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Generating The Spark For Memorable Virtual Experiences

  • Written by By Howard Stern, Kaon Interactive
  • Published in Demanding Views

howard sternNow more than ever, marketers are competing for customers’ attention. With many professionals working from home, not only are you up against the internet, but you are angling for time in the midst of your customers’ workloads, emails, children, pets, laundry and whatever else is going on in their lives.

 The potential for distraction is everywhere. So the primary goal needs to be getting and keeping your customer engaged, with limited time to achieve that.

I call this sustained engagement goal as “generating the spark” — creating an experience for a user that will ignite a lasting memory. But how do we transform traditional sales models into truly engaging, digital, interactive experiences that create a spark? Here are a few tips.

Brevity Is Your Friend

Traditionally, B2B companies focus on lots of details. In a first engagement, especially a digital one, the visitor needs to be able to connect very quickly to the value you provide. It’s critical to start with the digestibility of the message — an easy-to-understand story that shows logical progression. Don’t get caught up in the particulars at first. Remember that the minutia, which you may find important, probably doesn’t apply in your first interaction. Your goal is to get customers to return, so they can ask more detailed questions during the second engagement in their buyer journey. 

Find Your Inner B2C

When we think of a virtual “connection,” we think of connecting with other people, not with content. But we make emotional connections with content, as well. The key ingredient to establishing a connection with content is creativity. 

Traditionally, B2B marketers are on the conservative side when it comes to their content and customer engagement strategies. B2B buyers want to be entertained in the same way they are by consumer-focused marketing. B2B organizations can set themselves apart from the competition by embracing bold expression over the same old, conservative methods.

Bring Your Customer Into Virtual Environments 

If you want your product to be remembered, you need to bring your buyer somewhere that will evoke emotion and feelings of connection. I like to categorize a virtual experience into three scenarios:

  1. Real, but impossible: Take your audience somewhere that exists in the real world but is not accessible because of physics. For example, if you are talking to the power of a processor or technical product specifications, you could drop your guest onto a motherboard or the working mechanism of a complicated device. This change of perspective transforms their perception of the products you sell, demonstrating unique value to the customer.  
  2. The real world: You can recreate any place, but you have to know why you’re recreating it. The sky’s the limit in the virtual world and you can create a space that is widely inaccessible to the average person like an oil rig or medical laboratory.
  3. It’s OK to be abstract: Sometimes the value of a product or service can be conceptual, and that’s fine. This is an opportunity to place a user in a more creative or artistic space. If we can create a visually appealing environment — one that uses color, shape and captivating user interfaces in dynamic ways — the experience can elicit a visceral reaction, one that will create a lasting impression. 

Creating the application environment is just the beginning of “generating the spark” for a buyer. As we move forward in this crazy new world, it will get increasingly more important to relate to users in creative and meaningful ways.

 As Associate Director of Creative Services / Mixed Reality Experience Strategist at Kaon Interactive, Howard’s role is to innovate user interaction and engagement for applications for Fortune 500 companies. Howard’s passion for interactivity has helped Kaon’s customers tell complex stories while creating emotional connections and exciting their audiences.