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These Brands Have Mastered The Digital-To-Physical Experience

Millennials are known for loving the crazy amount of convenience, personalization, and meaningful engagement that digital experiences offer. But people still crave the human element of in-person experiences, and they continue to prefer brands that meet them face to face.

The most successful companies offer the best of both worlds: the convenience of digital with a personal touch.

In three industries—music, hospitality, and beauty—certain brands have mastered the art of personalizing the digital-to-physical experience.

Switching Tempo In The Music Industry
When it comes to personal taste, nothing says “individual” like music.

In the blink of an eye, the music industry evolved from vinyl records and CDs to streaming subscriptions. Each new format along that journey made music easier to listen to and more customizable—just what consumers wanted. Industry players even shrank song intros from 20 seconds to five seconds for time-pressed listeners.

The music industry demonstrates why it’s so important for brands to evolve along with both technology and consumer tastes. They must be proactive, monitoring new tools that can be tailored to the customer experience.

Spotify, for example, used its extensive knowledge of music and culture to create exceptional experiences at this year’s top events, including the world’s biggest consumer technology trade show, CES. One of the brand’s most interesting installations highlighted a popular curated playlist, Time Capsule, which offered people a personalized soundtrack of nostalgia-inducing songs compiled by using a mix of humans and AI.

Providing Unparalleled Service In Hospitality
Today’s generation of travelers craves new and exciting experiences, and the hospitality industry knows how to please. Last year alone, travel and tourism took in close to $1.6 trillion in revenue.

Airbnb and HomeAway have used experiential marketing to make rapid strides in a world previously dominated by hotels—and they have gained consumer attention by promoting unique, local guest experiences all over the world. In 2017, for instance, Airbnb outfitted a London home with features such as an indoor greenhouse and garden bedroom in collaboration with Pantone. And at the 2018 Austin City Limits Music Festival, HomeAway gave a sweepstakes winner VIP tickets, festival survival supplies, and the chance to stay within the festival grounds—a rare experience indeed.

These hospitality newcomers are experts in brand storytelling, leveraging travelers’ personal experiences and inviting other consumers to imagine themselves in their shoes.

As always, the most successful brands are listening to customer preferences, showing appreciation for repeat customers, and catering to individual consumers while leveraging technology in creative ways. From 360-degree tours to virtual reality videos, the brands that invite customers into the heart of the experiences they provide forge deeper connections than their less-immersive competitors.

Creating Meaningful Engagement In Beauty
Speaking of immersive experiences, no industry has mastered experiential marketing quite like the beauty industry.

Many beauty brands have a huge online following with fans who love to engage with video tutorials, get sneak peeks of new products, and find out insider information on upcoming events. That online pull translates into the physical world. When beauty brands humanize their customers online—through blog posts, insider videos, and the like—those customers become more engaged, which allows the brands to generate buzz for their events.

The beauty industry does a good job of creating a sense of personal belonging with consumers. At Beautycon New York this year, 20,000 attendees crowded in to see their favorite influencers, grab branded merch, and bond with fellow beauty obsessives. Beautycon is planning its own pop-ups on the road in 2019. (If you recall, Birchbox, a popular subscription service for personalized beauty and style products, did the same a few years back, curating beauty-based elements to make customers feel more like they were visiting a friend than going to a store.)

Attendees at Beautycon—like those at CES, music festivals, and car shows—easily could have ordered their products online. But that’s not the point.

Consumers flock to these experiences because the industries that host them know what their audiences want. They turn brand personas into real-life engagements, delivering on promises and letting fans in on the action. If brands in other industries learn from how those in music, hospitality, and beauty do it, they'll soon realize just how powerful a personal consumer connection can be.

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