When you think of a brand, you probably think of the logo, the colors, and the product. But what is it about those really special brands like Disney, Apple, and Coca-Cola that make them truly different?

When you walk into a Disney park, just where does that magic come from? Well, it’s by design. It’s intentional. The entire experience was built to make you feel what you’re feeling. This is what branded experiences are all about.

Branded experiences put the customer and brand in the same room (in-person or virtually), interacting and building (hopefully) positive connections. Done well, authentic and engaging brand experiences can build trust and brand affinity, helping turn prospects into customers and customers into brand advocates.

In this article, we’ll discuss what brand experience is, why it’s beneficial for organizations, and how events can help you create memorable branded experiences that pave the way for more company exposure.

What is brand experience?

Branded experiences, also known as experiential marketing, explores ways for brands to interact and engage directly with their audience, outside of the experience they get by simply using their product.

Experiential marketing campaigns can generate high engagement, increase brand exposure, and even create viral opportunities. Why? Because people love sharing positive experiences — they’re contagious. As an added bonus, they can often be shared second-hand, through social posts, videos, etc. Watching a video of a branded experience may not provide the same level of feelings to the viewer as they did the participant, but they can still generate many of the same emotions and connections through empathy.

How do branded experiences benefit brands and their customers?  

How do branded experiences benefit brands and their customers

Simply put, positive experiences give birth to strong brand connections. And solid connections breed loyal, long-term customers. The result? You’ll reach more people and draw them to your brand.

Build trust

Brand loyalty comes from trust, which takes time to build. Brand experiences foster trust because they break down the skepticism and invisible barriers to connection (especially in a digital age) and help both brands and consumers deepen their connections.

Give your customers a voice

A great brand experience feels different because it’s less of a show and more of a dance. Instead of reading a blog or watching a video, the consumer is connecting and engaging directly with the brand, often even providing the opportunity to voice opinions and offer feedback.

Develop empathy and understanding

When you’re able to interact with your audience face to face or even in a virtual environment, you have the opportunity to understand them at a deeper level.

Interactions make fictional customer personas come to life. Seeing your customers as more than just data points will help you establish deeper connections and build more engagement because you’ll become a more significant part of their life story. Plus, your audience will also see you as more than just a facade, but an actual human behind the business. Brand experiences humanize your brand.

Partnering with Webex Events, Lessonly immersed attendees in a fully branded experience, from the event app to in-room screens. Download the case study to learn how Lessonly created a unique event experience using Webex Events’ branded event app.

Brand experience vs. user experience

Before we continue, we want to talk about the relationship between brand experience and user experience. They are not synonymous concepts, but they do feed each other. It’s essential to understand the differences so you don’t mistake one for the other.

Both involve an individual’s response to your brand, but user experience is about simplifying and making a user’s user’s journey with your products, services, or software more intuitive. A responsive, easy-to-navigate mobile website or a seamless app experience, for example.

While a positive user experience can lead to a positive brand experience, brand experience focuses more on the feelings or interaction a consumer has with your brand; it will make consumers users of your product. It answers the question, “How does a consumer feel about your brand?”

As an example, let’s consider Windows vs. Apple. While Windows still leads the operating system market, its users are not as enthusiastic and passionate about the brand as Apple users. Whether deserved or not, Apple’s reputation for beautiful design and flawless experiences is world-class. Apple understands how to create brand experiences and invites customers to experience them fully, through events, announcements, and their in-store experience, just to name a few.

How events create positive brand experiences: Tips to making events memorable

There are many ways to create positive brand experiences, but here at Webex Events, we love event experiences (as if you didn’t know!) and see them as integral to brand building and exposure.


Events are valuable because they create an environment for interaction and engagement. Plus, though they can be challenging logistically to put on, they’ve been done for decades, so there’s plenty of information available on how to create an event plan.

What’s not so straightforward is how to design your event in a way that ensures you provide a brand experience that will wow existing customers and attract new ones. Below are some tips on making events memorable enough to facilitate meaningful connections.

Focus on authenticity

Earlier in the article, we talked about how customer loyalty comes from trust, and building trust is a core focus of brand experiences. However, this is only possible if your event experiences are authentic to your brand and the people you serve.

A positive brand experience is less about grandeur (although grandeur can be compelling) and more about striking the right chord with your target audience. You must have buy-in. Whether you get super creative with your events or prefer minimalism, you’ll achieve your goals if the experience is relevant to your audience and feels authentic to your brand.

Make it personal

A positive brand experience draws a person in and captures their attention. Your event can cater to these positive experiences by personalizing the attendee’s journey.

First, collect data from registrants on preferences and demographics.

customizable registration software
With Webex Events’ customizable registration software, personalize the checkout experience, gather data instantly, and port it into the event platform (no spreadsheets required).

Use the data you collect from registration (and your research) to personalize your attendee experiences.

