Freeman Releases Brand Experience Survey Results, Acquires Fusion Brand Experiences

June 27, 2017

A recently released independent global study demonstrates that CMOs, brand managers and event planners across the world are putting more emphasis on in-person brand experiences.

This is according to the 2017 Freeman Global Brand Experience Study, conducted by Freeman and SSI, provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and B-to-B survey research, which polled nearly 1,000 marketing professionals across North America, Asia and Western Europe in roles focused on both B-to-B and B-to-C segments.

The results confirmed that brand experiences matter to marketers, who trust well-designed, sensory experiences to build relationships, drive sales and appeal to new audiences, and that brand experience now is more central to their roles than ever before.

As marketers see the positive results from immersive, personalized brand experiences – encompassing everything from events, trade shows, sponsorships, virtual and hybrid events and exhibits, to permanent installations, virtual or augmented reality experiences and cutting-edge pop-ups – they expect to increase spend in this area to get closer to customers, build loyalty and remain top-of-mind in purchase decisions.

“The role of brand experience continues to increase in scope and importance as audience expectations evolve,” said Chris Cavanaugh, Freeman executive vice president and CMO.

He continued, “Steep competition, changing demographics and more sophisticated audiences mean now, more than ever, marketers need new approaches. The right brand experiences have the power to evolve brands, build relationships and inspire action. Our new research helps us understand brand experience as a medium of the future.”

Those polled believe both B-to-B and consumer audiences seek more personalized interactions with brands, with more than nine out of 10 agreeing that brand experiences deliver stronger face-to-face interactions and more compelling brand engagements.

In addition, more than two-thirds of survey respondents agree that brand experience is an effective way to reach their organizations’ goals.

Key survey findings include: 

·      By and large, marketers feel brand experience is great for building loyalty, with 59 percent of CMOs recognizing brand experience for its ability to create ongoing relationships with key audiences.

·      As marketers realize the value of brand experiences, they are shifting spend, with more than one in three CMOs expecting to allocate 21-50 percent of their budget to brand experience marketing over the next three to five years.

·      Marketers believe in customizing experiences to create stronger connections, yet they may not be moving fast enough by taking advantage of the extensive array of game-changing technology now available. Currently, the top three tactics being used to drive brand experience are standard methods: website (58 percent), social media (57 percent) and email marketing (51 percent).

·      Companies involved in more than 20 events per year are taking greater advantage of more immersive, interactive technology tools, including interactive touch screens, location mapping, virtual reality and gamification.

·      In Asia especially, marketers appear to be early adopters of more immersive, interactive technologies, with 42 percent tapping into sensory interaction as a way to personalize brand experience, compared to 28 percent in North America and 13 percent in Western Europe.

·      Brand experience is growing across all sectors, yet when looking at marketing roles within an organization, there is a disconnect that provides an opportunity for greater alignment. For example, 48 percent of CMOs value brand experience for its ability to showcase thought leadership, yet that number drops to 33 percent among brand managers and 28 percent among event planners.

·      Fifty-eight percent of CMOs believe that brand experience helps increase advocacy, yet those numbers drop by 13-18 percent when considered by brand managers and event planners.

To read more insights or download the full survey, go ]]>here]]>.

In keeping with its mission to deliver immersive and engaging brand experiences for its clients, Freeman also recently acquired Fusion Brand Experiences.

Known for its strategic communications and marketing expertise, along with the ability to develop innovative creative solutions to deliver engaging experiences, the Philadelphia-based boutique agency will now become part of FreemanXP.

“Like Freeman, the team at Fusion are storytellers who make brands relevant to the lives of those they touch,” said Dan Hoffend, FreemanXP president.

He added, “The addition of Fusion to our existing team at FreemanXP enables us to offer our growing global client base best-in-class expertise across every aspect of brand experience marketing. We are incredibly happy to welcome Fusion to Freeman.”

Also joining Freeman is Fusion President Steve Lajoie, an Emmy award-winning director who has led several successful marketing agencies over the last 25 years.

“We are so excited to join Freeman,” Lajoie said. “Brand experiences continue to grow in significance for companies looking to connect with their customers, employees, shareholders, partners and consumers.

He continued, “Creating experiences that surprise and engage while advancing business objectives has been our mission since the inception of Fusion, and we are thrilled to have the power of Freeman behind us to accelerate results for our clients.”

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