What Brands Use Experiential Marketing?

If you have ever seen someone giving away free samples at the supermarket, then you have experienced experiential marketing. But we promise it can get a lot more interesting than that. Gone are the days when a consumer just needed to like your products. Now brands need to be relatable and show they connect with their consumers. Creating experiences is the perfect way to engage with your consumer base and make your brand unforgettable.

What Brands Use Experiential Marketing?

Experiential, sometimes called engagement, marketing can cover a wide range of events. It essentially means that the company has gone beyond traditional advertising and created something that allows the consumer to really connect with the product. Often this means putting on an event, creating an experience that enables the consumer to really interact with the product.

The list of companies using this style of branding and advertising grows longer every year. As demand grows for connection, trends change to a preference for experiences, and technology allows more innovative campaigns, more brands have seen the power of this concept.

 

The Experts in the Field (and in the Park, the Bar, and More…)

LuluLemon

LuluLemon is often considered a giant when it comes to this type of marketing. While some companies go for big, loud events to bring an awareness of and personality to their brand, LuluLemon is effective by living what they sell.

They continuously run HIIT and yoga workshops and consistently provide spaces for people to use their product for a good workout. These events promote the health and well-being that many purchasing their products are striving to achieve. And helping their customers with the shock that, stylish as they are, having the right pants doesn’t do the whole job for you.

Red Bull

Red Bull has always had its finger on the (likely fast racing) pulse in marketing. Attaching themselves to music and extreme sports, they have created a pretty cool image for something people usually use to stay up all night to write assignments and program code.

Not content to sit on the sidelines, Red Bull has had enormous success running their own events. They have created events that specifically and effectively target their own demographic. These include a zany Soapbox race that invites fans to make and race their own self-made carts. Most famously, they sent skydiver Felix Baumgartner to space for the world’s longest skydive. A pretty awesome stunt from a soft drinks company.

Netflix

Netflix is a company that is good at getting its audience. They respond to the data they collect by creating content that people want to watch. Sounds pretty simple, but a lot of other companies don’t seem to get it. They’ve applied these same skills to create some fantastic events to promote their shows and brands.

They are a fan of creating spaces that allow fans to immerse themselves in the worlds of their TV shows. For instance, Mayor Kline’s Fun Fair in Santa Monica allowed people to immerse themselves in the world of Stranger Things. Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garten in Austin was transformed into a speakeasy to promote The Highwayman. To promote their film, Birdbox, they sent a double-decker bus around Los Angeles and Austin to invite participants on to give them some thrilling jump-scares. A pretty memorable piece of marketing.

Airbnb

It may not be surprising to learn that Airbnb is skilled at experiential marketing as offering experiences is a key section of their platform, but they’ve put on some impressive events to promote their hosting platform too.

They have teamed up with VICE and Pantone to create some unique stunning places for people to stay. Their most elaborate giveaway involved sending the lucky winners to have a sleepover with The Mona Lisa in the Louvre. This prize included a feast, private art tour, and concert in Napoleon III’s lavish Apartments surrounded by priceless artwork.

Innovators in the Streets

Zappos

Zappos experiential marketing got a lot of attention when they asked people to give up free cupcakes. They partnered up with Google and followed a Google van giving away free cupcakes in exchange for selfies. Their station then offered a chance to exchange these cupcakes for goodie bags from their brand.

Videos of people hesitantly handing over their delicious-looking cupcakes to what is essentially a guy in a box are pretty hilarious and gained attention. They did receive nice sunglasses and watches in return. We may have stuck with the cupcake though.

Misereor

This one required a lot of coordination but was a pretty special “Social Swipe” Billboard: interactive billboards that you could use to donate $2 at locations such as airports and shopping malls. They would feature things like a loaf of bread you could ‘slice’ with your card and know that money was donated to feed people.

The company fighting poverty found a new way to make people care to donate. Misreor capitalized on the fact that we never carry cash anymore, and tapping or swiping our cards is no longer strange.

Oreos

Oreos put together a delicious and creative innovation with 3D-printed Oreos. Oreo partnered with Maya design at SXSW for this stunt. They utilized a lot of current technologies to create their experience.

Those visiting the Oreo Lounge could choose from 12 creamy flavor combos, and their cookie would be ready in under 2 minutes. It’s a lot more tech involved than just pulling one from the wrapper but very clever marketing.

Creative Campaigns

WestJet

WestJet received thousands of views on their heartwarming “Christmas Miracle” campaign YouTube video. They had asked passengers about to step on a flight what Christmas presents they would like.  While the flight was en route, staff rushed to buy those exact gifts and deliver them to guests at the baggage carousel.

The passengers were pretty surprised to see the gifts they had asked for actually appear. There were widescreen TVs, Android tablets, Galaxy Phones, and more. There was also one guy opening a packet of underwear and socks, who probably regrets that he didn’t go a bit bigger. Not hard to see why most of these folks would have a strong attachment and want to book WestJet again.

Casper

Casper has been doing a pretty good job making some excitement out of marketing mattresses. Something many would consider a pretty mundane purchase. They got people talking with their clever marketing at the annual South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.

