare customer support if concerns arise
- Have contingency plans in place in case something doesn’t go as expected
Managing the event or store opening
When it comes time to open the doors to the event, take the following steps to ensure everything runs smoothly from start to finish:
- Ensure staff is well-educated on your brand message as well as product specs and features
- Prepare for potential emergencies by establishing evacuation plans
- Have security or safety personnel in place in case concerns arise
- Check-in with attendees to see if you can improve the experience
- Have systems in place for the flow of customer foot traffic
Encouraging user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) provides a strong avenue for introducing new customers to your brand, offers a sense of authenticity, and builds an unparalleled level of consumer trust. During your event, encourage attendees to post on social media by offering incentives like discounts or free merch.
Creating shareable moments
Having attendees take photos and share them is excellent for spreading the word about your event, product, and brand. Encourage attendees to join the marketing effort voluntarily by taking the following steps:
- Have a background in place or props to take photos with.
- Create photogenic spaces or rooms
- Incorporate activities that your audience won’t be able to help but to film
- Include eye-catching objects, artwork, or merchandise that attendees will want to share
- Offer freebies for attendees to take home
- Provide a story and messaging to share with the media
The work doesn’t stop on launch day. If you truly want to maximize the impact of your product launch, you should follow up with a few extra steps.
Analyze the launch’s success
Use this launch as an opportunity to inform your process for future launches. Analyzing your launch’s success will also help you determine whether you need to adapt your strategy and pivot during the current launch.
Ask yourself, what went well? What could have been improved? For example, if you feel that there was a gap in your ability to gather customer information, then you may feel the need to put more energy into your social media campaign or your event follow-up.
Leveraging post-launch momentum
Don’t let your efforts to convert your customers lose steam. If you have attendees that didn’t convert quite yet, you still have a chance to reel them in before it’s too late.
Leverage your post-launch momentum by:
- Following up with participants from the event and encouraging them to take action
- Posting action shots from the event on social media
- Sharing more information about your product with attendees
- Responding to any questions circulating about your product or event on social media
- Engaging with social media mentions from those who participated
- Informing your audience of any future opportunities to get involved
Sustaining engagement and excitement
Find ways to keep customers engaged past the point of the launch:
- Consider sending attendees home with brand merchandise, whether it’s a T-shirt or a reusable water bottle they can carry around
- Gather contact information from attendees so you can send communications afterward to thank them and highlight additional actions they can take, like subscribing for future updates or checking out your inventory.
- Post on social media to recap the event, keep it firm in the memories of your attendees, and show others the fun they missed.
Encourage customer feedback
Customer voice is crucial to the product launch process and how you move forward. Gathering customer feedback gives you context for how you can adapt your efforts and expand your reach to maximize sales.
Some steps you can take to gather customer feedback include sending out customer surveys with targeted questions, posting on social media asking for feedback, and scouring social media for mentions of your brand.
Some brands have mastered the art of engaging their audiences in product launches. The following experience launch examples provide valuable lessons.
With the release of their David Bowie collection, the popular shoe brand held skating pop-ups at its House of Vans skateparks in big cities like New York and Chicago. The pop-ups brought skaters together to enjoy music, art, skating, and a great social opportunity.
The launch was true to the brand identity and brand purpose, which is centered around a love of creative expression and inspiring youth culture, and it incorporated multiple elements to keep participants engaged.
Warner Brothers: Barbie movie
The marketing for the Barbie movie incorporated several ways to engage attendees in an immersive experience. Movie theaters worldwide had photo ops, prompting moviegoers to dress up and take pictures of themselves in life-size Barbie boxes and along Barbie backdrops.
Warner Brothers also used generative AI to immerse audiences. Users who went to BarbieSelfie.ai could take pictures to turn themselves into a Barbie character and share them on social media. People saw their friends attending the movie on social media and were likely influenced to see what the hype was about.
There’s no way to determine the success of your launches without actually measuring the success of your efforts. It’s crucial to set metrics and use the information you gather to adjust your strategy.
Metrics to evaluate the success of your launch
Some specific metrics and KPIs you can use to track and analyze the effectiveness of your launch include:
- Social media mentions
- Media mentions
- Conversion rates
- Product sales
- New social media followers or marketing leads
- Return on investment of your launch efforts
Adjustments and improvements for future launches
Use insights you gain from the experience to celebrate your successes and learn from any major setbacks. Maybe launch day didn’t have as many product sales as you’d hoped, or maybe you lost momentum after launch day. Consider what steps you could improve upon for your next launch.
Level up your experience launches with PETERMAYER
A meaningful and effective experience launch starts with a plan and gains traction by engaging audiences before, during, and after the event. Brands that can leverage experience launches effectively can expand your reach, connect you with new audiences, and generate more sales.
At PETERMAYER, we can support you in facilitating a joyful and buzzworthy experience launch efforts. We’ll help you organize an engaging event, connect you with media, and enhance your promotional efforts. We’ve assisted several brands in creating meaningful, highly anticipated launches and a lot more, too.
Schedule a discovery call with us today and learn more about how our branding agency can help you maximize your experience launches and brand reach.