Jack Morton writes about this concept called Experience Brands, and I'm kind of obsessed with the idea. As consumers become more and more accustomed to perceiving brands through layers and layers of information, multimedia communication, third-party reviews and super-developed images, a good brand has to have a 360 angle.
An experience brand is a brand that doesn't just have a logo, letterhead and mission statement. They don't buy ad space and call it a day. They create pop-up compost canteens and serve food in New York City -- even though they sell bags. They start an enormous music festival around the ideals of their company -- even though they sell salads.
Here are a few awesome examples:
Sweetgreen's Sweetlife Music Festival in Virginia brings great artists to a stage that emulates the earthy, organic, fashionable vibe of the salad-focused restaurants Sweetgreen has around the Washington DC area and East Coast.
Freitag, who just opened their first flagship store in the US, in NYC near the New Museum, set up a composting canteen during NYC's Festival of Ideas where people could browse the bags, buy some delicious carrot soup, and bring their own trash to compost. I especially liked the Freitag-designed composting bins made from the same material as the bags.
And this concept from Argentina's Norte Beer is just hilarious! They created a community-building effort around buying their beer. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM6pNpGXdTc]
The key is that all these unusual brand-experiences may not have much to do with experiencing the product, but they are so in line with the values and mission of the companies that they do so much more than sell bags, salads or beer. They sell the brand.