Experiential marketing is a fully immersive face-to-face brand experience in public spaces in the form of trade shows, event activations, festivals, in-store shopper marketing strategies, branded public stunts, and the like. Experiential marketing exists outside traditional media channels and usually focuses on immersing consumers in unique experiences.
Experiential marketing generates awareness, engages your consumers, and builds brand loyalty. The best experiential marketing experiences deliver story-worthy experiences, evoking an emotional response that sticks with consumers, is shared by consumers, and attracts other potential customers to engage with your brand.
How has experiential marketing changed?
Social distancing and wearing masks is the new normal. This has changed consumer needs, and some of the popular experiential marketing strategies aren’t feasible in their original form. The conventions, festivals, and other major events that brands usually leverage for their activations have been postponed. This is because consumers spend less time or none in stores as they look for more convenient and safe ways of buying products.
Most of the classic offline experiential marketing options have been put on hold. This means, as a brand, you must find new ways to adapt your marketing strategies, or else, you risk losing your audience’s attention. Let’s look at how your brand can use experiential marketing in the context of a pandemic and beyond.
Virtual experiential marketing
Virtual experiential marketing consists of five elements – interaction, sense, flow, pleasure, and community relationship. All these five elements are used cohesively to create unique and pleasurable experiences that translate into deeper brand loyalty and creating awareness. With virtual experiential marketing, you can use the Internet to develop auditory and visual tools to mediate between consumers and your brand. They use content, customization, communication, customer care, community, and convenience. Your marketing team should come up with a strategy that caters to all these aspects.
Virtual experiential marketing can be accomplished using different digital tools to evoke the right emotions and cognitive attachment to brands. It’s pretty much digital marketing but with a UX design framework. The experience should be unique and pleasurable for users to share content with other users to promote your brand and products. There’s no one size fits all recipe for this; you can use readable content, infographics, short videos, manuals, e-books, and other media types.
You can also use live chat platforms where your brand engages with your users directly, and they can ask questions, interact, and all. Ensure that you choose a strategy that best fits your business’ product or service to create a better virtual experience for your target audience. Also, don’t forget to connect all these experiences with the substantial in-person offline experience.
In a Covid world, contactless is ideal. You’ve probably experienced some form of contactless experiential marketing if you’ve ever used a kiosk. Kiosks can replace a brand ambassador, which allows the customer to navigate to the information they need. Brands can take advantage and use kiosks.
Click, collect, and delivery has become a popular option for pharmacy and grocery shopping, which presents an opportunity for brands. The pandemic is driving more consumers online for their shopping, so you should optimize your brand and e-commerce site to provide the smoothest and most engaging user experience possible. The brand experience shouldn’t end there. CRM follow-ups, packaging, and order tracking are opportunities you should use to continue your narrative and build your relationship with the consumer. For bigger brands distributed in major retail sites, you can consider branded bags and baskets that the retailer can use to pack customers’ orders.
Contactless experiences also present sampling opportunities. You can consider strategic partnerships with category or brand-relevant products where bundle sampling makes sense, or stores that offer the click and collect service to surprise consumers with well-branded samples when they shop.
Using brand ambassadors
Using well-trained brand ambassadors is the most valuable touchpoint for your brand. Brand ambassadors offer your consumers a personal and adaptive experience, give your brand an actual face, and possess the skills necessary to engage your consumers who you want to win over. But then, when your brand ambassador needs to wear a mask and stand six feet away, the most personal form of experiential marketing suddenly seems rather impersonal.
Your consumers want to feel safe when interacting with your brand, so ensure that you set up your brand ambassador behind an acrylic or glass divider to make them more approachable. Don’t view masks as enforced anonymity. Instead, use them as an opportunity to use style, color, and other elements to communicate your brand message further.
If there are products that you have to distribute like brochures or cards, ensure that they are kept hygienic. The brand ambassador can control the distribution. Ensure there’s enough space and signage for your consumers to interact with your products or services, while still maintaining Covid regulations.
Offer blended experiences for events.
Your target audience is no longer just watching, but they are also engaging. Blended experiences offer personalized and interactive content, which users can access from the comfort of their homes. This means that brands are given a chance to execute events consumers want and are excited about, where the digital and physical join forces to bring brand campaigns to life through technology and personal interactions. The popularity of blended experiences has increased due to restrictions placed on large gatherings. With a blended experience, you fuse the offline with the online for a flawless branded promotion campaign.
Here are some tips you can learn to make your blended experience a success.
- Strategize – When you’re setting priorities for the how and why of your blended experience, you can tap into the long-term influence you want it to have on your audience. Once you have a strong strategy, you can choreograph your creative approach.
- Enhancing engagement – Whether you have a social media campaign to create hype for your brand or a five-star VIP experience for your loyal consumers, enhancing engagement beforehand will set the stage for a unique blended experience.
- Engage emotions – Offering your consumers or audience something they won’t find elsewhere is the whole point of a unique brand event. When you harness the sensory engagement with a specialized experience, it allows people to feel fully immersed in your brand.
- Mobile activations – Half of your blended experience will be a virtual experience, meaning the influence may be potentially global. You can capitalize on this advantage with in-person experiences where you can travel and have in-person tours employing experiential marketing trailers from https://www.craftsmenind.com/, which further build interactivity and engagement.
One of the best ways to catch and sustain your audience’s attention is through art installations. Marketers behind the ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ created a successful art installation to market this movie. If you’ve watched the trailer or the film, you remember that a science experiment resulted in food raining from the sky, and the people in the cartoons could see all types of food dropping from the sky.
They created large art installations of food sculptures that looked like they fell from the sky to promote this film. There was an art installation of a big burger that they laid down on a flight of stairs and an ice cream sculpture that seemed to fall upside down with the cone up. They grabbed people’s attention, and most people took photos and shared them on social media.
Having a well-designed art installation can give your brand social media mileage. It will get you engagement and conversions. It’s an old method, but it can work very well for your brand in this social distancing age if executed correctly.
You can collaborate with local artists and ad agencies to help you develop a visually stunning experiential art installation. It also doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Art installations range from temporary storefront designs to fully-fledged street installations.
Seminars and conventions
When companies organize events and seminars, they position themselves to be authorities in their industries. Most of all, you get to network with high-value prospects, experts, and partners in your field. In the event, target audiences are usually already captured in some way. Therefore, you have more chances of elaborating more about your brand and the products or services you offer.
The remarkable thing about this type of event is that it offers considerable value for your target audience. It also makes more sense for B2B businesses that offer SaaS or consultation services. You can have the workshops and seminars online. They are a great way to provide value, and they also increase interaction and engagement with your audience.
Technology has changed how we experience things. We can expect more virtual events in the future, which makes organizing experiential marketing campaigns easier. However, offline events are never going out of style. Brands can use blended experiences to expand their touchpoints and increase interactions and engagement.