For decades, the primary tool to measure success of a branding campaign was consistency. Brands delivered similar experiences across all retailers in an effort to build brand equity through recognition and reliability.
Now, with changing consumer preferences, brands are questioning the fundamental assumptions behind marketing success. They are increasingly deprioritizing brand consistency in favor of disruptive, hyper-local, experience-based campaigns.
We're seeing that with Apple, which is complementing its one-size-fits-all retail locations with more custom and curated expressions. Its new Brooklyn store, for example, brings the brand's aesthetics and ease-of-use brand promise to life in an architecturally unique and localized experience. And we're seeing it with smaller, more nimble companies that are much younger than Apple—forward-thinking startups and digitally native brands that are flipping the script, with no small success.
Might disruption be the new consistency?
Disruptions can be discreet or overt, at every budget level, with companies turning everything from product to packaging to events into more interactive, shareable extensions of their brands. In our digital and social marketplace, smart brands may find that the success of a campaign should be measured by how disruptive—i.e., shareable—an experience was.
But disruption by its very nature creates division. In that environment, marketers at more established organizations are finding that historical expectations and established performance metrics are standing in the way of investing in a multitude of engaging touchpoints for consumers.
Today's marketer faces the not-insignificant challenge of convincing management that experiential moments are critical to the success of the brand. Experiential marketing in most organizations is an ancillary part of the marketing plan and often comes to fruition as an afterthought—if and when there is remaining spend and bandwidth.
The legacy marketing program can be challenging to modify. Using historical budget allocations of the traditional media mix of TV, radio, Web, etc. leaves very little funding for experiential moments. That's in stark contrast to how newer brands that came of age after the birth of digital operate: They are able to plan for industry disruptions far more nimbly.