This particular year the usual shortage of hotel rooms was worsened by a flight-canceling snowstorm. Casper teamed up with Standard Hotel’s One: Night app to provide cheap hotel rooms for people. Of course, they fitted those hotel rooms with a Casper mattress. There were also plenty of extras added on, including the option to call for a bedtime story and have someone tuck you in!

Coca Cola

Coca-Cola offered free James Bond movie tickets from a vending machine at a train station in Antwerp, Belgium. The catch was that you had to get to another vending machine on another platform in seventy seconds. Along the way, they had strategically placed obstacles to get through.

Video of the stunt quickly went viral. This fun and adventurous giveaway created good publicity for both Coca-Cola and the new James Bond film.

Mistakes Have Been Made

Although using experiences in marketing is a great strategy, it is important to know what you’re doing. When interacting with your consumer base, there’s a lot to think about and a lot that can go wrong. Our article wouldn’t be complete without talking about some of those disasters.

 

Dr. Pepper

Dr. Pepper had a fun-sounding campaign with a large-scale treasure hunt for people across the city. The prizes were pretty big, too. One gold coin would get the claimant ten thousand dollars in return.

It’s all fun and games until someone buries a coin in a cemetery. Hard to see exactly how no one could see the upcoming disaster. The city pretty quickly closed off access to the site as players started to descend; as you might expect, they were pretty concerned about the cemetery being desecrated as people tried to find the valuable coin. Dr. Pepper: “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Jagermeister

Well, Jagermeister really did mess up by accidentally poisoning those attending their event. In Leon, Mexico the folks running a pool party decided the event would be super cool if they poured liquid nitrogen over the pool to create a smoke effect.

Shockingly, these party planners were no experts in chemistry. What they did not realize was that liquid nitrogen combined with chlorine creates a toxic reaction. The fumes that rose from the pool caused several people to fall ill.

Snapple

Snapple created a fruity flood all down the center of New York in a disaster you would think would be easier to spot coming. They decided to create a 25-foot-tall, 17½-ton frozen version of their drink as a downtown stunt.

As it was a hot summer’s day, and the giant popsicle quickly started to melt. Firefighters had to close off city streets to clear up the mess as would-be onlookers fled for higher ground.

As you can see, experiential marketing is all around with many large brands trying their hand in creating engaging events to promote their brand and engage their consumers. When you get it right, it can be very effective in creating a positive memory and link to your brand with customers. If you would like to learn more and get professional help engaging your clients, talk to King Sixteen today.

What Does an Experiential Marketer Do?

Experiential marketing means putting a whole event together that represents brands and engages consumers. As you can imagine, that involves a lot of work. An experiential marketer needs creativity, organization, people skills, and a lot of energy. They also need to have an exceptional understanding of the market and what people want from a brand.

You can think of it in terms of putting together a film. There needs to be an idea, someone with a vision. A production stage with many hands working together to achieve the goal. Distributing the concept to a wider audience follows. Someone yelling “action” is completely optional.

What Does an Experiential Marketer Do?

The Idea Stage

This is where the marketer can really shine in creating amazing ideas for their brand, but it takes a lot of work.

Market Research

It might sound pretty obvious, but knowing the market is a big part of the success here. Understanding the brand you are working with and the demographic they want to target is the key to succeeding in experiential marketing.

A wonderful idea that doesn’t match a brand’s demographic will cause carnage and potentially ruin the client’s image. A wonderful idea that doesn’t do what the client wants it to do is unhelpful. A wonderful idea that costs too much is probably not all that wonderful an idea.

Having marketing knowledge is the foundation top putting together a good experience. There are fundamental dos and don’ts. A marketer creating these experiences needs to understand the underlying concepts about client bases and what consumer groups respond to. You do not want someone who has skipped their schooling here. A good team will do their research before planning an event.

 

Working With the Brand

Do they want to target new clients or existing ones? What do they hope to get from this event? Are they happy to pair up with other brands? What should this campaign say, or not say, about them? Sometimes clients might not even know the answers to these questions, so working it out in the early stages is really important.

Clear goals are what we want here. Really understanding the brand, what they represent, and who they want to target. For experiential marketing, the team involved needs to work closely with their client and be skilled in understanding their needs. Putting everyone on the same page. Reading from the same hymnsheet. Synergising. All the cliches.

 

Brainstorming

In this kind of marketing, innovation is everything. A good event strives to be memorable. This is what successful experiential marketing does. Consumers should come away thinking of the brand in a fresh new light and wanting to engage further with them. A lot of marketing revolves around connecting with consumers. However, in this industry, the work involves a lot more than just creating a successful Insta post for people to click and like.

Even giving away free stuff can fall flat if it feels tired and jaded. And no company wants it to look like they can’t even give their product away. It is acceptable to use similar tactics, such as getting people to pose for a photo or giving away product samples. However, a marketer needs to put a unique spin on their version of the event that will really show off the value of a product. The experiential marketing team is the architect behind that idea.

