We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, provide social media features, and enhance and customize content and advertisements. Learn more

Table of contents

Text Link
SHARE THIS ARTICLE

What is a Brand Home and Why Does it Matter?

Brand homes, sometimes called brand houses, are experiential and interpretive venues designed to connect brands and consumers to build advocacy, foster community, and grow revenue. 

This is a new way to experience a brand, one that’s growing increasingly popular with alcohol and CPG companies that want to show off how the sausage gets made, so to speak. It makes sense that this trend has become popular with larger brands like Diageo, Ben & Jerry’s, and Absolut.

Brand homes definition

A brand home is where consumers experience the brand instead of the brand going to the consumer. It’s great for large brands that can attract tourists and even smaller venues that benefit from community visitors.

But what does it look like in practice, and how do you use it to improve your event marketing strategy? 

Download the full brand home guide now!

Introducing "Brand Homes" - Why You Should Care About the Experience Economy

Brand homes are the perfect way to create a self-managed guest experience. Rather than leave a pivotal brand experience up to chance, you can control every facet. What kind of memory are you trying to create for your guests? What do you want them to leave feeling?

"When we think of experiential, we think of our home as a way to romance people. It's like going on a date. You want people to walk away with the feeling of 'oh wow, yes — I'd like to see them again."

Angela Knotts, Director of Brand Marketing, Anchor Brewing Co.

Knotts has it exactly right — event marketing, including brand homes, is a date. And according to research, there are a lot of people looking for exactly that. 

This macro trend is known as the experience economy. The experience economy is a higher tier of economic value, where you create immersive and designed moments for your consumers, like a brewery tour and tasting or an ice cream factory walk-through.

Graph from Harvard Business Review

Research shows that a big part of this trend is a preference of consumers to spend money on experiences vs. things. They want to build relationships with brands they love by experiencing them. 

Who’s Propelling the Experience Economy?

When it comes to spending the most money on experiences, millennials are the main consumer. This generation now commands over $13 Trillion in spending power, and craves connection after years of COVID lockdown and restrictions. Just look at theme parks: revenue for Disney World in Florida increased by 21% from the preceding quarters. 

Brands that invest in staging brand experiences leave a memorable and lucrative impression. 

3 Steps to Start a Brand Home that Offers Tours or Tastings

Tours or tastings are vital for investing in a brand home. Sometimes that can be on the factory floor or through a famous distillery. This is where your consumer comes for an authentic experience with your brand and goes out of their way to see what you offer.

Step 1: Define Your Goals and Site Expectations

When preparing to offer tours or tastings as part of your event marketing strategy, it’s important to pick your goals wisely. This can be a small investment or a larger push, but it will never grow beyond one tour unless you have a specific idea of what you want to achieve. 

Goals you can pick include:

Many of those goal decisions will rely on the kind of space you have to host your brand home. Part community experiment and part tourism play, the balancing act you’ll be walking must have a definition to it. Pick one of our recommended goals or create your own that works for your brand. 

Some of the site expectations you will need for tours and/or tastings are:

  • An authentic experience, like a factory, brewery, or distillery that can show how something is made by walking through it
  • An understanding of which products are a draw and which you can use to support others in a tasting
  • An area where you can accept walk-ins

Take the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland. With adult ticket prices ranging from $15-$30 and over 1.7 million visitors annually, the brand home has become a profit center for increased revenue.

Step 2: Decide how much to charge for your brand home

This is an important step to consider — offering a free event at your brand home might feel like a short-term win. But our data tells a different story. When you don’t charge for tours and tastings, you have a 40% no-show rate

If you want to leverage your brand home to drive customer loyalty and revenue, having people show up is in your best interest. We’ve noticed that brand homes that charge $10 for their tours and tastings have a 5% no-show rate; that’s a steep improvement. 

After all, if you don’t think your tours and/or tastings are worth anything, why would your consumers?

Step 3: Use a booking system and experiential marketing software to understand the impact of your brand home

A significant investment like a brand home means that free registration isn’t cut it anymore. You’re on the hook to show the immediate worth of your event marketing effort and how it affects your revenue in the long term.

So, how do you make a sustainable brand home growth strategy that scales? You start tracking data

Investing in experiential marketing software can cover a wider range of attendees, from pre-event registration to capturing walk-in data. And as you continue to grow, you should consider tracking the following data points:

Diageo used AnyRoad’s registration software and their own AI to create a $200 million whiskey tourism investment with a personalized experience for their brand home guests, creating unique whiskey tastings that matched their registrant’s tastes. This data collection led to a 16-point boost in NPS rating, their main indicator.

