How to Harness Linking Value to Create Brand Affinity

Emily Lyons
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Key Takeaways

​What? Experiential marketing can provide a real connection for consumers.

So what? Social links built by brands can be more valuable than a product or service.

Now what? Experiential marketers should generate linking value via live brand experiences that spark interactions among consumers with similar desires and aspirations.

​July 12, 2017

We crave connection and bonds with other people. This is especially relevant in the 21st century because feelings of loneliness and social isolation may be on the rise–so much so that it’s been described as a “modern-day epidemic.”

That brings us to the marketing concept of linking value and why it renders experiential marketing (marketing built on live brand experiences) a branding and marketing strategy with explosive potential.

Linking value is the idea that goods and services create social bonds with other people. They are tools that foster social links and spark social connection. 

Sociological research shows that individuals in today’s world value the social links created by a product more than they value the actual product or service.

In short, goods and services will be more valued, purchased more and more deeply embedded in society and culture if they are capable of forming meaningful social bonds that are elusive in an era buzzing with smartphones and tablets, laptops and smartwatches.

The challenge that marketers and branding experts face when striving to be seen in a marketplace jostling with competitors is generating linking value in a brand’s products or services.

What’s needed is the fundamental understanding that the linking value of a product or service only results from people interacting with each other. If we use this as the starting point to grasp how linking value is generated and as one of the core ideas to inspire and inform a marketing campaign, then we can see the potential in experiential marketing to add different layers of linking value to a brand’s products and services.

In the marketing and advertising arena, event-based and experience-based marketing channels are one of the few ways to consistently bring a target audience together and forge exciting and significant interactions among them. In a live brand experience, the crowd is arguably the most important element of the experience. Everything else simply facilitates deeper interactions among consumers with themselves, between consumers and brand ambassadors and between consumers and the brand itself.

Live brand experiences immediately add linking value to a brand’s products and services by creating interactions among consumers who have similar desires and aspirations. Because these live brand experiences are positive events in the mind of the consumer (partially because of the social interactions with other people), the experience itself becomes a tool for connecting and bonding with others by, for example, talking with family members or friends about the stimulating, captivating experience. In this way, the marketing channel itself infuses the brand with linking value through live brand experiences.

The insight that experiential marketing adds linking value to a brand can help guide ideation, design and execution of live brand experiences. If live brand experiences are created to not only be fully immersive, but also designed to encourage interactions among the experience-goers themselves, then the campaign will have a strong long-term ROI and keep adding more and more equity to the brand.


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Author Bio:

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Emily Lyons
Emily Lyons is the founder and CEO of <a href="https://www.femmefatalemedia.com/" target="_blank">Femme Fatale Media Group</a>, one of North America's top experiential marketing and event staffing agencies. She has garnered the business of brands including Warner Bros., The National Bank, Sony and of celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Drake.
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