Jenny Stanley, MD at Appetite Creative, examines how connected experiences can drive consumer engagement and year-round sales.
Leveraging key calendar dates, live events, and seasonal celebrations is de rigueur in marketing. Christmas preparation begins in July, Halloween props abound as the new school term begins, and Easter eggs can be hunted as early as December. Sponsorship of sporting moments, film releases and live events are often part of advertising strategies, alongside seasonal activity.
With a series of holidays approaching, from Halloween to Thanksgiving, from Diwali to Christmas, is there a better way for brands to target key customers seasonally, beyond sponsorship and campaigns? mass advertising?
Embracing the same core principles across all technology-driven experiences gives brands the ability to tailor their branding, content, and approach, making them more key relevant audiences, as well as relevant to the season. Through innovative technologies, such as connected experiences, they are able to better understand consumers through first-party data, optimize marketing, drive sales, educate customers and improve two-way communications with customers. In addition to easily adapting and updating content in real time.
Connected experiences can be accessed by scanning unique QR codes, NFC chips or barcodes found on packaging. By scanning the code using a smartphone camera, users are redirected to a browser-based application, offering product information, discount codes, contests and interactive games or reality experiences augmented (AR).
We typically see engagement times of around three minutes, not only improving brand loyalty, but opening a two-way dialogue with consumers. This allows the brand to establish a stronger presence, gather valuable insights, and create enhanced user experiences that increase product engagement.
Future Market Research (MRFR) estimates the smart packaging market to be worth £61.91 billion (£54.65 billion) by 2027. The market was valued at $39.82 billion in 2020. It is important to note that connected experiences drive sales and high consumer engagement. Tetra Pak Claims that connected experiences generate a 20% increase in sales.
So how do you successfully combine connected experiences with seasonal moments or live sporting events?
UK-based liquor producer Halewood Artisanal Spirits launched a spooky app-based game last year in time for Halloween with its unconventional spiced rum brand, Dead Man’s Fingers. The app-based connected experience “fruit machine” drove website traffic and purchases during the Halloween period. The game, accessible via QR codes found on wooden cocktail stirrers served with favorite rum flavors, offered users instant prizes including branded caps, t-shirts, beach towels and lanyards, bringing spooky interactive fun to customers, available in over 700 pubs across the UK. This drove repeat purchases and encouraged users to play and win a second time, with a re-scan rate of 2.4 times per user.
Working with a popular dairy and beverage brand, we sought to raise awareness of a range of milk and fruit drinks as families returned to school and the office in September. Reconnecting with customers after the holidays, the game aimed to encourage them to make the range of wholesome and healthy drinks a lunchbox staple.
The interactive connected experience included fun games for the whole family. A 2D racing game “School Run” that had to be completed before accessing a 3D augmented reality (AR) 3D jumping game “What’s in my Lunchbox”, with shareable AR selfie filters and a leader board so that players can become competitive.
The web app tracked real-time interactions, such as flavor analyzed, average engagement time, location, crawl rate, number of visitors, repeat visitors, and social media shares , to enable the brand to optimize marketing.
The results were outstanding – with over 97,000 scans and 9,900 recordings. More than 8,500 of those who engaged took selfies, with 3,200 people sharing them on social media – WhatsApp being the most popular place to share – with a 67% share on this channel. The average time spent was over two and a half minutes, showing that customers enjoyed the experience, with a bounce rate of less than 1% (compared to the norm, over 30%). This showed that most users were engaging with the app, and in fact, it achieved a 70% engagement rate. The number of users doubled from September to October as news of the games spread. In fact, the link to the connected experience app has been shared over 3,200 times, showing incredible word of mouth and the positive impact of a supportive social media campaign.
Connected packaging campaigns regularly generate a scan-to-click-through rate (CTR) of 14%, much higher than a digital advertising campaign, which typically has a CTR of around 0.01%. It is not only impactful, but also profitable. The average cost per digital ad click is £1.50, while a ‘click’ or scan on packaging is technically ‘free’, giving brands a compelling reason to use connected packaging.
The opportunities offered by connected experiences are endless. It is the marketing that continues to communicate throughout the life of the product. By making the packaging “smart” or “connected”, it has a much longer lifespan compared to other media channels, and this can be adapted in real time by season, event, new product launch, sponsorship campaign , promotion and much more. It’s definitely time for a smarter seasonal approach to advertising.