Guest Column - September/October 2012

Personalize Your Brand and Enhance Your Experience

By Joe Zanone

While working with a client recently, I was asked how to make the experience of receiving a watch more memorable, exciting, custom (personal) and unforgettable. I was stuck and a little confused about what they were trying to accomplish. I can engrave the case back or in some cases add a company logo to the dial (face), but I was looking for more.

Trying to re-think the experience, I turned to some of my favorite brands for inspiration and to ask the question: How do you make this memorable, exciting, custom and unforgettable? Many great ideas came from these brands from both past experience and practical implementation. Many of these brand leaders also came up with great ideas to enhance a brand experience.

When taken together, all of this expert advice reinforces two keys to successfully delivering an exciting and memorable experience. First, you should work with knowledgeable experts who have experience putting such programs together. And second, don't be afraid to get creative.

Here are some of the best ideas industry leaders had to share.

In terms of luggage, I found that some companies set up a luggage shopping adventure, complete with packing demos, travel review and bag selection based on travel patterns. Others offered custom panels on the bag with corporate logo, and even went so far as to have the event logo custom-designed by the event attendees. At the end of the event, new custom luggage was available to the participants, complete with their custom design. Some companies allow for a cocktail party and shopping event to be held within their own Company Boutiques.

As for table top, I found some companies use etching in the crystal to remember or identify the corporation and event. One of the coolest events I heard about involved teams collaborating in a working kitchen alongside a chef to create a memorable meal. As part of the event, the teams also had to "shop" for dinnerware, flatware, china, crystal and table décor. The teams were invited into a "showroom" set up by this company and were educated on the proper way to create a table based upon their dinner preparations. There were five teams, and each team prepared a course for the dinner, set the tables, decorated the dining table for their portions of the meal and traveled from table to table experiencing a great meal, great table design and really exciting team building. As a reward, the company sent a four-piece place setting along with silver, china and crystal to each participant based upon what their teams used in the competition. Wines were also sent to each participant, along with the recipe books put together by the five team chefs. Now that sounds like something I would really enjoy!

Asking all of my friends in the electronics industry, most had shopping events and product demos to offer for a corporate event. One electronics provider went several steps further by having the group of attendees participate in a building project through Habitat for Humanity. The group actually went to a Habitat site and worked on the home. As part of the event, the electronics firm donated a complete home audio system and taught the attendees how to install and create sound space throughout a home. The event was both good for the local community and created a great team-building experience. Everyone commented on how great the experience was and how they would be interested in participating in these types of projects once they return home. As the "reward" for helping, everyone received an in-home audio system for their own usage.