At Webolutions, we work with countless clients on their market positioning experience. Part of that experience is finding out what emotions and brand experience they want to convey to their personas. When it comes to experiential marketing, all companies want to do more than just satisfy customers. They want to create joy, delight, optimism and so on.
When it comes to marketing communications, you can convey in words and pictures things that create such emotions. But if the actual experience your customers have with your company doesn’t live up to the emotions you are aspiring to communicate in your advertising, website, social media and more, then your brand can suffer. We encourage clients to be realistic in emotions and the experiences they want to convey. But, we also want them to strive to push themselves to be better and truly surprise and amaze customers.
I was reminded of what surprise and amazement mean on a trip to Sonoma this past summer. I lived in the Bay Area for the better part of 10 years and during that time my wife and I enjoyed nothing more than exploring California’s wine country. Over those years, Sonoma became our favorite region and we would tell everyone to explore that region versus Napa Valley. The reason we encourage Sonoma was simply the winery experience you will find there. Sonoma is more laid-back, less crowded and it is not uncommon to meet and learn about the wine from the actual winery owner or winemaker.
Case in point, this summer my wife and I visited Iron Horse Ranch and Vineyards in Sebastopol which is in the heart of the Russian River Valley in Sonoma. We showed up expecting to meet an Iron Horse representative in the tasting room and go through some different flights of sparkling wine and pinot noir along with a tour. This would not have been an uncommon experience, and I would have been satisfied if that was the case.
Instead, we were met by a guy in jeans and work shirt named David Munksgard. It turns out, he is Iron Horse’s renowned winemaker. Before we knew it, he put us in his truck and we were touring the actual vineyards on the estate. He would stop along the way and inspect the grapes on the vine and he explained how things were growing, how things like the “canopy” were laying, vineyard orientation to sun, soil composition, grafting, etc. We got to walk among the vines to see and learn and truly appreciate the “winemaker’s footprints” in the vineyard. After romping through the vineyards, David showed us the sparkling wine facility and went into detail on how he makes the wine. Basically, if you are a wine geek (like me) this experience could not be any better.
Finally, after a couple of hours with David, he took us to their tasting room, which is just an outside bar overlooking their vineyards. He went through some wines with us while we tasted. And, while there was no pressure whatsoever to buy anything, we did pick up a few bottles.
I am now gladly on their mailing list (and I do not join many), and more often than not, I end up buying shipments from them. I do not simply buy because of how wonderful their wine is (it is fantastic, by the way). I buy because of the memories I retain from the experience I had with their winemaker. An experience that was surprising, amazing and entirely unexpected. It was unlike any winery experience I have ever had, and this coming from someone who has toured wine regions such as Burgundy, Champagne and Washington state.
How to Use This Information
Experiences that amaze and delight not only create customers, they create enthusiastic champions who are advocates of your business. Do not underestimate actual feet on the ground, human-to-human experience of your brand. At Webolutions, we do everything from branding to websites and content creation. But, we also help our clients create actual brand experiences and culture. Call us today at 303-300-2640 to learn more about experiential marketing.
How have you been amazed and delighted by an unexpected experience?