Experiential marketing is an avenue that big brands are moving towards more and more, but why? Experiential marketing gives marketers the opportunity to showcase brands in a unique way allowing them to build tangible relationships with consumers through engagement and also by sharing this engagement with others. These experiences bolster customer loyalty and can even influence purchase decision. A good experiential marketing campaign must pay attention to a number of key strategic guidelines:
1. Be Measurable and Accountable
Ensure that any event/experience you launch has a quantifiable measurement strategy, which will help ensure whether or not the campaign has been successful. It is also important that the experience your developing works with any other current strategies a company may be employing be it Advertising, PR etc.
2. Be Brand Aware
It is vital that organisers don’t lose sight of the overall message/values of the brand that they are representing. There is no point in activating something which is unrelated to the brand simply because it looks good or utilises some new technology. The creative has to stem from the origins of the product/service and relate to their public. The message must also be on point and not in bad taste as seen in Puma’s church focused “#StartBelieving” campaign.
3. Know your target and your environment
Always do your homework on who you’re reaching out to, where you’re doing it and why. If there is a certain mind set or time dependency for your experience to be a success then bear that in mind. For example, an experience that could take a consumer 20 minutes to complete will probably not work too well in a central train station at rush hour. Be aware of any restrictions where you are planning on running the experience e.g. an airport or public areas. Also it goes without saying that you shouldn’t do anything illegal such as forcing a donkey to parasail…
4. Sharing is caring
Consumers need to have a way to share their experience quickly, hassle and to a large number of people. The goal of any campaign that involves a live experience is to get the consumer talking about it as soon as possible. There has something tangible, be it a photo or link that enables them to share or brag amongst their own social media networks. The development of hashtags and direct sharing photo based platforms has enabled sharing on a much larger scale.
5. Evoke a response, not just interest
The most powerful of experiential campaigns play on people’s emotions, responses and perceptions. Successful campaigns evoke an emotional reaction, which the consumer then aligns with the brand. More importantly however is that these reactions and emotions are real and organically grown through the experience itself not by simply using actors. These types of experiences result in a much higher conversion rate and their ability to go viral speak for themselves.
A great experiential campaign by WestJet, “Christmas Miracle”, shows travellers at three airports swipe their boarding passes at a digital kiosk at the gate and then speak to a live actor dressed as Santa Claus, only in WestJet’s signature blue, asking what they’d like for Christmas. Then, event staff scrambled to buy the requested gifts for the more than 250 travellers who took part, wrapping them and sending them onto the luggage carousel at travellers’ destinations. The traveller’s responses and emotions on receiving the gifts are what really make this activation work.
Adhering to these points will not guarantee a successful campaign or a viral response with millions of people checking it out. It will however put you on the right path; the rest relies on a creative concept that consumers can really engage with, efficient implementation and true representation of the brand.
This is a guest post by Uli Stanke. Uli is an Event Director with Grooveyard, Ireland with vast experience in event management and brand activations. He has worked with Grooveyard for the past 4 years on a range of dynamic events and marketing engagements. Grooveyard specialise in event engagement and connecting crowds. For more info check outwww.grooveyard.ie