Have you ever had one of those “yeah, I’m hooked” moments?
Strolling through the grocery store recently, I mindlessly passed a stand-alone cooler. Upon detecting my motion, a tablet that was mounted on the door began playing a video about the contents of the cooler. It was the story of two brewers taking a chance on a dream, their journey to success, and the inherent values of the brand, the brewers, and the beer.
The story told by the brewers was visually integrated into the creative design for each varietal of beer. The packaging also backed the story with its sturdy handles saying, “We promise we won’t fall out,” unlike the flimsy plastic rings.
I was inspired. It was a great story. I was emotionally intrigued and connected. I may not be able to live a life of risk taking and throwing it all to the wind, but I certainly wanted a taste. And they gave me that opportunity.
I walked out of store with a sixer. I don’t even drink beer.
That’s experiential marketing. And it’s pretty powerful.
The purpose of experiential marketing is to facilitate personal interaction with a product or service by immersing the customer with brand persona and values to forge memorable, emotional connections and lasting brand loyalty. Experiential marketing takes many forms, from pop-up activations to permanent installations, from B2B conferences to B2C experiences, and more. At BRIGHT+CO, we’ve found three core benefits of experiential marketing:
- Create lasting connections
- Give active understanding of product or service
- Gain social media exposure
The brands who capitalize the most are memorable and on-message. They remain relevant to the people experiencing them while also communicating who they are and what they do. For example, Lean Cuisine has shifted its brand messaging away from dieting to focus on the customer and their values.
When consumers consciously choose to interact with your brand, they have already decided they want to participate in a two-way learning experience to understand your product or service. And while you’re fulfilling their inquisitory nature, you are also informing them on your brand’s persona, what you care about, your core values – driving those lasting connections home.
To introduce Microban’s new product technology we designed an experience focused on the sense of smell. Microban’s tradeshow booth invited attendees to “take the sniff challenge” at the booth’s Fresh Bar installation. Visitors were asked to guess which pieces of fabric had been treated with Microban Scentry technology and which had not. The Fresh Bar installation provided the experience of smell, and we all know that scents can definitely make a lasting impression.
Experiential marketing is “shareable”and people like to share their experiences with other people - especially on social media. As a result, your brand gains free social media exposure that can be further shared by other users. Your brand can also use this content as part of your user-generated content (UGC) strategy (as long as the user of the original post approves). It’s where experiential and social media marketing meet.
At BRIGHT+CO, we use this tactic as a touchpoint along the customer experience journey. The root of experiential marketing is in connecting with one’s emotions to drive behavior. And while emotions are evoked, connections are made. This connection forges lasting brand loyalty.
See our work on this project here.