Jeff Bezos of Amazon says that brands are formed not by what companies say, but by what they do. I call it the gospel truth for SMEs when making their marketing strategies. While most companies focus on claims – newer, better, whiter, fairer, tastier – they forget that so is everyone else. That is why, smarter brands are choosing to rely on experiential marketing to invent new experiences, new ways to interact with customers.
Broadly speaking, experiential campaigns let your consumers get up close and personal with your brand and see how it fits in their lives. Apart from delivering deep impact for the brand, experiential campaigns can play a decisive role in:
1. Connecting With Consumers
A sales pitch in the garb of a marketing campaign is not fooling anyone. An insightful and well- thought-out experiential campaign gets the brand and its customers to participants in something new and exciting. As they let go of the seller and buyer roles, this is no longer a marketing gimmick forced on them but a shared adventure that helps connect with consumers when they are not on their guard.
2. Encouraging Interaction
Today brands are getting more and more social. They do not want to be the only ones talking and experiential makes marketing a two-way street. It does not get more real than users vouching for a product and sharing their experience. Experiential marketing urges consumers to do just that – interact with brands in new and exciting ways and share it with people – post it on social media forums, pass it on to other users or even text a friend.
3. Increasing Loyalty
Brands are increasingly wooing customers with deals and offers that are getting harder to resist. Does that make brand loyalty a thing of the past? Not if you ask me. With the threat of losing customers to a rival brand looming large, brand loyalty takes on meaning now, more than ever. Experiences – good or bad shape consumers’ attitude towards a brand and can buy their loyalty or destroy it forever. Interacting with a brand is a fun activity, taking home a freebie, getting pictures clicked during a campaign all amount to happy experiences that in turn translates into loyalty.
4. Making Your Brand More Relevant
Experiential marketing campaigns are based on an insight – they intend to solve a problem or appeal to an aspiration. Steer clear of marketers, who make your brand or product the hero of the campaign. The true hero is the experience and that is what makes it relevant to customers. The best campaigns are those that are designed around the lives of your customers and fit the product seamlessly in. That is why you will see campaigns like 7Up’s Melting Machine, Sprite’s soda shower and Coke’s frozen bottle in hot countries in the summer where people are looking for some respite from the heat.
5. Increase TrialIn times, when an average consumer is exposed to over 4,000 consumers daily, customers tend to stay away from marketing gimmicks. Experiential campaigns seamlessly blend the product experience into a broader theme, so that it does not feel forced. A launch campaign for Maybelline SuperStay 14 lipstick, gave women an experience of a tour of New York City right in the middle of a mall in Vashi to re-create a busy, packed lifestyle. The difference a long lasting lipstick could make in the lives of these women was felt by them in this 14-minute campaign.