The future of brands and brand storytelling belongs to Location-Based Entertainment (LBE). Here’s how to be one of the first to get there.

Louis Alfieri Lessons in Business Raven Sun CreativeThe evidence that LBE is the future of brands and brand storytelling is all around us. The writing isn’t just on the wall; it is projection mapped in letters thirty stories tall. Louis Alfieri from Raven Sun Creative takes a closer look at the topic.

The landscape of brick-and-mortar retail is in a state of rapid transformation. Retailers are embracing retailtainment and experiential models and malls are reinventing themselves as lifestyle hubs. Digital brands, like Google and Amazon, which were hyped to spell the absolute end of brick-and-mortar have now made their own move into the physical world.  For blockbuster entertainment franchises, theme parks and brand destinations have emerged the next natural frontier to conquer. Business models and sectors are in flux as the lines are being blurred, challenged, and redefined.

Physical destinations remain as important as ever.

In fact, in this Age of Convergence, physical destinations have become the ultimate platform for delivering what the consumer wants: transformative experiences. Consumer engagement is making a shift towards guest engagement.

In this new world, location-based entertainment is the essential pillar for any brand that wishes to compete and thrive. Here are five ways to use Location Based Entertainment to build your brand and be one of the first to realise this emerging market opportunity:

Use Location Based Entertainment as the medium of your brand storytelling.

brand storytelling Gardens by the Bay

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay is another extraordinary example of the power of brand storytelling. The monumental urban redevelopment project has helped transform the nation’s image from a business-first juggernaut to the Garden City leading a global green revolution. (Photo by Jason Goh, Pixbay)

Successful LBE is more than just a layer of show or razzle-dazzle applied to the same old model. It is the adaptation of the brand identity into an extraordinary world that the consumer can become a part of. Ventures like Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Legoland Discovery Centers, Tiffany’s Style Studio, Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, the luxury real estate developments of high-end brands like Armani, Porsche, or Fendi are all manifestations of strong brand storytelling.

Make sure your consumer is the hero of the story, not the brand.

Brand storytelling is a collaborative act with the consumer. The consumer, like all of us, already has their own story, one in which they are the hero. So the brands that succeed find ways to contribute meaningfully to that story. The brand fulfils the role of a guide, a mentor, a trusted source. If the consumer is Harry Potter, an LBE brand destination is both Dumbledore and Hogwarts all rolled into one. In LBE, the brand should empower and also elevate the consumer. You want to introduce them to an extraordinary world where they can attain their aspirational life.

You need a clear and powerful value proposition to maximise delivering a great LBE experience.

brand storytelling Iron Man experience Hong Kong

The Iron Man Experience at Hong Kong Disneyland. The adaptation of blockbuster franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars to LBE is also changing audience expectations about the future of brand identity. (Photo by Raven Sun Creative)

LBE is the set of tools we use to build worlds that bring value to the consumer. At the heart of every great branded destination, no matter how complex or sophisticated, is an insightful value proposition, one that expresses the essence of the customer-brand relationship with simplicity and clarity. Just as how in a good film, every shot, every line of dialogue is in service of moving the story forward, in LBE, every feature of the world you create also serves to realise that value proposition.

Know your audience.

While the value proposition expresses the dynamic at the heart of the customer-brand relationship, it tells only a small portion of the story. Guest engagement also requires a deep understanding of what makes your target audience tick on an emotional, social, and cultural level; what their problems, desires, habits, and aspirations are.

The goal of a brand is to create content, environments, and experiences that the consumer wants to participate in. So, this requires a deep dive into understanding who they are and turning those insights into actionable results and interactions. To this end, you should also illustrate the entire Customer Journey Map. This is so you can analyse, and understand all of your brand’s intersection points with the consumer.

Raven Sun Creative brand storytelling LBE

An indispensable tool for a brand storyteller – a journey map also provides a deeper understanding of how the customer experiences your brand across all touchpoints. (Graphic by Raven Sun Creative)

Be authentic to who you are.

Let’s face it, there are a lot of smart and talented people in the world, and many of them are providing essentially the same products and service you are, whether that is an LBE designer, a film about a hero’s origin story, a beach resort, or an entire cruise ship. Therefore, it’s your team’s collective presence, your attitude, your level of service, your knowledge, and the relationship you develop with the consumer that sets your brand apart.

Create content and experiences that are a true reflection of you that the customer cannot obtain elsewhere. This requires a thorough understanding of who you are, and also an emphasis on leveraging the best intersection points of your brand’s mission, vision, values, and value proposition with your consumer’s journey.

Top image courtesy of Hersheypark and the Hershey Company.