People are going to feel something about your brand, so why leave it to chance? Harness the power of moments by designing experiences that add up to something meaningful, shareable and irreplaceable.
Generally, life can be extraordinarily unextraordinary. Errands, television, work and daily engagements blur together to make our everyday lives feel unremarkable. The standout memories, on the other hand, capture our minds, leaving us to replay them over and over.
Leading brands realise that today’s consumers want to leave the house and truly experience life. This is further enhanced by social media and its ability to turn brand experiences into marketing moments.
Experiential marketing is all about direct engagement with consumers and creatively interacting with them in a memorable way.
According to a study by Freeman, over half of global marketers see brand experiences as a way to forge ongoing relationships with audiences, while 90% of marketers surveyed believe that brand experiences create more compelling engagement. On the consumer side, EventTrack reports that 65% of consumers find that experiential marketing has helped them have a better understanding of a product or service, and 70% of users becomes regular customers after an experiential marketing activation.
The shareability of brand experiences
The primary purpose of experiential marketing is for consumers to experience a brand in a tangible, offline way. One of the most rewarding additional benefits of this marketing strategy is the way in which it drives word-of-mouth advertising, online and offline. Research conducted by Google, Ogilvy, and McKinsey shows that brand experience is the most powerful form of word-of-mouth driving activity. With the right experience, consumers will happily do the brand’s advertising for them, on social media and beyond.
This is aided by the fact that Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are all visual mediums designed less around what people are wearing or driving and more around what they’re doing. 49% of people record branded experiences on their cellphones, making it essential for brands to incorporate a digital element into their experiential marketing.
The architecture of brand experiences
While it might be tempting to follow the lead of social media culture, the best brand experiences maintain the integrity of the real-life experience. This means creating experiences where the core value is the experience itself, not the social photographic record of it.
In The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact, Chip and Dan Heath deconstruct what goes into making the most memorable events of our lives.
In their research, they found that defining moments all tend to have four elements, which brands can use to create unforgettable experiences.
- Elevation: Moments that lift us above the ordinary
- Insight: Moments that rewire our understanding of our world
- Pride: Moments of achievement or recognition
- Connection: Moments that deepen our ties to other people
Elevation: Unique adventures or events
29 Rooms was first launched in 2015 to celebrate Refinery 29’s 10th anniversary. It is an annual interactive exhibition made up of 29 rooms, each one individually designed and created by retail brands, artists, and other creatives. What makes these rooms stand out is that they are ready-made for social media feeds, with each room offering visitors the perfect Instagram opportunity – generating staggering online engagement for Refinery 29 and the brands involved.
Insight: Classes and workshops, tastings and samplings, site tours
Experiential marketing is not just an effective tool for B2C brands. It can also be a great way for B2B companies to offer insight into their products or services, as well as get people talking. GE’s Healthymagination showcase is just one example – an event to illustrate how the brand’s healthcare technology is helping people in developing countries. For its most recent Healthymagination, the brand created specially-made “movie sets” designed to represent different healthcare environments, including an accident and emergency room and a rural clinic.
Pride: Recognition, the ability to make a difference
Corporate philanthropy is definitely on the rise, between 2012-2014, 56% of companies increased charitable giving, and Google is no exception. But when the search engine giant gave away $5.5 million to nonprofits in the San-Francisco area, it let the public decide where that money would go in an unconventional, interactive way.
Google allowed people to cast their votes online, but they also wanted to involve the community in a tangible way. They installed large, interactive posters in places like bus shelters, food trucks and restaurants, giving locals the chance to vote for a cause and to take pride in making a difference to their area.
Connection: Stand-out individual or group experiences
John Deere has crafted a motivating first-day experience that begins with having managers meet new employees at the front door and continues with a tour, a gift, and a welcome message from the company’s CEO that describes why the work of the company matters, then an off-site lunch with a small group who talk about the projects they’ve found most meaningful, and an invitation to lunch with their team members the next week. Everything is designed to lead the new employee to think, “This job matters, I matter, and I belong here – I am connected to something much bigger than myself.”
Experiential marketing is here to stay
The more creative brands can be in making those personal connections, the more likely they will be to make a lasting, shareable impression.