Brand interactions have changed drastically in the past few decades. Gone are the days where all you needed to sell a product was a shiny advertisement on TV or radio; today’s consumers have become a lot smarter. And, they’re finding ways to avoid advertising wherever they can — using ad blockers, paying for premium ad-free services, and consuming entertainment and news media through diverse channels like streaming services and social media.
But, while it might seem that finding ways to cut through are getting harder and harder, there is one very shiny silver lining: these modern consumers are more brand savvy than ever, love authentic brand experiences, and are willing to develop firm brand loyalties. For brands that are able to meet their markets in this new space, the opportunities are phenomenal. Our challenge as marketers is to re-frame our approaches to reflect this new, values-based relationship between consumers and brands.
Enter experiential marketing.
Experiential marketing perfectly captures the humanness that consumers are seeking, and offers brands a means of connecting with audiences on an emotional level. By creating immersive situations for your market — ideally, engaging as many human senses as possible — you can engender brand authenticity, create lasting memories, and ultimately influence purchasing decisions.
People who undergo a live brand experience are likely to tell around 17 other people about that positive experience (from: Experiential Marketing: A practical guide to interactive brand experiences, S. Smilansky, 2009).
According to surveys, 93% of consumers report that brand experiences have much more of an influence on them than simple TV ads.
Experiential marketing works on a very clear rationale: in our saturated marketplace, consumers will choose to buy only when they feel a personal connection with the brand. What’s more, the stronger this emotional connection, the more fierce that consumers loyalty to your brand will be.
So, how do the most successful experiential strategies create this personal connection?
Go to them:
Your target audience is regularly attending gyms, concerts, exhibits, shows, retail and hospitality venues, sporting even; there is no better way to engage with an audience than by meeting them where they already are. By showcasing your brand or product where your audience already is, you can position your brand as aligned to their values, community and lifestyle, creating familiarity and trust.
Make it sensory:
Humans are driven by their senses, and sensory elements should play a large role in your experiential marketing campaigns. Tap into your audience's emotions and encourage interaction with your brand by designing experiences that are tactile, visually stimulating, and leave them something to think about.
Two way dialogue:
Consumers seek honesty, transparency and authenticity. Make your conversations personalised through face to face interactions, and be open to listening. Experiential Marketing allows these real-life connections to occur organically, so take full advantage of them by making sure the dialogue goes two ways. Ask for feedback, and engage your market in conversations. Forget the pushy sales tactics — this is about building genuine relationships with your consumers.
Amplify, amplify, amplify
Create an experience that touches 100s but reaches millions. Social media is key to the success of any great experiential campaign. Create a branded hashtag that people can use to share the experience on social media and give them a way to engage online even if they can't be there in person.
Keep it relevant
Beach goers in Brazil were delighted with free cans of ice cold Coke after smashing through a giant ice block. Simple, relevant and where consumers appreciated it the most.
People remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see & do.
So, make it memorable marketers and bring your brand to real life.
Need some inspiration? Contact our team today.