GE is bringing its “imagination at work” motto to life in D.C. through a pop-up exhibit where you can test out laser cutters, 3D printers and more. As reported by TechCocktail, the GE Garages program puts visitors face to face with innovative technologies and experts.

The concept is undeniably cool, but also a fundamentally sound PR strategy. Pun intended, GE Garages achieves brand marketing success by simultaneously delivering on three dimensions of audience engagement. Here’s how:


  • First Dimension: Physical. The pop-up exhibit turns cerebral branding into a tangible experience. Usually you can’t touch or see things like innovation or imagination. But at the GE lab, you use all five senses to experience the latest tools and technologies. At Adfero, where I work, we recently published a list of things we predict will change communications. Physical interaction between brands and audiences – just like what GE is doing here – was one of the trends that made the cut.


  • Second Dimension: Virtual. For those in your audience who can’t make it in person, you need to create a virtual equivalent to the physical event. This isn’t a direct replacement for the real thing, but packages the best parts of the in-person experience (sights, sounds, takeaways) in digital formats (think photo galleries, videos, virtual tours). GE Garages achieves this through a content-rich website and an online community for innovation.


  • Third Dimension: Social. The social buzz and media coverage that an event spurs are just as important as the event itself. GE Garages should be judged as much by the chatter it generates as by attendance or web traffic. When I checked, #Garages2014 had a Topsy Sentiment Score of 60, which coincidentally is similar to Lady Gaga’s for the same time period. Not too shabby.

Though we don’t all have GE-sized budgets (or access to 3D printers for that matter), we can and should challenge ourselves to create campaigns that deliver on all dimensions of the audience experience or risk falling flat.