Marketing

How to Create Experiential Marketing Campaign that People Love

In the digital age, physical experience is what sets a brand apart and cuts through the cacophony. Read up on how to create experiential marketing campaign that people love

You walk into a room and see neatly arranged rows of hats on walls. The wall to your right has black hats, and to the left are white hats. You are handed one or the other, but only after you answer a few questions that probe into your belief-value system. Questions like “do you believe in destiny?”. With the hat on, you take a half-hour journey to reach a town in the wild west. Here you get to interact with “hosts” and witness a bank robbery, a love triangle, a desire for revenge and a stand-off in the town center.

Know How Augmented Reality Can Help Your Business 

Those of you who are fans of Westworld would have already guessed that the town is “Sweetwater”. Only this was not from an episode of the series. This was something you could have experienced at the South by Southwest festival this year. Over 60 actors working from a script of 444 pages allowed you to experience the Westworld firsthand. Over the 3 days the event was run, about 4,000 visitors participated in it - some spent a full day immersed in the experience.

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This turned out to be one of the most successful experiential marketing campaigns. People lined up for as long as 10 hours to get a chance to participate in the event - and came out of it saying it was all worth it. The rush of excitement that the participants felt spread across the social media, and traditional media as well. Vanity Fair exclaimed: “This elaborately constructed interactive experience transported fans of murderous robots and AI intrigue into their favorite show in a way no high-tech VR experience ever could”.

The concept of experiential marketing is a simple one: engage the customer with a memorable experience and she will have an emotional connection with you. In the digital age, physical experience is what sets a brand apart and cuts through the cacophony the customer has to keep the shutout. The numbers reflect this as well. A recent survey of chief marketing officers by Freeman found that 60% of them believe brand experiences are the most valuable way to create ongoing relationships with their key audience. More tellingly, a recent EventTrack survey concluded that 74% of potential customers are more inclined than before to purchase a product or service after participating in an experiential marketing campaign.

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A couple decades ago, marketers knew that the audience would watch the evening news on the television - and also see their advertisements with it. But the rise of video on demand and other technological advancements have changed the media consumption habits so much that the advertisements are invariably skipped. One of the prime ways to break through to the customer today is creating a clever experiential campaign, and if it is successful the participants will talk about it to thousands of others.

But experiential marketing is not just about creating a memorable experience. More often than not your audience will expect to take home something tangible. Promotional products are an obvious choice to mix into the experiential campaign - but with care to not break the experience. Even though experiential marketing is a phenomenon that is bound to rise the interest of any potential audience, the audience will not love it just because it is a live “experiential” event. Here is a checklist that will help you create a brand experience that your customers will cherish.

Know your audience: This is obvious, is it not? But you will not believe the number of brands that we meet who are so caught up in creating something “cool” that they forget what their audience is looking for. You have to include your sales staff and key account managers as early as possible to make sure that you understand the target audience well.

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Build the key user persona your campaign aims to delight, and figure out the right venue to mount your campaign. An experiential marketing campaign, however beautifully designed, will fail if it does not consider the surroundings in which the audience will interact with it. For example, a recent campaign run in the underground subway trains failed as it expected the participant to be online - and the network underground was practically non-existent.

Have a clear message: Decide on the message your campaign should project, and make sure it is clearly communicated to your audience. While clarity is important, it is paramount that your message is in sync with your desired brand image. Any dichotomy between what your brand stands for and what your campaign “feels” like can make your core audience feel cheated. Experiential marketing campaigns are a good way to build towards your desired brand image, but it cannot be too far away from who you are perceived to be at the moment

Make it fun: Fun is infectious. It spreads. And all your marketing efforts should be spreadable. The fun doesn’t necessarily achieve sales for you, but it does capture the attention of your audience. Even help them build into a community. Once you have their attention, it is for you to decide if you want to pitch a sale to the prospect.

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Offer something useful: The most successful campaigns are those that educate the audience and offer them something useful. This was true when Lifebuoy created history that marketers study even today. And it holds truer today. For example, Lean Cuisine installed "scales" in Grand Central Station but these did not measure body weight of the participants. Instead, it gave them boards to write down the merits they actually wanted to be weighed on. This campaign made no attempt to sell the brand, but the target group participated in the campaign without any push from the brand - and got the brand even more eyeballs by sharing the boards all over the Internet.

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Use augmented reality: Use augmented reality to bring the benefits of an online campaign to the offline world. AR does not just create a wow for your audience but also increases the brand recall. Even more importantly, AR is interactive by design.

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Your audience will not just look at it for a few seconds and block it out - they will actually engage with it and have a happy experience. In fact, your audience will automatically associate the happy experience with your brand.


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