Good Examples of Brand Homes

Factory Tours

What better way to understand how your favorite products are made than to visit the factory to see the process firsthand? Hundreds of brands in the US open their doors for factory tours. From airplanes to hot sauce, if you are interested in seeing firsthand ‘How it’s Made’ there are plenty of options.

From a brand perspective, many of these experiences offer museum-like experiences and guided tours of the factory floor. At the same time, many tours are simple and lack the interpretive elements of a museum. Two of our favorites are the Tabasco experience and the Honda Heritage Museum.

Tabasco – Louisiana, USA

The world-famous hot sauce has been produced by the McIlhenny Company in Avery Island, Louisiana, since 1868. Their famous museum offers history exhibits and self-guided tours.

Honda Heritage Center – Ohio, USA

The Honda Heritage Center is adjacent to the company’s manufacturing plant in Marysville, Ohio. It highlights the company’s successes in North America over the last half-century with an array of historical, current, and future products – each with its own story. 

Distilleries & Breweries

For many tourists, sampling the local brew is all part of the experience, and in some cases the brand can become the biggest tourist attraction in a city or country. Take Guinness, whose offering at St James’s Gate in Dublin, Ireland is consistently the busiest attraction in the country, welcoming over 1.7 million visitors in 2019

Despite a tough year for the industry, investment in alcohol brand homes continues. Whiskey tourism destinations such as Kentucky, Ireland, and Scotland will see more openings in 2021. Indeed most recently, Diageo announced plans to open their latest brand homes in Scotland as part of a $200M investment in whiskey tourism.  

At AnyRoad, we support dozens of strong brands that use their distilleries or breweries to differentiate. These brands welcome millions of visitors each year. Check out our case studies for more insight. 

Retail Pop-Ups

A growing number of brands have opted not to have a large retail footprint and instead have developed experiential pop-ups and demo centers for their products. For many, this is part of a lean direct-to-consumer strategy–but for others, it’s a way to provide unique destinations for consumers.

Dyson Demo Centers, Global

Best known for bringing bagless vacuum cleaners to the masses, Dyson’s brand identity has a reputation for beautiful design and innovation. The brand has dozens of demo centers in major cities worldwide where consumers can get their hands on vacuum cleaners, hairdryers, fans, and more. More recently, Dyson began offering free beauty appointments in its stores in the US. 

Target Wonderland – New York, USA

Major retailers have long been creating special holiday storefronts and gift stores with a sensory edge. In 2019, Target brought a contemporary feel with its wonderland pop-up in New York. The retailer offered gaming spaces, toy shops, and more hands-on activities such as a hallway of interactive Star Wars lightsabers, a giant snow globe photo space that generates a GIF that is shareable on social media, and a tasting kitchen sponsored by Campbell’s. 

In-Store Experiences

In addition to pop-up brand homes, retailers' common theme is delivering in-store experiences such as classes, concerts, and hands-on demonstrations. While some may argue that this is a stretch of the definition of a brand house, many of these initiatives spring to life at retailers’ flagship stores.

Michaels In-Store Classes – USA

The Michaels Companies, Inc. is North America’s largest retailer of arts and crafts materials, empowering makers of all ages to express their imaginations with skill and originality. The retailer offers online, and in-store classes–and to date–over 400k people have participated. 

Dick’s In-Store Experiences – USA

Dick’s Sporting Goods launched more than 70 years ago with one small storefront in Binghamton, N.Y. Today, the company has grown into an empire with more than 700 stores in 48 states and is well-regarded for its in-store experiences. For example, Dick’s held an outdoor fashion show in New York City, with models that included former baseball player Alex Rodriguez and women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd. 

Sports

Getting behind-the-scenes access to sports venues and stadiums is a big deal for fans. These experiences foster loyalty and can help ensure year-round utilization of the venues and contribute to managing overheads. Many of these venues serve a dual purpose which can be used for special events and corporate hospitality. 

Raiders Stadium Experience – Nevada, USA

Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada, serves as the home stadium for the Las Vegas Raiders. Tours and experiences are available at the stadium and include interpretive exhibits and behind-the-scenes looks at locker rooms and other facilities.

