It still comes as a surprise to us that many people have not heard of experiential marketing.
Many get it confused with event marketing, which is understandable given experiential campaigns do tend to be event-centric and both share the same face-to-face elements. But there are times when they have nothing to do with a specific event. In fact, when they are based around an event they tend to be less dedicated to the type of event and more focused on the interaction of the specific brand.
So what is experiential marketing, and is it right for your brand?
FACT 1: 65% of brands that use it say that it positively correlates with sales
Branding experts often refer to experiential marketing as the act of “creating unique face-to-face branded experiences.” Basically you are creating an opportunity to interact with your brand in person, and giving the recipient an experience they will ideally want to remember, and more importantly talk about and share with friends.
FACT 2: 72% percent of consumers say they positively view brands that provide great experiences
It’s important to understand that experiential marketing comes in many guises; it’s not just about a brand ambassador giving out a free sample at Circular Quay, but it is about making people STOP and THINK and LOOK at what you are doing as a brand and what experience they walk away with. It is about creating a memory that perhaps comes back to mind at the point of purchase, earning the brand both ‘consideration’ and ultimately ‘purchase’ in the buying cycle. It’s also about rewarding loyalty at times, and justifying the brand’s place in the shopping basket.
Take for example John West Australia, who have just become the world’s most sustainable tuna brand by overhauling its supply chain and only sourcing tuna certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). To get this message of sustainability across to consumers, John West launched a marketing campaign that gave everyone an experience.
They introduced a new brand called Finnish Tuna in partnership with MSC and WWF. They distributed cans of Finnish Tuna to unsuspecting commuters – only for them to find that, when they opened the cans, there was nothing in them but water and a message, “Imagine a world without fish”. This experience was designed to make consumers think about their choices at supermarket shelves and the impact they can have on the environment.
FACT 3: 78% of millennials would rather spend money on a memorable experience or event than buy desirable things.
Another great promotion was by Guinness, targeting millennials with aspirations. For a few weeks, ambassadors dressed in Guinness-branded flight attendant uniforms entered bars across the U.K., where they surprised unsuspecting customers with a chance to win all kinds of prizes. To enter the promotion, bar-goers had to order a pint of Guinness and then got to shake a mobile tablet that generated a prize on screen. Prizes included simple giveaways like passport cases and key rings but one player per night would get the ultimate prize: A free trip to Dublin — via private jet, of course — with four mates.
The important thing to point out here was that Guinness did not change any of their actual products and got across the key message that held the brand up as one that doesn’t “settle for the ordinary.”
FACT 4: 49% of consumers create mobile video at branded events — 39% of which is shared on Twitter
Although experiential marketing is about the face-to-face experience it’s still wise to have an online dialogue around the campaign. The clever brands leverage the interactions and communicate them to masses using social media. The use of branded hashtags is a good way to get people talking. We all know that if you provide consumers with a great experience they will want to share it, and with social media being at our fingertips every second of the day, what better way to get your brand out there.
Next time you have that crazy idea and need someone to help with your experiential campaign to create a bespoke portable display, create a lightweight sampling table or even a selection of vendor trays, give us a call. We have years of experience doing exactly this, and can certainly help to make your vision come to life.