A lot of people talk about creating a brand experience. Miraya and Liang, co-founders of Desserts Goals, actually do it.
I recently read about Dessert Goals in FORBES and were instantly drawn to their brand story and uncommon experience design approach. Dessert Goals is on a mission to create festival-inspired dessert experiences. Their multi-sensory strategy has created a memorable product experience that all brands can learn from and be inspired by.
I had the opportunity to talk to the co-founders to learn more about their brand and thoughtful experience-driven strategy. The idea was simple and storyesque. One hot summer while swooning over their love of shaved snow, Miraya and Liang realized there wasn’t an experience to explore different types of desserts, so they decided to create one. With Miraya’s background in events and Liang’s in design it was the perfect match. One year later, four events, two cities and 7,000+ attendees they have created a resonate experience.
People are looking for deeper reasons to connect.
There is a lot of talk about ‘experience’ and its role in design and business. Whether it’s applied to user experience, customer experience or the employee experience, there is a growing desire to create remarkable customer interactions which are memorable and inspiring.
Curate a powerful physical connection to a brand by engaging the senses.
Most forms of marketing communication engage two senses—sight and sound. But a compelling brand experience is made by touching and triggering all five senses. By creating richer, more textural environments, brands can effectively create entire worlds of experiences and unlock authentic emotional responses.
What’s surprising is that only 28% of marketers in North America (and just 13% in Western Europe) are harnessing the power of all five senses to engage audiences. Yet, today’s technological innovations make it easier than ever to craft a multi-sensory brand experience that allows consumers to interact with brands in a much more well-rounded way.
Create a strategy that appeals to each of the senses.
Dessert Goals is a superb example of a multi-sensory brand strategy that appeals to all five senses and engages people through a variety of touchpoints. The strategy focuses on these five elements: Five Senses, Friendliness, Elements of Discovery, Visual Stories, and Growing Mindfully.
Consider all five senses. Liang firmly believes in designing for all five senses. Before every event he and Miraya consider what elements they think will be memorable. They map out the attendee experience—from entry to exit—and brainstorm ways to surprise and delight at every step, from water while waiting in line, to dessert smells at the entrance, to photo opps, salty snacks as a palate cleanse and a sugary sweet soundtrack. “We take every aspect of the experience into consideration, not only what you see and taste, but even the music we curate is meant to give you vibes of nostalgia and fun. We also strategically place vendors around the room based on scent. There are a lot of things we take into consideration beyond just putting together a bunch of desserts in a room with a bunch of people.”
The friendly component. When designing each event, they consider experiences they’d like to have with their friends and create the entire event around those intentions. When experiences are made with a deep personal connection they often lead to the creation of something much more special and provide a greater degree of intimacy.
Design elements of discovery. There are three key emotions Dessert Goals aims to provoke: discovery, nostalgia and fun. They create an environment that encourages people to discover things they’ve never tried. The curation of food at each festival is a mix of the hottest desserts in the city combined with a range of sweets from different cultures to create a variety that encourages adventure and exploration. The nostalgia and fun are evoked from classic tunes like Spice Girls and S Club 7, silly photo stages with inflatable unicorns, colored cotton candy and more. And free candy is offered throughout to make guests feel like a kid in a candy store. To ensure a truly personal experience, they sell tickets in time slots so guests enter for 1.5 hours and the ratio of vendors to attendees keeps the lines short.
Craft visual stories that portray the outcome. Social media plays a large part in Dessert Goals’ growth strategy. Liang and Miraya spend a lot of time thinking through and shooting content for their Instagram account which is often the first contact guests have with the brand. The driving factor for their visual story is fun. Lots of bright colors, shapes and playful typography make the experience Instagrammable for guests connecting with and sharing their brand online. “We want to stand out from how others typically shoot food and desserts” says Liang. All of their social media accounts are managed in-house to maintain the style and quality they envision for their brand.
Grow mindfully. Dessert Goals is influenced and inspired by fun and travel, so the two founders have created a business strategy that considers these two factors, giving them the flexibility to balance life and work. “I think we hear about so many of these overnight success stories with businesses where founders sacrifice their lives to make it happen. We’re definitely open and excited about new possibilities, but right now as just the two of us, we’re trying to be kind to ourselves and mindful in the way we grow” says Miraya.
Taking advantage of multi-sensory driven strategy is one of the smartest ways for brands to trigger emotion and the create memories. To stand out, immerse your customers in an experience and a feeling. Brands that appeal to multiple senses will be more successful than brands that only focus on one or two. By thinking uncommonly about how they connect with their customers, brands can create longer-lasting, memorable impressions that have people evangelizing for them.
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