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How to build a legacy of loyalty with audience engagement strategies 

Mindy Sears

Mindy Sears

May 07, 2024

Positioned as a time capsule hearkening back to the “Mad Men” era, the TWA Hotel in New York may be one of the most remarkable and compelling immersive brand experiences that’s come along in a while. It’s not just dedicated to making you feel like you stepped into the 1960s. It’s a comprehensive example of an omnichannel brand experience from the moment you arrive at the ticketing counter — a.k.a. the hotel check-in. 

To be honest, I’m slightly biased about my recent visit to this branded wonder. I’m a design history geek fascinated by the mid-century modern era in all facets of pop culture and love a unique hotel experience. Mix those ingredients, and you get a traveler who’s not just attracted to the ephemera on display at the TWA Hotel but the meaning behind it. 

What makes the TWA Hotel so special is its “thought of everything” aspect. Little things matter, after all, and they prompt influencers and everyday people to upload and share iconic images on social media. The hotel included branded shower products, pencils, and paper pads, and the rooms featured mid-century furnishings and decor. Outside was an authentic prop plane on what used to be the tarmac. (Yes, it was boardable with seats and even had a bar!)  

This immersive brand experience, however, was only brought to life by a rigorous data-driven approach. Understanding customer preferences in granular detail, from the mid-century modern furnishings appealing to design enthusiasts to the strategic placement of shareable branded elements, shows how data analytics shapes these experiences. By analyzing customer behaviors and feedback, every aspect of the TWA Hotel is crafted to ensure personalized engagement, demonstrating the application of data to continuously refine and elevate the customer journey. This wasn’t just a place for aviation enthusiasts or people seeking nostalgia to visit. It was a powerfully branded place built for making memories around a moment in time. 

Developing a customer engagement journey requires a lot of time and money. Getting the brand experience strategy right is tricky and takes intentionality. This data-driven personalized marketing involves acknowledging and molding the customer journey from top to bottom. The entire process should promote positive experiences and encourage advocacy as a result. 

A reality of brand immersion that can be a stumbling block is that identity must be well-designed, clear, and consistent with every touchpoint. The TWA Hotel has this down pat, which is why its strategy is so effective. Nothing has been left to happenstance. The result is an overnight stay that feels decidedly different in the best conceivable way. 

How can brand immersion translate into a full-funnel marketing experience? The brand experience strategy begins by taking the best elements of the brand experience and connecting them throughout each stage of the customer journey. As with the TWA Hotel experience, each touchpoint must be built with intention, and each touchpoint and exposure must align with the brand ethos. 

Customer Engagement Journeys That Resonate 

Designing an omnichannel brand experience involves a robust strategy and planning but can be done effectively. Whether your focus is B2B or B2C, you can work on meeting customers' needs to engage them in meaningful experiences by prioritizing your marketing efforts to align. Start by keeping these recommendations in mind. 

  1. Study other successful brands.

Creating audience engagement (or client experience) is much easier when you’ve explored what other brands have done well. For instance, observing and learning from companies renowned for their customer focus can offer invaluable insights. 

Apple’s brand experience, for example, is fully centered around the customer journey. And the retail experience pulls that thread even further. Go into any retail Apple store, and you’ll see live product demonstrations, a collaborative atmosphere, and service professionals ready to answer your toughest questions. If you can replicate Apple’s product experience in your audience engagement strategy, you’ll be on your way to honing your competitive edge. 

  1. Keep your branding design simple, relevant, and consistent.

Sure, your branding should be versatile and appropriate for your industry and target audience. Nevertheless, you should never allow your branding to become too bogged down in complexities. Each time a user interfaces with your brand, the message should be clear and consistent with your brand. Otherwise, people will get mixed signals, which can muddy the brand experience waters. 

While it might sound cumbersome, walk through all digital and live experiences. (You’ll be glad you did.) Check to ensure they’re optimized, seamless, and accessible — and that you’ve shown how users can take the following steps when a call-to-action is applicable. Companies with simplified customer journeys are 86% more apt to see higher buyer retention than other companies. Therefore, make it a goal to remove any obstacles to customers moving smoothly through all their brand interactions with your business. 

  1. Aim for personalization at every turn.

There’s no reason that personalization and branding can’t go hand in hand. As McKinsey and Company research has noted, 71% of consumers want personalization. When you customize your branded messaging and communications, you make the customer feel understood. Plus, you enable the customer to feel aligned with your brand. 

Nike is exceptionally good at merging its brand with a sense of personalization. It treats customers like individuals and drives them toward becoming part of the broader Nike community. This marriage of inclusiveness and customization works well for the brand. 

  1. Angle for continuous improvement.

One thing about the brand experience: It’s a never-ending process. What works this year might not work as well next year. The way to know when to pivot is by tracking your branding approach through an analytics workbench. At RAPP, we help clients measure their personalization and branding using our proprietary predictive modeling and other technologies. 

As a wise person once said, knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have on how your branded experiences are working — or aren’t working — the faster you can adjust. That way, you’ll never be left on the runway while other organizations are flying high. 

  1. Harness data to elevate experiences

Reflecting on the TWA Hotel's ability to transport guests to a bygone era, the power of a crafted brand experience is clear. This magic, however, isn't conjured from thin air. It's the result of integrating comprehensive data analytics to understand deeply and engage audiences effectively. Data-driven personalized marketing customizes this journey for each guest, from the moment of arrival to the final farewell, demonstrating how data insights can transform a standard interaction into a memorable adventure. 

This strategy of embedding data insights to craft personalized narratives not only elevates the brand experience but also solidifies a brand's legacy in the hearts and minds of its audience. Identifying trends, optimizing touchpoints for better engagement, and tailoring customer journeys with precision — these are the hallmarks of a brand poised for enduring success. 

As we consider the journey from the TWA Hotel's immersive retro experience to the broader landscape of brand engagement, the lesson is unmistakable: the fusion of creativity and data-driven strategy is key to captivating and retaining an audience. If you're inspired to redefine your brand experience with a blend of storytelling and analytical precision, let's start a conversation. Together, we can harness the power of data to create brand narratives that not only resonate today but also endure, building a legacy of loyalty for years to come. 

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