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  • Bowlero

How successful companies are building brand loyalty through innovative, creative experiences

By cultivating the in-person experience, brands can make a lasting impression with their customers

How successful companies are building brand loyalty through innovative, creative experiences

The mark of a powerful customer relationship is when that customer comes back—again and again and again. Cultivating such deep loyalty doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen without effort. And quite often, it requires a dash of creativity to keep clients from straying toward a competitor. “Establishing that memorable connection is vital to our relationship with guests,” says Colie Edison, chief customer officer of Bowlero, a leading bowling entertainment company with more than 300 locations in the U.S. “It’s what we do with every corporate event and holiday party we throw.”

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To create those memorable connections, Bowlero relies on an experiential service model centered on offering clients a full-service, multi-activity party venue. In short, there are plenty of activities that let guests get involved—and stay engaged. And that variety is a big reason clients keep coming back, says Edison.

In particular, Bowlero has targeted corporate clients, offering its venues as locations for team outings, holiday parties, happy hours, or any other kind of event. “Companies want new and nontraditional venues where they can bring their teams together—places like arcades or laser tag arenas or bowling alleys,” Edison says. “Or locations like Bowlero that have all three, plus top-shelf bar options and a nationally recognized menu.”

DELIVER THE UNEXPECTED

Keeping customers engaged is much easier when you can add an element of surprise or creativity into the mix. Just ask Audrea Hooper, the director of brand marketing events and head of “fungineering” at Zappos, the online shoe and clothing retailer known for its strong brand loyalty with customers. It has built those deep and durable customer relationships through smart retail operations, including top-notch customer service. But Zappos also has gone beyond retail norms to set itself apart from its competitors. Hooper’s role as head of fungineering is to translate Zappos’ self-described “zany” culture into experiences that will wow customers and create positive brand experiences.

Hooper curates inventive in-person experiences, such as the series of backyard customer-appreciation parties Zappos hosts in its top markets. The parties included local bands, local breweries, and local food vendors, as well as giant backyard games and product giveaways. Zappos also sponsors events ranging from a music festival in its home city of Las Vegas and the storied Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. All told, Hooper says the company holds more than 300 brand-affinity events a year for customers, vendors, and even employees. “Lasting connections come with memorable moments,” Hooper says. “Creating an environment that reflects how much you care about your customer and thought about what they might enjoy, is priceless.”

The environment matters at Bowlero. Edison notes that corporate events can be highly customized to resonate with the guests, whether they’re employees celebrating the holidays or clients being treated to a night out. Some companies create custom bowling balls and pins while others coordinate high-energy celebrations with DJs and booming sound systems. “Regardless of the options a guest may choose, our space allows us to be versatile and flexible enough to accommodate our clients and create the most fitting and appropriate environment for their unique events,” Edison says. “It changes the dynamic of the celebration from just another party to an event that is totally unforgettable.”

MAKE IT EASY

Building brand loyalty requires more than snappy parties or creative offerings. It also requires strong execution and knowing when to pitch in to make clients’ lives easier. At Bowlero, clients can book an event online or reach out to one of the company’s party planners who can offer suggestions and guidance for everything from the flow of the event to the customizable menu.

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We’re always thinking about how we can deliver as much value to our customers as possible and, perhaps more importantly, what that value means.

For instance, companies may choose to offer guests pre-loaded game cards that can be used in Bowlero’s arcade or create a more intimate meeting with signature cocktails in an upscale lounge environment. “We’re always thinking about how we can deliver as much value to our customers as possible and, perhaps more importantly, what that value means,” Edison says. “The fact that somebody else organized all this for you—that’s where the real value comes in.”

The goal at Bowlero is to keep guests—and guests of guests—coming back, whether to host another party or simply bowl a few frames, play in the arcade and enjoy one of Bowlero’s offbeat menu items, like the highly shareable six-pound Behemoth Burger. By focusing on service and providing a unique experience, Edison says, the return on investment is clear: “The dividend of that connection is really all of the repeat clients we have—the companies who continue to bring their corporate events to our venues each and every year.”

From holiday parties to client outings, Bowlero’s retro-inspired venues are guaranteed to entertain and impress. To learn more, click here.

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