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Four Ways Data Is Transforming Brand Experiences

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Chris Cavanaugh
Chris Cavanaugh

Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

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Advances in technology are leading to insights that allow us to create more personal, meaningful connections

The rise of digital technology has forever altered the marketing landscape. Everything from retargeting to facial recognition is yielding a wealth of data that is helping us unlock a deeper understanding of our audiences. In fact, data has become so essential to marketers that it was named the top digital capability for high-tech B2B marketers in 2016.

This stream of information is transforming the brand experience medium in ways we never thought possible. Gone are the days of relying solely on hindsight and intuition to figure out what audiences want. Today’s brand experience designers are changing the way in which data is collected, stored, analyzed, and acted upon, and it’s unlocking the enormous potential of the medium. 

Here are four ways data is evolving the industry and the medium of brand experience.

Data is changing the way we work

The amount of technology at an event is incredible. At any given time on a show floor, there may be hundreds or thousands of wearables, devices, or mobile apps sending information to and fro, recording, collecting, and processing activity. But while we’ve come a long way in figuring out how to gather the data, we’re still learning how to realize its value.

Marketers of today are sitting on large stockpiles of data, and now they’re trying to figure out how to make that data meaningful and actionable. The problem is that many of them still have an analog mindset, where data is isolated within silos. Data insight requires much more of an open-source mindset. If we want to truly transform and own the brand experience industry, then we need a unified data strategy that is connected, coordinated, and accessible to all.

When it comes to data, the more you have access to, the better your understanding of the big picture will be. 

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Data is helping us better orchestrate and understand relationships between things

As I mentioned above, there are hundreds or thousands of technology products at an event. These data points improve our ability to get a clearer picture of our individual audience segments and their behaviors. They tell us which of our campaigns are working, which booths are being visited most, how attendees feel about the layout and the food, and which speakers are drawing the largest audiences. These insights allow us to react to issues and adapt on the fly. But something is still missing from this equation. 

To take our data strategy to the next level, we must connect all these inputs into a holistic solution that lets all the pieces work together. Imagine a product ecosystem that acts as a hub, allowing all our individual products to communicate through APIs and relay this information to a client dashboard. Not only would this consolidate data efforts under one umbrella, but it would improve the value of our metrics and make them that much more meaningful. It would also give your client the ability to see their ROI in real time.

That is the power of data in brand experience. 

Data is unlocking the power of science for brand experience

Humans are sensorial creatures. At any given time, we are experiencing the world around us through a combination of sights, sounds, smells, sensations, and tastes. These senses are giving off reams of valuable data about the emotions we’re feeling when we have those experiences.  

The technology we use to measure these data points has been steadily improving its ability to read and measure emotional states, and that presents a veritable gold mine of data for the industry.

Tools such as facial recognition, biometric screening, and even body language algorithms are helping us learn more about how brand experiences work. For instance, facial recognition technology can be used to measure how much an attendee is enjoying a show, track their level of engagement during a presentation, or even reveal their hidden personal biases. For a long time, it was widely assumed that reading expressions was based on human intuition, but it turns out there’s quite a bit of science and data behind our gestures.

This is the only medium that gives us the ability to combine science and all five senses in one place to learn more about our audiences. And the more we can allow science to do the heavy lifting for us, the more efficient we will be.

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Data shows us what beautiful looks like

Data is unlocking so much information about our customers beyond just basic demographics. We’re gaining insights into attitudes, behaviors, perceptions, device usage, location, personas­ — pretty much a complete understanding of who they are and what they want out of life. And the more data we get, the more focused our insights will be and the more relevant and meaningful our brand experiences become. 

The result of this deeper level of insight is the opportunity to create a deeper level of connection between a brand and an attendee. Data-driven personas allow us to learn an individual attendee’s “language” and craft their unique journey through a brand experience, before, during, and after.  We know how to speak to them and when. We can provide a level of personalization that feels totally authentic and natural.

We often say that we are in the business of creating meaningful connections between people and brands. With data, that connection goes two ways — we get to connect with our attendees on a deeper, more personal level, and in turn we are empowered to provide them with content and experiences that speak to them as an individual. Ironically, this growing mass of data and information has the potential to humanize the brand just as much as the attendee. 

Ultimately, data will help us achieve a greater ROI

The great thing about the data revolution is that it’s still happening. We will continue to get better at unifying our data strategies, deciphering our key insights, and applying them to the event environment. What’s more, the data-driven approach allows you to measure the success of a brand experience against the performance measures of your choice in real time. 

We’ve seen the benefits of data for the digital realm. Now we are starting to explore how it can shape and define the physical experience. There is so much data being generated and collected, and there is so much more yet to come. For the brand experience industry, it won’t be long before we will start to see massive change on a global scale.

Want more? Download our insights paper, Designing Your Metrics Road Map.

{Read this next: The Power of Data}

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