Recently I was reminded of a phrase: “Build and they will come”.
It’s the classic line from the 1989 baseball movie starring Kevin Costner, Field of Dreams. Costner plays an Iowa corn farmer who interprets the voices he hears as a command to build a baseball diamond in his field. And what happens after he does that? The 1919 Chicago White Sox come.
Could you apply the mantra to today’s visitor or brand experience? Would visitors come simply because you have built something – anything?
The answer is, unfortunately, no.
Today’s visitors have more choices. They are also more sophisticated and discerning when it comes to deciding how and where they want to spend their time.
How then do you appeal to your target visitors?
STEP 1 – BEGIN WITH YOUR VISITOR
When conceptualising an experience, be it virtual or physical, start with your visitors. They are the reason why you have decided to create the experience in the first place. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are your visitors?
- What are they like?
- What kind of experience are they looking forward to?
- What are the perceptions and misconceptions they have about your organisation or brand?
- How do they process information?
- How do they behave?
- How much time do they intend to spend on the experience?
STEP 2 – SET YOUR OBJECTIVES
Now that you have sorted out who your target visitors are and how they behave, you need to truly know what you want to achieve with the experience. Think through your goals using these questions:
- What are the objectives and messages that you want to share with your visitors?
- How can you achieve your aims in the most effective and efficient way?
- How can you continue the visitor engagement even after the virtual or physical experience has ended so that you get maximum ROI?
STEP 3 – MAKE YOUR CONTENT RELATABLE
Having a nicely designed place is still a necessity when it comes to branded environments, even virtual ones. But while visitors may visit if your space looks nice, different or is new, they may not return or remember if your experience doesn’t have content that relates to or engages them. And the worse thing that may happen? Those who have visited leaving negative reviews to share with others. This defeats the purpose of spending so many resources to present the experience.
That’s why having relatable content comes next. Some people call this the content-led approach. When thinking about your content, let these content-focused questions guide you:
- What content do you have that attracts people?
- What content do you have that people are familiar with?
- What misconceptions do people have about you?
- What is the latest trending information people are sharing about you?
- What are some amazing (or jaw-dropping) statistics that you have?
- What is the “top secret” content that you haven’t shared before?
During the process of curating your experience, design will influence your content, and content may also be changed to complement the design. But that’s not to say that one is more important than the other. Content and design need to go hand in hand for an experience that your visitors will remember fondly for a long time to come.
“Build and they will come” may have worked for Kevin Costner’s character. But that’s the stuff of Hollywood dreams. It’s disastrous advice for a venue owner or any brand looking to create a worthy experience for today’s visitors.