Below are some examples:

  • First touchpoint: Where did your attendee first learn about your event? A sponsors’ social media post or email? If an attendee learned about you from a potential sponsor, personalize future messages, emphasizing the sponsor and/or related messaging.
  • Promotional emails/messaging: What content topics does the attendee like to consume? Highlight related topics in your marketing communications to this segment.
  • Event activities: Leverage the registration process to discover the attendee’s preferences for event activities. Finalize activities based on the data, and choose the most popular. Personalize event reminder emails with the attendee’s preferred activities.
  • Event agenda: Personalize the attendee’s event schedule with their preferred topics. Collect data during registration on the attendee’s job role, chosen session topics, and why they are attending the event (networking, education, new product introduction, etc.). Use this data to group attendees into segments according to roles and preferences to make it easier to create personalized agendas for each one.
  • Push notifications: Send personalized event reminders based on the attendee’s preferred sessions and activities.

Offer immersive activities and opportunities for interaction

Brand experiences should be memorable! Create memorable and unique experiences with immersive activities, fun challenges, and flexible networking.

Immersive events start with interactive live experiences:

  • Live interaction (chat, Q&A, polling): Keep virtual attendees fully engaged with live interactive elements.
  • Live streaming: Hybrid events will require live streaming to a virtual audience.
  • Gamification; contests – Get attendee’s competitive juices flowing with fun and interactive games and contests.
  • Fun and engaging activities: Anything from meditation classes to coffee conversations—as long as it appeals to your attendees, it will work.
  • Mobile event app: Keep your in-person event attendees engaged and participating. A mobile event app acts as an event guide in the palm of your attendees’ hands.
mobile event app
Webex Events’ mobile event app


How can you ensure attendees have experiences that solidify your brand image in their minds? Think about surprising and delighting attendees. This is where creativity comes into play. Not creative? No problem. Below are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Red Bull Kumite

Red Bull does events in a big way. The brand hosts a Red Bull Kumite competition to celebrate fighting video games and their top players. In November 2021, spectators flocked to Las Vegas, Nevada, to watch players compete for the Red Bull Kumite title.

The brand hosted an in-person experience and streamed it live for a virtual audience.

Source

This is an excellent example of creating brand experiences without blatant sales and promotions. Gamers are a large segment of Red Bull’s audience, so these events bring brands and customers together to interact and create memories.

WebexOne 2021

WebexOne was a two-day event held in October of 2021. The event’s purpose was to showcase Webex’s latest innovations and take a “deep dive into Hybrid Work and the transformative power of Customer Experience.”

The brand created numerous opportunities to connect with attendees and make the event more than just an educational session but a truly memorable experience.

They brought in engaging speakers such as Olympic and World Championship gymnast Simone Biles, Founder of Spanx Sarah Blakely, veteran NASA astronaut, author, and artist Nicole Stott and Dr. Sian Proctor, who recently became the first Black woman to pilot a spacecraft: the SpaceX Inspiration4.

webexone

Webex also made the event fun and interactive with games and challenges that kept attendees engaged with the event and its activities.

play "level up"

You don’t have to be Nike or Netflix to create branded experiences. They just have to be relevant to your audience and establish an emotional connection. For more ideas, take a look at our recent article on experiential marketing.

Put your products on display—experientially

Put your products on display—experientially

If your goal is to showcase your products and gain more brand exposure—events are a great way to achieve this goal in a big way. However, be careful not to force your products in front of consumers too much, or it might turn them off. Provide branded experiences, so the product introduction feels more immersive and relational instead of salesy.  

These product displays are also called brand activations, and they can occur with or without an event to help you get brand exposure and affinity. But if you’re hosting an event, these experiences can be a powerful addition to solidify your brand in your attendees’ minds.

BottleRock Napa Valley Festivals

BottleRock in Napa Valley holds ongoing events that connect the brand to its audience via fun and creative experiences. The brand understands how to introduce its product and expose it to more people through an immersive experience.

Event-goers can choose their experience and make memories that last. Yet, they are exposed to the product throughout the event.

BottleRock’s festival spa experience
BottleRock’s festival spa experience with ample branding and product offering for attendees as they enjoy the spa services.

In addition to the bustling music festival, the event also includes a culinary stage, spa, food and drinks, silent disco, and a VIP experience.

BottleRock Napa Valley Silent Disco Experience
BottleRock Napa Valley Silent Disco Experience (Source)

The key is to deliver unique content that allows attendees to have an emotional experience and express themselves. Provide deep immersion into your event, and your attendees will become more connected to your brand and products for the long term.

Power interactive brand experiences with automated event management software

Planning an interactive event is no easy task. It needs to be memorable for attendees and provide them with positive brand experiences.

The right software will facilitate these interactions with features that make event planning seamless and event-going memorable.

Webex Events is an end-to-end event management platform that not only provides seamless event planning but facilitates engaging events.

With Webex Events, you can:

  • Automate registration
  • Personalize attendee experiences
  • Provide easy navigation with a brandable mobile event app
  • Use Live Display to engage and inform attendees
  • Facilitate flexible networking with interactive virtual video rooms
  • Improve experiences with robust analytics and reporting
  • Delight attendees with live session chats, exciting challenges, and social interaction
  • And more!

Schedule a free personalized demo here to see how Webex Events can help you plan your next event!   

Nolan Ether
Nolan Ether

Nolan is a Content Marketing leader at Webex Events (formerly Socio). He’s passionate about helping brands connect with their customers through engaging storytelling and immersive experiences.