THE BLOG
08/11/2014 12:35 EDT | Updated 10/11/2014 05:59 EDT

How Brands Can Connect With Vacationing Customers

Summer in Canada is short. For four months of the year, the majority of Canadians are heading to patios, beaches and national parks -- anywhere they can soak in the sunshine and try to forget about the frigid winter that just passed. To truly win over consumers we need to provide timely value and relevance with every touch point.

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Summer in Canada is short. For four months of the year, the majority of Canadians are heading to patios, beaches and national parks -- anywhere they can soak in the sunshine and try to forget about the frigid winter that just passed. Out of office, out of their homes and out of touch with much of their day-to-day routines lead to my burning question: as marketers, how do we market to consumers whose minds are on summer holidays? How do brands stay top of mind during a season where many consumers would rather turn off and tune out?

With Canadians taking holidays between June and September, marketers need to become more sophisticated with their approach to captivating their audience. It is no longer effective to target consumers through one traditional advertising medium. To truly engage and activate one's brand, marketers need to connect with consumers in a timely, relevant way using cross-platform campaigns that are both engaging and creative. Technology has helped lead the charge with these types of campaigns, taking advertising to an abundance of new electronic platforms from phones to computers to tablets. Successful marketers now engage audiences by combining elements of traditional and digital to get peoples' attention and create the perfect mix of reach, resonance and reaction.

Creating Living, Breathing, Digital Experiences

From our recent digital trends research -- a market research study focusing on the Canadian consumer trends and digital behaviors that are shaping the way companies interact with consumers -- we found that Canadians want digital experiences to take them beyond the simple sights and sounds of their devices. We call this "Enhancing the Real". In an age where people are spending more and more time in front of screens, marketers are now collaborating with tech developers and innovators to discover new ways of heightening consumers' everyday experiences and bring them closer to their brands. These enhanced experiences can lead to the secret ingredient for summer cross-platform marketing campaigns, especially those in highly-competitive or low-interest markets.

Some of the best examples of successful and impactful cross-platform marketing campaigns happen every summer during Hollywood's blockbuster season. The summer triggers fierce competition amongst the major movie studios who are hoping to persuade millions of fans to head indoors and watch the year's biggest films. The marketers behind these movies use a mix of traditional and transmedia to capture people's interest and imaginations -- putting fans at the center of the story and leaving them wanting more.

Marvel's blockbuster hit, The Avengers, used a mix of print, video and interactive media, which reached comic fans in wherever they were. Included in the mix was an Avengers Augmented Reality App created by Walmart to drive a real-time gaming interaction in their stores and allow mobile users to see the world through the eyes of their favorite Avenger. Bringing a full circle experience back to consumers, the gamification app led consumers directly to retail to engage in additional product and merchandise. The Avengers grabbed consumer attention. How? Simple. They brought the movie to life, creating an interactive experience that brought consumers 'into' The Avengers brand, making consumers feel part of The Avengers team. The opening of the Avengers was a huge success, crushing box office records and grossing more than $200 million during its opening weekend. For the rest of the summer, millions of people flocked to the cinema to spend part of their weekend or holiday inside a packed movie theatre to engage further with the brand.

Check-out to Check-in

With so many electronic devices strapped to us at all hours of the day, it has also become increasingly common for people to disconnect when they head out on holiday. Again, our study highlighted this trend as a desire to be "IntelligentlyOn" and have technology anticipate when we want to be connected.

If people are disconnecting completely, how it is possible to ensure that a brand is top of mind when a purchasing decision is to be made? Marketers need to be aware of this insight and ensure messaging relates to mindset. Corona's brand has always associated itself with paradise, letting go and relaxation.

Corona's 'Find Your Beach' campaign brought the beach to the concrete jungle, showcasing beaches in untraditional spaces from mountains to night clubs, fully immersing urban consumers in the Corona way of life. Once vacationers finally got to their sunny, beach holiday, Corona remains top of mind by placing their logo on anything and everything that is associated with a tropical beach getaway, from bathing suits to bottle openers and beach balls. They take the approach that no stone should be left unturned and leverage any platform as a touch point to sell their brand experience.

Don't Be Left Behind

Consumers are spending more and more time with their digital devices. There is so much stimulation day-to-day that companies need to be able to effectively identify which experiences are most relevant to their brand and engage consumers with a multi-faceted, dynamic campaign, no longer relying one touch point. To be successful, marketers need to immerse their brand into the consumers' values, lifestyle and identity in order to be top of mind when they are on vacation. Strategic placements are the first step, but to truly win over consumers we need to provide timely value and relevance with every touch point. Be the brand that aligns with their personal brand. Be the brand that consumers identify with and evangelize. Be the brand consumers can't live without.