‘Experiential’ has become a buzz word in marketing but what does it actually mean? Who is using experiential marketing, how, and what impact (if any) is it having on the advertising industry?
What is it?
Experiential marketing is all about creating a ‘live,’ on the ground, memorable way for customers to personally experience your brand. However, as highlighted in this article, experiential marketing often isn’t sales-centric usually it focuses on brand values over products.
It could be a live demonstration in a busy shopping centre, an interactive experience at a trade show or an installation on the street – typically brands host campaigns where their customers are already likely to be. Regardless of the setting, the really important aspect of experiential marketing is encouraging your customers to be collaborators in their marketing experience. They shouldn’t passively watch marketing take place around them, they should be pulled in to participate in your activity and really engage in a personable, substantive way with your brand. Here are our top awe-inspiring examples of experiential marketing.
Bulmers – Black and White Bar
In a world first Bulmers created a completely black and white bar where customers, and bottles of Bulmers Cider, were the only source of colour. Each staff member spent an hour and a half in makeup to in order to fit in with the decor which mimicked a black and white movie.
- Innovation – don’t be afraid to attempt something new. Bulmer’s mastered stepping into unknown with this experiential campaign and the end result was a showcase of the brand’s idiosyncratic creativity.
- Nostalgic – countless people enjoy the timeless of iconic old movies, and tapping into what your customers love (no matter how simplistic) is a great way to go – especially if you can highlight your company’s services link to an existing customer interest at the same.
- Customer-focused – the overall experience of Bulmers Black and White Bar is based around making the customer stand out in a black and white world. Experiential marketing should always have the customer at its centre.
Innocent – The Big Knit
Innocent are the kings of personalized marketing campaigns with heart, all rooted in their ‘ live well’ philosophy. The Big Knit is an annual call to action for innocent customers to knit tiny hats for the top of their innocent bottles in support of Age UK.
- Philanthropic – Innocent highlight their ethical brand values through donating their proceeds to Age UK.
- Home-based – some of the most effective experiential marketing campaigns capture the interest of customers where they already are. Innocent managed to bring their brand into people’s homes, allowing a brand relationship to flourish where their customers are most comfortable.
- Annual – could your brand run a regular experiential campaign? Festivals, immersive interactive experiences and at-home projects all have the scope to be regular unique experiences that have personal value for your customers.
Samsung – NY flagship where you can’t buy anything
Samsung created an experiential space that acts, in their words, as a ‘physical manifestation‘ of the brand – without asking their customers to part with a penny. Samsung hold special events in their one-of-a-kind store and the massive, modern building includes a theatre that seats 75, a selfie station and the latest Samsung products – even if they aren’t for sale. It’s an interactive showroom of epic proportions.
- Product experience – Samsung have created a social space where people discover what’s new in the world of Samsung for themselves without feeling pressured to buy. By omitting the expectation of purchase the tech giant has sent a very clear message that they want their customers to enjoy the brand freely.
- Value-added unique events – offering one off screenings, special announcements and unmissable events is a catch-all way to add value to an experiential event – a unique experience is at the core of the Samsung flagship.
Events like these are changing the landscape of event marketing – brands are interacting with their customers face-to-face more than ever and customers are coming to expect and appreciate humanized brands rather than faceless corporate companies.
Versatility and uniqueness characterize experiential campaigns: they can be in any form, take place over any time-scale and relay any brand message but to leave a lasting impact with your customers they must be personal and passionate.