As a copywriter, I was conditioned to consider the consumer’s attention span, or lack thereof, and try to make every interaction with a brand worthwhile. Ensuring that value exchange is the responsibility of every creative marketer.
What if we applied that same standard when collecting first party data?
It’s reasonable to assume the more seamless and engaging the solicitation for customer information, the better your chances of establishing and fostering direct relationships. So why are there still so many blasé surveys?
Just as creative strategies emerged to differentiate products and services and help brands compete in the marketplace, data collection strategies and tactics evolve to better engage consumers, offering them greater experiential value in exchange for their time and effort.
Some marketers are already taking the consumer experience into consideration when asking for consumer information. Here are 3 examples of brands thinking beyond the typical form fields:
Curio by Hilton®: #BeCurious Personality Profiler
To build a richer database for its new portfolio of boutique hotels, Hilton could’ve asked prospective vacationers to fill out a detailed survey about their travel preferences. Instead, the brand invited consumers to discover their unique travel style by selecting which vacation-oriented images appealed to them most.
After completing their travel personality profile, users revealed their “curiosity gene”, and could then enter for a chance to win a vacation package to the Curio Collection property best suited to their tastes and preferences.
These interactions not only inspired prospective travelers to imagine what staying at a Hilton Curio hotel would be like, it also provided the brand with valuable insight about consumers’ ideal destinations and experiences.
Norton™ by Symantec®‘Discover Your Powers’ Virtual Environment
With a wide range of cyber protection services to offer consumers, Norton wanted to better understand how much people actually know about privacy and security. But gaining that kind of nuanced insight would make for a pretty dry questionnaire.
Through a sponsorship activation of the Warner Bros. Pictures film Man of Steel, Norton invited consumers to ‘Discover Your Powers’ by engaging in various trivia challenges within a virtual Metropolis. Participants explored the 360-degree environment to reveal potentially risky cyber scenarios, and could answer questions related to each scenario to test their security smarts – with correct answers earning them chances to instantly win prizes.
The experience not only educated consumers about the myriad risks of cyber attacks, every interaction helped Norton better understand consumer comprehension and perceptions of privacy and security.
Disney Parks & Resorts: Stick Figure Family Generator
Few if any brands have more effusive fans than Disney. Their adoration is rooted in the expectation that every interaction with the brand will be a positive and enjoyable experience. So when Disney Parks wanted to connect with its customer base on a more personal level, the brand ‘added a little magic’ to the usual acquisition tactics.
Foregoing bland form fields as the means of collecting data, fans were invited to “Build Their Disney Family” by providing information about each family member – including pets – to create stick figure caricatures of their whole clan, represented in Disney Parks-themed attire.
The more details Disney fans shared about themselves, the more customization options they unlocked, and the more personalized their Disney Stick Figure Families became.
Realizing the activity of building your own Disney Family would be even more compelling if consumers could show off their creations in the real world, the brand offered to mail fans their stick figure families as a vinyl sticker, directly to their home address.
As the race to create and foster direct consumer relationships accelerates, the brands that develop more engaging data collection strategies and tactics will have a head start. Offering experiences that make people feel understood, empowered or appreciated increases the odds they’ll register and respond, and better qualifies the information they provide.
Everyone wants to know their customers better. Let’s start by coming up with better ways to serve up a survey.

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