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B2C Brands Give Consumers an ‘Upgraded’ Experience

August 26, 2015 | B2C, Consumer Activations, Event Marketing, Experiential Marketing

A hand drawing a clock with the words time to upgrade written inside the clock

B2C brands embracing exclusive experiences as “the new currency of marketing” understand that, more and more, consumers value experiences more than material goods. After all, most marketers are handing out free products, prizes and dangling trips, tickets and access consumers could get on their own anyway—so something they can’t get on their own strikes a real chord.

Introducing the “experience upgrade,” where brands provide simple and clever ways to upgrade what consumers are doing, what they need and what they want. There are three types of upgrades:

Upgrade Type 1

The Instant Upgrade Experience (a.k.a. the nice to have). Cuts through clutter with a quick, on-the-fly “upgrade” to a normal consumer activity. Example: To promote the premiere of its new drama series “Tyrant,” FX transformed everyday experiences for unsuspecting consumers across New York City. A team of FX “upgraders,” as they were called, were assigned parts of the city to find consumers about to engage in an everyday act and “upgrade” it. Some sought out people taking a brown bag lunch into Central Park and “elevated” them to a fine-dining experience at a nearby table set with linens and silverware. Others gave commuters the opportunity to skip a bus line in favor of a ride to work in a private SUV. Others treated random guests in economy hotels with turndown service and gourmet chocolates and surprised couples on date nights with glasses of champagne. With each engagement, the upgraders passed out tune-in information.

Upgrade Type 2

The Problem-Solving Upgrade Experience (a.k.a. the need to have). Goes beyond mere surprise and delight, bestowing upon consumers a timely and needed experience. Examples: Over the winter, Stove Top pumped heat into 10 bus shelters in high-traffic areas in downtown Chicago to promote its Stove Top Quick Cups instant stuffing. Tylenol in January also heated up bus shelters and provided free rides in “warming taxis” to chilly commuters in Boston and Chicago.

Upgrade Type 3

The Ultimate Upgrade Experience (a.k.a. the want to have). Provides “sought-after” experiences to consumers. Example: Brewery Ommegang used a pop-up store in New York to launch its new Nirvana IPA beer. In an effort to drive awareness, buzz and traffic, the company pushed consumers to post the Nirvana hashtag across social media… in exchange for chances to score the ultimate New York “must-haves”—reserved parking spots for a week. Indeed, an “upgrade” most New Yorkers desire.

What’s the coolest ‘upgrade’ you’ve experienced or implemented? Let us know!

Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker

Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Northeast powder hound. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. VP Marketing, Doodle owner and cocreator of my daughter.

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