I stumbled across an incredible immersive brand experience from Microsoft this week. To promote the then-newly launched Titanfall Xbox game in an interactive and immersive way, Microsoft hosted midnight launches whereby its stores were transformed into completely Titanfall-themed spaces.
To grant gamers an amazing brand experience, the store’s 150-foot video wall displayed ultra-high definition videos of Titans falling from the sky, missiles soaring across futuristic skylines, and full action sequences mirrored Titanfall gameplay. A dynamic countdown was also displayed on the wall for weeks before the release in order to build fans’ excitement, and during the launch event they could both sample and buy the game – an element which is crucial to a brand experience that aims to drive revenue.
This experience has just landed the tech giant a Digital Screenmedia Association Award.
Rival Apple has long been utilising its stores to deeply engage consumers with its various products. Apple has done a fine job of creating a retail atmosphere that builds a sense of community through the integration of the product, retail and customer experiences. It’s fair to say that Apple’s cultivation of an effective and immersive retail environment has been instrumental to its success and power.
Indeed, Apple’s success hinges on what many term the company’s 'Triple Convergence' model. This model comprises Retail Aesthetics, Apple Specialists and Workshops & Training. The layout of the stores makes connecting with the Apple products a natural and logical move for visitors – and we all know that sampling a product is fundamental to a consumer’s purchasing decision. And the Apple specialists who serve as very effective and informative brand ambassadors build trust and contribute value, whilst the workshops that are offered bestow not only further information and knowledge to the now Apple-converts, but also reassurance that help is on hand in their journeys from PC to Apple.
In a world where consumers are increasingly favouring the online retail experience, it is time for brands and retailers to up their game in attracting them to their physical stores. It’s time to embrace retail spaces as an opportunity to build relationships with experiences that are relevant, intimate, and fun.
Joss Davidge is managing partner of BEcause, an award winning brand experience agency which has been helping brands become more tried, tested and talked about for over 20 years.
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