Social media produces instant gratification, but it rarely leads to long-term memories.
Out of the flashy Instagram posts you swiped through last week or the tweets you pored over yesterday, how many do you remember? If you said more than a couple, I’d be surprised. That’s why it’s so difficult for brands to create connections with consumers using digital media alone. Yes, having an online presence to nurture relationships makes sense, but true brand loyalty happens through experiences linked to feel-good moments.
When I consider a recent round of golf with some good buddies, I remember what we laughed about after we finished the round and the discussions we shared. In fact, I’ll hold onto those positive emotions for life. Every time I think about or drive past the golf course we played on, the memories I had there resurface.
Businesses launch experiential marketing campaigns in the hopes of getting a similar response. Forging lasting connections, though, goes deeper than simply setting up a pop-up shop or hosting a concert. Truly capturing attention (and even building a fandom) is all about understanding the core personality traits of your target audience — and that’s where good old human psychology comes into play.
Not Pavlovian — but Definitely Predictable
Consumers will deny that they shop based on emotions. They’ll flash their coupons and talk about budgets. They’ll say they can out-logic a Vulcan. Some might go so far as to say they’ve never been brand loyal in their lives.
Science calls their bluff.
As humans, we’re more apt to buy a soda from a brand that tapped into our emotions or drive cars made from the same manufacturer our family has sworn by for decades. According to an info graphic by the University of Southern California, the emotional response to an advertisement — rather than its content — is a better predictor of whether customers will open up their wallets.
How can you break through the chatter and become a preferred brand for your target audience? The answer lies in understanding the needs and preferences of the “Big Five” personality traits. To see success, you’ll need to keep these traits in mind when designing your experiential marketing events.
These traits fall into a few buckets: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Understanding the ins and outs of each will help your experiential marketing gain more traction and crank out greater ROI. After all, companies that meet the needs of buyers do more than just win sales — they also transform their customers into die-hard advocates. These are the folks who offer a whopping 52% more value than less fanatical shoppers.
To figure out how your target audience is wired (and the most strategic ways to woo different groups), keep this list in mind:
- Openness: Create unmatched adventures. Individuals who score high in the openness category value novel experiences and the chance to see products in a new light. They’re the ones who rushed out to buy Mentos and Diet Coke immediately after seeing the explosive results, regardless of what they’d planned that day.
Typically, open people value innovation and imagination. Tap into their broad range of interests by stimulating their curiosity. Show them a side of your brand that goes beyond the ordinary or completely rocks their world, and they’ll be hooked enough to hear more.
- Conscientiousness: Hand out all the information. The conscientious consumers among us drive vehicles with spotless interiors and make sure their beds are made every morning. Their minds thrive on organization and deadlines. So to them, a brand experience should direct them toward goal-oriented choices.
Don’t expect conscientious consumers to suddenly pivot toward you if they’re new to your product, service, or establishment. After all, these folks take a while to make purchasing decisions — and getting them on your team is no easy feat. To win them over, fuel their interests by offering thoughtfully constructed information. This can help them figure out how to proceed with your brand.
- Extraversion: Light up the day and night. Consumers with seriously intense degrees of extraversion gain energy from being around others. Their preferred brand experience includes a bustling environment, collaboration, chitchat, and hashtags.
Extraverted folks will talk assertively no matter what, so give them positive things to say about your brand. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to interact with you in a big way and are likely to share their adventures with friends and family on social media. Be sure to get their contact information because some extraverts can turn into micro- or even macro-influencers down the road.
- Agreeableness: Show your soft side. Because they’re hardwired to help others and have a deep desire to contribute to the greater good, agreeable consumers tend to favor altruistic companies. So if your target base for an experiential marketing event includes a lot of agreeable individuals, bringing your corporate social responsibility programs into the mix makes perfect sense.
The more trust you build with agreeable personalities, the more kindness and positivity they’ll send your way. Plus, they tend to be cooperative, meaning they’re less likely to shun your brand after a single negative experience. People ranking high on agreeableness will usually give you a second chance if you’ve built a strong emotional connection with them.
We had the opportunity to partner with a national nonprofit KaBOOM! and national corporation Target to bring The Play Everywhere Tour to kids across the south. This corporate social responsibility program drew thousands of kids and families out to a free play day. How can you not get behind a brand that drives that kind of positivity?
- Neuroticism: Tone down the noise. Consumers who rank high for neuroticism can be unpredictable, and this is particularly true when they encounter highly charged, dynamic settings. Their preferred type of event should include elements that are straightforward without intense hype or fanfare.
This group tends to be moody and anxious. Therefore, its members might need a long time to get comfortable with a brand and take a leap. Because of this, never pressure them to buy immediately. They need time to cement their feelings about your company, even if they enjoy and appreciate what they’ve seen so far.
If your goal is to form deeper relationships with your consumers through experiential marketing strategies, think about how these five personalities apply. Tailor aspects of your events to attract the specific buyers you’d like to win over. That way, you’ll get more mileage out of your investment — not to mention drive engagement that will turn into true brand advocacy.
Want to pull together an event that caters to personalities of all stripes? Preview our founder Steve Randazzo’s book for proven ways to design a foolproof experiential marketing campaign.