Although they’ve only exploded in popularity in recent years— virtual experiences are an invaluable tool for forging meaningful, lasting connections with customers.
Engaging activities like virtual wine, beer, mixology & spirits tastings, and virtual food experiences offer brands unique opportunities to imprint on prospects, customers, and clients, leaving lasting impressions on their audience.
In this post, we’ll take a look at why using virtual experiences to enhance brand recall and customer engagement is becoming so popular, as well as explore some best practices for leveraging virtual experiences to create memorable moments, strengthen brand identity, and boost customer interactions.
4 Ways Virtual Experiences Improve Brand Recall and Customer Engagement
1. They Leave a Memorable Mark
Virtual experiences offer a personalized and immersive way for customers to interact with a brand. Through curated tastings and interactive food- and drink-related courses, brands can provide participants with delightful and memorable moments as part of a bigger online event, such as webinars, product demos, or other lead generation and prospecting events.
The emotional connection formed during these events goes beyond the transactional aspect, leaving a positive imprint of the brand in customers' minds. This lasting impression becomes a valuable asset, significantly contributing to brand recall whenever customers encounter related products or services in the future.
2. They Build Brand Loyalty
When customers have enjoyable and meaningful interactions with a brand during virtual experiences, they are more likely to develop a sense of loyalty. The sense of camaraderie and connection established during these events fosters a feeling of belonging to a community of like-minded individuals who share common interests and needs.
As a result, customers are not only inclined to return for future virtual experiences, but also exhibit a greater willingness to explore other offerings from the brand. This brand loyalty serves as a powerful driving force behind their purchasing decisions, often leading to them choosing the brand over competitors.
3. They Transform Customers into Brand Advocates
Positive virtual experiences can also transform customers into enthusiastic brand advocates. Satisfied participants in virtual tasting experiences are likely to share their exceptional encounters with friends, family, colleagues, and on social media platforms.
Word-of-mouth recommendations generated from these experiences carry immense credibility, as they stem from authentic personal experiences. As customers turn into vocal advocates, they expand the brand's reach and influence, attracting new audiences and strengthening the brand's reputation.
4. They Foster Emotional Connections
Virtual experiences enable brands to connect with customers on a more emotional level. As participants engage their senses and actively participate in these interactive sessions, they experience a sense of belonging and attachment to the brand.
This emotional resonance creates a lasting memory, wherein the brand becomes associated with positive emotions and experiences. Such emotional connections go beyond mere buyer-seller relationships, transforming customers into loyal supporters who feel personally invested in the brand's success.
5 Best Practices for Using Virtual Experiences To Boost Brand Recall and Customer Engagement
1. Create Immersive and Memorable Experiences
The key to successful virtual experiences lies in creating immersive and memorable moments for participants.
For example, in virtual wine, beer, and spirits tastings, participants are provided with an at-home tasting kit and accompanied by knowledgeable experts who guide participants through the tasting process. These experts are available to interact, answering questions and sparking discussions in real time.
Similarly, virtual cocktail and mocktail courses offer an excellent opportunity for customers to learn new mixology skills from professional bartenders. These bartenders encourage participants to get hands-on during the session, experiment with ingredients.
Participants in these types of virtual tastings and virtual mixology courses are encouraged to share their creations on social media, which fosters a sense of camaraderie among attendees and keeps the brand at the forefront of their minds, while also exposing the brand to their networks.
2. Utilize Social Media and Influencers
Social media platforms play a pivotal role in promoting virtual experiences and driving customer engagement.
Brands should leverage popular platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to build excitement around their events, share behind-the-scenes preparations, and encourage user-generated content. Running contests, giveaways, and challenges related to the virtual experiences can also amplify the reach and impact.
Working with influencers can further enhance brand recall and credibility. Collaborating with influencers who align with the brand's values and target audience can significantly increase event attendance and boost overall engagement. Influencers can even participate in the virtual experiences themselves and share their authentic reactions, extending the brand's reach to a wider audience.
3. Personalization and Inclusivity
Custom virtual experiences provide an excellent opportunity for brands to deliver personalized interactions. By gathering customer data and preferences beforehand, brands can tailor their offerings to match individual tastes and preferences. This personal touch creates a sense of exclusivity and makes participants feel valued and appreciated.
Moreover, it is crucial for brands to ensure inclusivity in their virtual experiences. Consider offering options for participants with dietary restrictions, allergies, or preferences for non-alcoholic beverages. Emphasizing inclusivity not only enhances brand reputation, but also widens the audience pool and fosters a positive brand perception.
4. Leverage Technology for Better Interactions
Incorporating interactive elements into virtual experiences can elevate customer engagement even further.
Utilize technology tools such as live chat, polls, and Q&A sessions during the event to encourage active participation. Real-time engagement allows attendees to interact with hosts, presenters, and other participants, making the experience more dynamic and memorable.
5. Follow Up and Maintain Communication
Post-event communication is vital in sustaining customer engagement and brand recall. Send out personalized follow-up emails to thank participants for attending, provide links to recorded sessions for those who missed the event (or for people who attended to refer back to), and consider offering exclusive discounts or incentives for future purchases.
Keeping the communication lines open helps build a lasting relationship with customers and keeps the brand in their minds long after the virtual experience has ended.
Brands across all industries can incorporate virtual experiences into digital marketing events and sales processes to differentiate themselves from the competition. These experiences improve brand recall and engagement among their target audience.
In order to effectively use virtual experiences for marketing, make sure to follow the best practices we discussed above.