We always remember the way people or things make us feel and by evoking feelings of happiness, relaxation, excitement or anything else, brands can reinforce their message in a way that will last in the minds of their audience.
The marketing fraternity has witnessed a number of marketing trends in recent periods, from brand publishing and visual storytelling to partnering with social influencers and distributing content through mobile apps. The focus is always on digital media. Brands are experimenting in myriad ways, determined to connect with the ‘elusive customer’. The strategies they use may vary, but ultimately they’re all working toward the same goal. At the same time the growing trend of online based commerce and business offer significant emphasizes on greater marketing scope to offer touch and feel for its consumers.
Online marketing and e-commerce have taken a lot of the physical experience of looking at products, trying them on and being in a retail environment away from consumers. Although there is a lot to be said for the convenience of shopping online, and the ease of online marketing, many brands have started to look for ways to make their products more tangible in the eyes of their consumers.
This is known as experiential marketing, and it focuses on strategies that audiences can touch, view or feel in a physical space. This can bring additional engagement between brands and their audiences and help boost loyalty by providing a lived through experience rather than one just seen through a screen.
The premise of experiential marketing is to create a closer bond between the consumer and the brand by immersing them in a fun and memorable experience. The experience of a brilliantly realized experiential marketing campaign will encourage customer loyalty so they will hopefully keep coming back for more. Experiential marketing doesn’t necessarily involve people trying products or services for themselves, although this may be a part of it. Experiential marketing is about giving people an experience that encapsulates the emotions that are associated with a brand and that they will remember.
Experiential marketing is about participation – engaging consumers in an activity that captures the essence of your service or product. It’s centered on creating memories and positive associations with your brand. In the case of Delta Airlines, consumers come away with an impression that their next Delta flight will be soothing and productive. BMW gives potential car buyers the opportunity to experience the product’s speed and control in person, while Heineken’s stunt paints the brand as a beverage well suited to excitement and adventure.
Experiential marketing as a marketing strategy, however, is somewhat nebulous. It encompasses outdoor displays and street performances, but can also extend to augmented reality and interactive displays. Increasingly, technology plays a critical role in boosting engagement and exposure. But even that can play out in different ways.
If a branded event stirs positive emotions in people then they are more likely to associate those emotions with that brand. This encourages brand loyalty and the stronger possibility of sales further down the line. To this end experiential marketing can be more effective than any kind of display ad, a promoted Tweet or a Facebook ad, however it’s also possibly harder to measure as conversions may not happen till much further down the line.
The most successful campaigns aren’t just clever concepts, but a reflection of the brand’s image that resonates with target customers. Experiential marketing offers an opportunity to merge online and offline media in a wholly immersive way. Technology is allowing brands like these to take concepts further, not only to increase exposure but to make interactions all the more meaningful.
For many brands, experiential marketing is a great way to get free PR and media coverage. By doing something creative and engaging to get people to experience a brand in person, businesses can often get attention from the media as well as consumers and this helps them increase their reach further.