What are Experiential Events?
Experiential marketing has become a popular way for brands to bond with their clients and customers. By providing an interactive experience customers are invited to engage physically with a product or brand, creating a tangible experience that is unique to this form of marketing. Creating a truly memorable personal experience for your customers leaves a lasting impression that can be difficult to replicate with other marketing channels.
Experiential Events: The Low Down
So what is an experiential event? Essentially an experiential event should seek to immerse people in an experience – it is not an event that they simply visit and observe, they should experience it on multiple levels. It might be allowing customers to try out a new product within a pop-up store environment, or inviting them to step inside their favourite TV show, for example.
One example is the IKEA big sleepover in which 100 people were invited to spend a night in the Essex IKEA store. Participants were invited to choose their own bedlinen and were treated to hot chocolate and cakes, a massage, a manicure and even a bedtime story ready by a local TV celebrity. A sleep expert was also on hand to advise people on choosing the right mattress.
Immersive Experiential Events
Here at Spinning Clock we have helped numerous clients put on truly immersive experiential events. We have created an entire toolkit for Disney Junior, including environments and activities for seven of their most popular TV shows, including The Lion Guard and Sofia the First. Thanks to the design of these experiential events, children can literally step into their favourite TV character’s world – the walls and flooring surrounding them are all inspired by artwork from the TV show. They can then take part in activities inspired by their favourite character, such as diagnosing toys in Doc McStuffins’ clinic, hopping on Miles from Tomorrow’s blastboard and trying on clothes in Minnie’s Bow-tique. Children leave the event with merchandise including masks and stickers to remind them of their experience.
How to Get Started With an Experiential Event
Here at Spinning Clock we can help you to plan your next experiential event. The first things to consider are what you want to achieve from the event and who your target audience will be. Experiential marketing is all about involving the audience in your event so they are not simply observers but participants, so understanding who your audience is is absolutely key to producing an effective experiential campaign.
Experiential events provide a unique opportunity for face-to-face interaction with your customers so it is important to create a really positive impression. One way to do this is to immerse them in a story so they can really feel a part of your brand. There are many ways to achieve this – through creating an immersive physical environment with custom walls, flooring and props, or by using virtual reality. Virtual reality can provide an unlimited wealth of different environments – the possibilities are almost endless! If your product is too large or complex to take to a conference or exhibition, virtual reality provides a means for customers to try it out in a virtual environment.
Once you have decided what the objective of your experiential event is, you will want to be able to measure its success. This can be problematic as one of the benefits of experiential marketing is in building a relationship with your customers and this can take a while to cultivate. Another benefit of experiential is that it is memorable – a participant in your experiential event may not be in the position to purchase your product or service at that time, but may have such a memorable experience that they decide to choose your brand in the future when they are in that position. These outcomes can be difficult to quantify.
Social media can be a helpful way to track engagement with your experiential event. Create a hashtag and encourage your visitors to share their experience on social media. You can capitalise on the initial buzz created by your event to support an ongoing marketing campaign. Be sure to keep reminding people about what happened after the event by posting photos, videos and testimonials.
If your objective is to gather subscribers or contacts, consider giving away a free gift or sample of your product, or running a competition, in exchange for their contact information.
Experiential Events: Ideas and Examples
Now that you have decided on your main objective, and pinpointed your target audience, next comes the fun part! Look at what your competitors have done, or if you’re the first (good for you!) look at what other big brands within your target demographic have been up to in terms of experiential. Look at what has and hasn’t worked. We can help you with this process and put together mood boards of existing ideas that could work really well for your target market. We can also help you to decide what really doesn’t work and make sure we steer well clear when designing your experiential campaign.
We can help you to find ideas that fit within your budget requirements – from a simple pop-up stand to a high-impact virtual reality activity zone! We will work with you to create something truly special, using technology and innovation to appeal to all the senses!
Why Do Experiential Marketing?
Your customers are constantly surrounded by content and marketing messages – so yours really needs to stand out from the crowd. The increasing demand from social media for viral content also means that a truly unique experiential event has the potential to reach a staggeringly large audience. This is potential that should be exploited.
Experiential marketing is worth the investment because it creates a truly lasting impact from face-to-face contact with potential customers. Real engagement with a brand can create a far more lasting impression on a potential customer, and is far more likely to accomplish behaviour change than a printed ad or online video.
Experiential marketing is unique in its ability to provide personal interaction with existing and potential new customers. New customers get the chance to experience your brand, and you get the opportunity to form an emotional connection which may progress to a longer-term customer relationship. Contact us to find out how you can use experiential marketing to enhance your next event.