Why Brand Experiences should be Instagrammable

Brand experiences today are more multifaceted than ever, and feed on many factors. Nothing works without social media. Products and offers have long since become communication themselves.

Brand experiences today are more multifaceted than ever, and feed on many factors. Nothing works without social media. Products and offers have long since become communication themselves. Tourism and gastronomy in particular show that product experiences today only speak for themselves if they offer sufficient visual stimulation. What is not “insta-capable” does not attract attention and will not be documented and shared by guests. Hotels and restaurants that meet these criteria also meet a clear requirement of the travelling millennials, as a study conducted by Holidaycheck shows.

A good story in words and images

“…travel must be one thing above all else: instagram-able! For the so-called “digital natives” a holiday must also make a good story in both words and pictures, so that what they have experienced can be presented to those at home within their social media channels.” A British survey comes to a similar conclusion: forty percent of all travellers under the age of 33 already choose their destination according to insta-bility. No wonder, then, that “instagrammable” has long since been found in the Urban Dictionary.

It is not only hotels that take advantage of this factor if they let their guests know the official hotel hashtag when they check in or enter their room. Clearly confessing that they are happy when the beautiful backdrop is used for insta selfies and thus promotes the hotel. The essential elements for insta-bility are great crisp colour surfaces and a lot of retro design. In December, the New York Times Style Magazine appropriately chose the “most instagrammable rooms of the year”.

Make it “Insta-friendly”

Around the globe, hotels, restaurants and cafes are emerging that are taking advantage of the urge for recognition, narcissism and media behaviour that has long since reached people beyond the millennium age limit. They have already been designed on this basis and the employees have been trained accordingly. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a major German paper, recently reported on a cruise ship of a German shipping company that already promises its guests “instagrammable moments” – because they are “taken into the most diverse scenarios and spatial experiences”.

Restaurants often master this technology perfectly – from lighting and decor to food presentation, everything is designed to be “insta-friendly” and to create the best possible stage for themselves. Essential support for success: the right designers. Wall decorations, sugar pouches, placemats and napkins are all developed with the photo capability in mind. Sayings like “hug more” and similarly connectable statements help.

Under #thegoodsort you will find over 1,000 pictures of the tiny New York café of the same name – above all its photogenic “rainbow milkshake” shows how colour, food and photos make a great combination. The use of the restaurant’s own hashtags is at least encouraged by some with free drinks or other goodies.

Don’t forget usability, too.

Just: especially when travelling or eating, it’s about more than just a beautiful appearance – it’s about the whole experience. I recently was able to experience this first hand. As chance would have it, in an absolutely “instagrammable place” – the successful hotel revival of an aging 70s house with the help of beautiful colours, jungle wallpaper, neon designs and designer furniture. The matching hashtag was also included in the room instructions.
However, service was in short supply in this wonderfully colourful world. Free extras such as cosmetic products on request, quick troubleshooting for problems and a few nice words at check-in – these are still elements of the brand experience that may not be photogenic, but turn a brand experience into an experience instead of just a wallpaper. In addition to all the visual highlights it would have taken just that – to post the pretty pictures with a #totalsatisfaction comment.

So what use is a nice stage if the beautiful surface lacks sufficient usability? In the fight for attention #instagrammableservices might become the next step in the customer experience. Not quite as colorful – but even closer to the needs of the guests. For millennials, too, it’s not just about documenting the moments, it’s about the moment itself.

The article originally appeared as a column in the absatzwirtschaft in March 2019.

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