Bring the Customer Journey Home with Experience Centers
Logos. Websites. Ad campaigns. When we think of brands, these are what typically come to mind. But as we all know, brands are complex. They have history, values, people, products, offerings, and experiences.
At the heart of most brands, is a headquarters. Its location; aesthetic, layout, culture, environment, and visitor experience are all ingredients in the complex cocktail of what makes a brand truly unique. Your headquarters is visited daily and is one of the best places for face-to-face interactions. You have full control of a visitor’s brand journey. In the business world, it’s where you have home field advantage.
And so many brands overlook it’s potential for impacting their audience.
Here are 5 reasons why you should consider enhancing your headquarters with a customer-focused experience center.
Invest Marketing Dollars at Home
For starters, experience centers are spaces that leave a lasting impression through a unique, brand immersion experience. They can be as simple or complex as you want, based on your available area, budget, and desired level of technology. The key is to create a place that is authentic to your brand.
With many marketers and trade show managers trying to find unique channels to reallocate funds, experience centers are a tangible way to reach customers and elevate a visit into something more. In some cases, these investments may be easier to push through the approval process because management is nearby to see the project come to life.
Impress Visitors, Customers, & Prospects
At RES, we often tell new prospective customers that they need to come and visit us. There is something about setting foot inside our doors, meeting our people, and seeing what we do that shift perspectives.
Some things are best experienced in person. It’s why not every brand story communicates well of the trade show floor. Recognizing this detail and using it to your advantage is what can make an experience center truly valuable. It provides you with one of the best opportunities to give your audience a perfectly tailored experience that they remember well after they have left your facility.
For Mack Truck, RES was tasked to come up with a cohesive experience that would fully immerse customers in the rich history and leading-edge technology that makes the Mack brand. At the customer center, visitors would be able to see beyond the iron and get a true sense of the pride, service and innovation that is at the core of Mack.
Control Who You Reach
When you create a brand experience at one of your locations, you fully control it. You are not limited by the convention center regulations, modularity requirements, or traditional trade show considerations. Permanent installations also allow for an expanded palette of technology, lighting and materials. Overall, you have a greater flexibility in how you build out your space to meet the needs of your audience.
Beyond the build, you have full control over the journey your visitors take. Whether they are a vendor, new prospect, or VIP, you can adapt the space to meet the needs of that individual. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, ranging from digital signage that transforms a space to be tailored to your customer, or separate physical areas that focus on different brand stories. The key is to create a wholistic experience that is authentic to your brand, but specific to your customer.
Telling Your Unique Story
Not every company has a sexy vehicle or designer product to show off. So many of our brand stories are complex or have special requirements to present them in the best light. Experience centers are the perfect place to tell those challenging stories. Showcasing large equipment or a suite of products that all work together becomes a lot easier with the added level of control you have over the project.
Many stories can be best told with a unique interactive. Going beyond a standard touchscreen, to showcase intangible offerings or service that enhance your product such as a customer support network. Or highlight a specific component of a larger system through augmented reality. In an experience center, you can leverage more complex interactives to your advantage.
RES developed a 10-foot-long backlit display featuring Mack’s proprietary engine, transmission, suspension and axles. Visitors then slide a 55” touchscreen display over the powertrain graphic, providing an “x-ray vision” into key benefits, features and performance information regarding each component.
Maybe you see a need to be able to develop better digital content for webinars, livestreaming and online engagements. Many companies are creating broadcast studios spaces as a part of their headquarters to help address this ever-growing need.
There are no limits to the customized experience you create. 360 theaters, interactives, large equipment showcase, history centers, museum showcases, video conferencing rooms, enhanced lobby, video wall, or other brand engagements. They all have value if they are authentic and memorable.
Longevity of Your Investment
One of the many great things about an experience center is that it can last many years. Your experience center will become a standard part of your customer’s visit. You’ll quickly learn what works best and fine tune the journey to maximize effectiveness.
As your brand evolves, so can your experience center. Much like a museum or gallery, swap out sections that are no longer relevant as your offerings change or expand. Once you’ve invested in the space, updates and upgrades are likely to be less costly. It may even become a standard part of your marketing budget moving forward.
Collins Aerospace created a small experience room to showcase some of their offerings, as well as provide a better space to meet with clients.