When I think back on some of my fondest memories: I reminisce about the people I was with, what I was doing, and the emotions I felt in those special moments. All those elements work as a collective that give me an amazing and unforgettable feeling. These feelings create moments in time that will forever be etched into my memory. Having great experiences is no longer related strictly to the milestones of one’s personal life. Currently, these sentimental impressions are now intertwined with the way people shop and have become specialized brand experiences.
Companies are becoming increasingly focused on creating “Experiential Marketing” campaigns that immerse the consumer within a brand by appealing to an emotion or feeling. Essentially, firms are creating one of a kind experience for consumers that can only be achieved by using their specific brand.
Let me explain…
Experiential Marketing is the act of “creating unique and memorable face-to-face brand experiences.” Instead of traditional methods of advertising like sending out a repetitive email blast or launching a Social Media campaign, this new trend allows the company to give the customer a chance to interact with the brand. Traditional methods like radio, print, and television only visually and verbally communicate the brand message to the consumer, it does not resonate with the customer first-hand. However experiential marketing seeks to immerse the customer in the product so they can experience the brand.
Depending on the budget experiential marketing can be something as simple as a personalized sampling event for a small group or a large-scale event to entertain hundreds. When planning an event of this nature the business must decide how the product is used, the target demographic, and most importantly the emotion that the brand wants to evoke from the consumer.
A few of my favorite examples
Doc McStuffin’s is an extremely popular Disney cartoon about a six-year-old girl who heals her stuffed animals in her imaginary clinic. To promote an upcoming season of the show Disney recreated Doc’s clinic inside of a Toys-R-US in the UK. Each child was given the opportunity to play doctor and diagnose a teddy bear. The children were not only entertained but the parents were ecstatic to watch their child live out a fantasy, of course leaving them feeling bound to buy. This, in turn, increased ratings for the upcoming season and boosted merchandise sales. The event was so successful that they turned it into a traveling experiential marketing exhibit with stops through out the U.S. and the U.K!
• Hershey Smile Sampler:
In response to new research indicating that customer’s enjoyed sampling products before making a purchase decision. Hershey’s decided to launch a sampling prototype that utilizes cutting-edge facial recognition technology. The new machine was designed to dispense a candy sample when it identifies a smile on the face of a shopper. This campaign merged cutting-edge tech with old-fashioned food sampling and proved how innovation and uniqueness can guide customers to a purchase decision.
Adidas set up an interactive competition for the release of their brand collaboration with Derrick Rose. Any individual able to jump 10 feet in the air and reach the sneakers on the shelf were given a free pair of trainers. Not only is this a fun competition for Basketball fans, but was a brilliantly executed promotion to for Adidas to stimulate buzz a for their brand collaboration with an NBA All-star.
• Game of Thrones
One of the show’s producers gave experiential marketing a whole new experience when they placed a dragon’s skull on Dorset beach in the UK to promote season three of the series. The skull is the size of a London bus so the event turned into a viral Social Media campaign. The shock-value of using the dragon skull on the beach turned out to be an extremely unique method to provide awareness for the new season.
• New Balance
When New Balance opened their new flagship retail location in the Big Apple they wanted the operative theme to be “experience”. The footwear manufacturer wanted consumers to understand its products and the lifestyle it offers. But what really makes this 5th Avenue store superior in contrast to other locations is that it’s not really a store, but a factory. The 4,000-square-foot showroom offers customers the opportunity to custom-build their own shoes via an in-store iPad application. Executives wanted customers to experience the workmanship involved in producing a pair of shoes. Through the hour-long personalization process shoppers were immersed in the creation of their very own kicks.
Does it work?
If the brand event stirs genuine emotion within its targeted demographic then the event was a success. The key goal of an Experiential Marketing campaign is for consumers to associate a feeling or memory with the brand, which is more effective than a traditional ad’s because it’s more likely to increase consumer loyalty. Experiential marketing is not only a great marketing event but also provides good PR, great Social Media exposure, and most importantly an increase in sales!
Trending fad? …or here to stay?
There’s no doubt in my mind, experiential marketing is definitely here to stay! It has the potential to completely change the landscape of marketing. Companies will now have to rethink how they communicate and interact with their customers. It will no longer be good enough for brands to tell their consumers a story through traditional advertising methods; instead, they will need to switch toward integrated marketing campaigns and transmedia storytelling to have consumers live the brand.
If you’re planning an experiential marketing campaign to update your brand to newer trends, ON point solutions can help. I can help identify tactics and strategies for your campaign to get an optimal return on from your marketing budget no matter the size.