On our trip to Santa Fe a couple of weeks ago, we visited the original Meow Wolf. If you’re not familiar, Meow Wolf is an immersive and interactive art and story experience. There are locations in Santa Fe, Denver, and Las Vegas now.
For example, the Santa Fe experience is called “House of Eternal Return,” and when you walk in, you literally see a two-story Victorian house complete with a wraparound porch, a TV on in the living room, bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, etc.
But each room hides secrets. Open the closet in the kids’ room and you’re transported into a cave-like space with a giant mammoth skeleton with ribs that make music like a xylophone. Or find the hidden door under the stairs and you’re suddenly in a super-modern corridor to a transportation hub where a robot directs you toward multiple other worlds. Open the refrigerator door and literally walk through into another world.
That’s just a tiny sliver of what you can uncover in this experience. (We just wandered around, for example, but there’s a mystery you can solve that’s part of a bigger story.)
It got me thinking that I’d love to see this sort of immersive experience translated into a marketing experience. Not a physical space that your clients walkthrough, necessarily (although…) but an immersive, engaging, storytelling experience for your brand.
It made me think about what makes Meow Wolf work:
- They use dozens of artists to create the experience for each location. For a marketing experience, that might translate to lots of experts helping you create your vision (instead of trying to create it all by yourself).
- The different pieces are distinct, but interconnected. Think about how your different channels might interrelate for your marketing, ie: how does your podcast interact with your website or blog and your social media channels to create a more immersive experience?
- Story is key — so how are you weaving story into your marketing? This could be a fiction story (ala Ace Stone, Marketing Detective) but it could also be your customer journey, testimonials or case studies as stories, or your brand story.
- The experience of Meow Wolf is so rich because of the incredible details and easter eggs. The lost hamster from the kids’ room turns up in several places; the robot from the transportation hub offers to tell your fortune in the arcade. You can add fun details and easter eggs to your marketing, too — through repeating design elements, inside “jokes” that regular readers or listeners will get, etc. Even something like the fact that I use a typewriter font for my emails is a detail that carries my brand experience through every touchpoint.
- The experience creates an immersive world. Your brand can be similar — and it doesn’t have to be something “gimmicky” like my detective agency brand. We’ve worked with several coaching brands who wove the experience of luxury throughout their branding with imagery, the words we chose for copy and content, the backgrounds in their videos, the fonts on the buttons on their website, etc. Everything is immersive and included in the experience.
What story would you want to tell with your marketing experience?
Would it be fantastical? Logical? Aspirational? Funny? Uplifting? Scary (like a horror movie)?
How do you want people to feel when they experience your marketing or brand?
What do your clients need to feel, do, become, or understand before they’re ready to work with you? How can you lead them through an immersive experience to help them arrive at that level of readiness?
How will your different channels (that you already use) all add to the experience? Will you have different content for each channel — so that they need to follow you everywhere for the complete experience — or will you repurpose the same kind of content across each channel?
Notice how they hint at the actual thing they are selling (tickets to the experience in Las Vegas) but the content doesn’t have that direct, “Here’s why you should buy from us today!” type of message.
How could you apply this kind of idea to your next course, workshop, webinar, or event? And please note — this example is obviously in the fiction realm of things, but you could keep your version firmly planted in non-fiction if that works more for your brand.
Just in the genre of commercials, I could see…
- A “psychic hotline” commercial for a life coach or energy worker
- A Ronco-style infomercial for a course (“Set it and forget it!” “But wait! THERE’S MORE!”)
- A monster truck rally-style commercial for a live event. (Sunday, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!!!)
- A perfume-style commercial for a luxury coaching experience
All good places to start to explore this idea, and if you’d like to explore this with me in a more formal way, let’s chat.