Even the most brilliant advertising campaigns don’t always make their mark. That’s because consumers are, by and large, weary of promotional content. To truly forge a strong connection, brands must do more than slick ads and snazzy social media. They must show rather than tell, as it were, and there’s no better way to do that than through experiential marketing. By giving your target audience something they can actually chew on, you’re more likely to get them to bite. This happens through experiential marketing. Let’s look at some examples of experiential marketing and how you can implement them into your next campaign!
As the name suggests, experiential marketing involves creating an experience for your target audience. Often, experiential marketing focuses more on potential customers’ interests than selling to them. Experiences such as branded mobile activations or brick and mortar pop-ups build brand awareness while providing educational or entertainment value, often with fun and engaging twists.
In short, experiential marketing is anything in which your prospects gain experience rather than passive content, soft sells, or overt sales pitches. This tactic speaks more clearly to their passions and motivations, helping them feel a more authentic connection to your brand. When done well, it creates an engaging foundation for customer loyalty.
So, how could experiential marketing boost your brand? As these examples show, the sky’s the limit!
As the saying goes, the way to one’s heart is through their stomach. We put that axiom into action by handing out delicious samples of Texas-style chili to promote FOX’s new show, “9-1-1: Lone Star.” This yummy treat was accompanied by branded cups and napkins, along with a special edition of the New York Post. Everyone who enjoyed a sample not only became aware of the show but also provided FOX with some free advertising as they walked around Manhattan holding their goodies.
One surefire way to catch attention is to have activities in places they don’t normally occur. That encourages passersby to say “Hey, what’s that?” Add some exclusive merchandise and photo ops, and you’ve got a great way to build engagement with your brand. That’s exactly what we did for Bumble. In celebration of New York Fashion Week (which happened to end with Valentine’s Day), Bumble set up one of their “Hives” (a pop-up lounge) in Artists & Fleas’ space in SoHo. Participants could create GIFs in a photo booth, enjoy Bumble-branded heart cookies, write letters to their future selves, and generally enjoy the vibe. The overall experience encouraged New York singles to download Bumble and find their chance at true love.
If the success of shows such as “Lip Sync Battle” has taught us anything, it’s that people love to watch celebrities duke it out. We tagged in for the fun with a shoot-out contest between the NBA’s Dikembe Mutombo and NASCAR’s Kevin Harvick. The game was part of a product launch event for Mobil-1’s Annual Protection Motor Oil, which showcased a real NASCAR vehicle and pitted Harvick against the 7’2″ Mutombo. Hundreds gathered to enjoy the fun, while Mobil’s logo and product info appeared throughout the space.
These are just a few examples from our case studies, but you’ve probably noticed a trend. Entertainment, intrigue, and exclusivity all create a memorable experience (and free food always helps.) Notice that none of these events focused on selling a product. Rather, they created an engaging, unique space where people could actually get excited about a brand. In our experience (pun intended), that leads to a nice spike in interest. What’s more likely: that someone would buy Annual Protection motor oil because they saw a billboard, or because when they see it in the auto shop, they think, “Oh yeah, that’s from when Kevin Harvick went toe-to-toe with Dikembe Mutombo!”
We think you know the answer. So, next time you’re launching a new product or tapping into a new market, get creative. People love to be entertained, informed, and fed. Give experiential marketing a whirl and see the difference.