Horse Country Farm Tours – Kentucky, USA

Horse Country, a 501(c)(3) organization that connects consumers with Kentucky horse culture. Working with a partner network of 32 locations and stakeholders across the state, Horse Country facilitates educational and experiential visits to working farms, rehabilitation and adoption centers, race tracks, feeding centers, stud farms, nurseries, and more.

Driving Experiences

For car enthusiasts, track days are bucket list items. Taking your dream car to a private track with expert instruction and no speed limit is an adrenaline-inducing thrill ride. Many of the world’s most popular sports car manufacturers have dedicated experience centers and theme parks.

Porsche Experience Centers, Various Locations 

The Porsche Experience Centers offer enthusiasts and novices to take Porsche’s lineup of performance cars out on the track. With expert instruction, participants can push the cars and their personal driving skills to the limit.

Theme Parks

When you think of theme parks, it’s unlikely you think of ‘branded experiences’ however, many of the most popular attractions are brand homes. Disney’s parks are the physical manifestation of a massive global media brand. Smaller brands like Tayto Crisps in Ireland have a popular theme park. When run at this scale, these brand homes are very much profit centers. 

Hersheypark – Pennsylvania, USA

First opened in 1906 as a leisure park for the employees of the Hershey Chocolate Company, Hersheypark is a sub-brand and family theme park in Hershey, PA, USA. The park has 76 rides, including roller coasters and branded entertainment.

Nintendo World – Osaka, Japan

In 2016, Nintendo announced plans to build a theme park called Super Nintendo World in Japan. Though the project has been delayed by the pandemic, it is scheduled to open in 2021. 

Members Clubs

A number of brands have capitalized on a combination of community and exclusivity to help them grow. Private memberships are most common with luxury goods or associated ‘brand communities’ such as owners’ clubs. 

Dunhill Bourdon House – London, England

Alfred Dunhill is a luxury goods brand based in London. In keeping with their luxury value proposition and messaging, they opened an exclusive brand home in 2008 offering luxury retail and members services, including a barbershop and spa.

Rapha Clubhouse, Various Locations

Rapha is a high-end cycling brand with a cult following. Since 2004 they have offered the Rapha Clubhouses retail space as meeting places for road cyclists and fans of the sport. Visitors are greeted with the latest Rapha products, cafés, live racing, rides, and events. 

Despite the restrictions to in-person activity brought about by COVID-19, we are bullish on the future of brand homes. Many of the venues we’ve referenced have adapted their offerings to be omnichannel (virtual events, live streams etc.)  and have also designed innovative experiences to ensure continuity of service throughout the pandemic. It’s exciting to see plans continue for new venues, such as Diageo’s investment in Scotland and Nintendo’s investment in Japan. 

Step 1: Evaluate Your Scheduling Software Needs

Before researching online booking systems, evaluating your business needs is essential. After all, you don’t want to overspend on bells and whistles when you only need an online form. For newer events looking to scale, a more sophisticated system might be the goal but not the starting point.

Consider the type and size of your business, the nature of your services, and the volume of transactions you handle. For instance, if you run tours and tastings, you should look at solutions meant for high-volume enterprises that can include add-on shirts, beer steins, and more.

Scheduling Software Flowchart

We made a helpful flowchart to help you decide if you’re ready to invest fully in online bookings or look into a free scheduling app, like Google Forms, as a better starting point.

As someone trying to make smart investment decisions, you don’t want to buy a booking and ticketing solution that doesn’t meet your needs. Use our guided questions to determine where you are in your investment journey.

Booking System flowchart
Use the flow to gauge where you are on your journey!

2. Compare Booking Page Features and Pricing

Booking Page Features

Once you have a clear idea of your business needs, you can compare online booking systems that meet your criteria. Have a list of your most essential needs and what would be nice for you to have. Some features you should consider including on your list include:

  • Website integration
  • Branded booking page
  • Configurability to match your brand
  • Payment processing and add-on sales
  • Automated reminders
  • Automatic data analysis
  • Feedback collection and analysis
  1. Website integration
  2. Branded booking page
  3. Configurability to match your brand
  4. Payment processing and add-on sales
  5. Automated reminders
  6. Automatic data analysis
  7. Feedback collection and analysis

asd

asd

asd

asd

asd
asd
SHARE THIS ARTICLE

Keep up to date on the latest brand home trends

Get the Playbook