Behind some of the greats in the business, there’s often an origin story. Richard Branson started his first business out of a public phone booth, known in the creative world as ‘the hero’s journey’. These stories have gripped us since mankind first huddled around the fire, telling engaging, potentially life-saving tales of the tribe. We are all storytelling creatures.
Hollywood screenwriting instructor Robert McKee argues that stories “fulfil a profound human need to grasp the patterns of living — not merely as an intellectual exercise, but within a very personal, emotional experience.” Creating an immersive experience that tells the origin story of a product – and where it’s heading – can be an effective way to engage with customers on a deeper level than more traditional marketing methods. The key to making them work – the same as Hollywood blockbusters and tales around the campfire – is memorable, instructional storytelling that resonates with the audience.
Experiential marketing is still working. Developments such as the €16m expansion plan for the Guinness Storehouse (Ireland’s most popular visitor attraction), Disney’s Star Wars Hotel and Urban Adventure, a new concept we are currently developing. Urban Adventures, a unique, immersive, adrenaline-fuelled, extreme sports activity entertainment concept. Building on all the guest’s senses to create F&B that is a core part of its DNA.
These days, companies are more likely to use immersive experiences to reach new and existing customers via pop up that showcase brand innovations. Even for celebrities, institutions and IP-based products, telling the story of the brand now need to be more engaging than a few boards of old photographs, a shelf of ‘packaging through the ages’ and behind-the-scenes How-It’s-Done videos. Even when your product is well established, how can the story go deeper?
That’s where sensation comes into the picture – at Cadbury World, the Heath Robinson-style gurgling, purple ‘chocolate machine gives visitors a taste of what’s in store,
Of course, it’s a good idea to make sure the story you’re telling isn’t a Tall Tale. Consumers are only ever a few clicks away from a deep dive into a company’s public profile. Visitor attractions ought not only to reflect the sensations you want your brand to conjure up with loyal and new customers but also be able to go through the ups and downs in the history of your organisation and pluck out the tales that demonstrate what the company is really like and what the brand stands for. And it’s OK to admit to mistakes (short-lived changes in brand recipes that caused a public outcry, for example) – that makes you more relatable; more human.
When brands get it right, their visitor attractions morph into something beyond a marketing exercise and become tourist destinations in their own right. Places like the Jamison Distillery and Legoland ask their audiences to travel and pay for a brand experience.
Harrison is obsessed with telling beautiful stories for brands simply designed for people.
Creatively driven. Passionate. Provocative.
It’s your story. It’s yours to tell. Find an honest, engaging way to show people not only what or how, but why your company does what it does they will feel connected to your brand. That’s human nature. We specialise in storytelling and creating brands that are underpinned by the hero’s journey, why no drop us a line or email us. www.harrison.hn