Getting the Word Out

Party planning 101. If you want people to turn up to you’ve got to invite them. This work involves getting all across the brand’s social media so that everyone and their sister knows about the incredible event you are putting together and wants to join in.

This side of the job puts us back in the more traditional marketing territory of understanding social media. Of course, some events will be private and there isn’t a need for this. Some, however, need a deft hand to get the word out to the relevant demographic so that they can turn up to engage with and promote the brand.

 

Event Planning

Of course, actually planning the event is a key part of the job. Depending on the type of event or experience, this could mean a huge number of things. So an experiential marketer has to be flexible and ready to liaise with a huge amount of different companies to set the event up successfully.

Of course, there are the boring sides of liability insurance, health and safety, and adequate facilities to think about too. In this role, checking every box and dreaming up every possible scenario is critical to ensure an event runs smoothly. When representing a brand, there is no room for error.

To further crash the dream party, there are the harsh realities of a budget. Every campaign needs to work within the confines of the budget set for the project. Of course, giving away a free iPod to customers is probably a great way to get them to love a brand, but the job here is to get a little more creative with the funds. This means thinking creatively to really get the most out of any set budget.

The Production Stage

Leading Events

Here is where the action happens. Experiential marketing can mean anything from a small giveaway to a full-scale concert. Depending on the event, the logistics can get very complicated. A good experiential marketing team needs to be able to handle a wide variety of different tasks.

Keeping guests and venues happy, organizing catering, decorating locations, managing equipment, and coordinating staff are just some of the many things to have a handle on. On top of that, should any issues arise on the day, they need to be smoothly and calmly sorted out.

As with any event planning, days can be long and incorporate many different skill-sets. Staying calm under pressure is another required feature of a great event marketer. However, there is no better feeling than pulling off an incredible event that represents the client wonderfully.

 

Filming Events

In many cases, if the company is putting together something unique, entertaining, or endearing, they are going to want the rest of the world to see it. Sure, you can put on a fun show for a handful of people in one city on one day, but why not show everyone else?

If you impressed the people who directly engaged, you’ll want to make sure that emotion can translate through to some great footage. Maybe onlookers will film it themselves. But a good experiential marketing team will ensure that there is professional footage too so that anyone with access to YouTube can also see what an amazing event the brand held.

The Distribution Stage

Showing Off the Event

If the event was filmed, that film needs to get out into the world. Working across different platforms, experiential marketing teams will work to showcase their footage. This involves making sure the footage is well-edited and represents exactly what the company wanted. Well-edited footage of a great brand experience can then be seen by thousands of possible or existing customers.

Brands have huge success with experiential marketing when the video goes viral. A heart-warming scene of a surprise giveaway can go pretty far online. And that is excellent news for the brand behind that heart-warming video. A marketer who has an excellent understanding of just how to do that will return even more on investment for their client.

Analyzing Reports

Obviously the most fun part of any job is analyzing the data. Okay, maybe not, but it is very important. You need to know if your campaign works. Tracking sales or engagement with a brand can give an insight into how well the campaign you put together performed.

There are many indicators that a brand event has gone successfully. Sometimes it can be as obvious as tracking sales. Other times it might be looking at sign-ups, gauging customer responses, looking at how long people stayed, or monitoring social media buzz. Another aspect of the job is to know which of these factors matter and what you are expected to deliver.

There’s often a large investment in these kinds of events. Any good experiential marketer will do the proper research to know that they are returning on that investment. Their work will improve the image, reach, or sales of their client. When things haven’t gone completely right, it is important to know why and what happened. And when they have gone right, it’s nice to know just how right and learn from that too.

Need Help?

So, what do experiential marketers do? The answer, as you can see, is a lot. Taking a brand, understanding them and what they want, all the way to forming an idea and executing it flawlessly. It’s a huge responsibility and can really boost a business’s performance when done right. Certainly, any brand wants the right team behind them when they want to pull this off.

At KingSixteen we have an experienced and accomplished experiential marketing team. We work hard to perform all the tasks mentioned above and love doing it. If you would like to talk to us about the vision you have for your brand call KingSixteen today. We would love to discuss and design the perfect event for your brand.

What Is an Example of Experiential Marketing?

There’s a new trend in the marketing world. Experiential marketing, or engagement marketing, is a way of organically growing customer support and loyalty through direct engagement of consumers through fun and innovative means. There are so many benefits to using this method of promotion for your business and so it’s no wonder companies across the world are adopting the strategy for themselves.

What Is an Example of Experiential Marketing?

The Basics

Engagement marketing has customers at its heart. By engaging with the general public, brands can form a strong bond with their customers, often far deeper than what would be expected from a standard advertising campaign. Potential customers aren’t just informed about the brand and its products, they’re invited to participate in the culture of the brand and take a stake in the business, helping them feel immersed in the company.

 

By using events and communications which offer something of interest to customers in the advertising process, this marketing strategy is a customer-centered form of marketing that is efficient in its use of resources to generate customers. But there’s only so much you can learn about this marketing strategy from learning about the theory. The best way to understand how engagement marketing works and all the ways it can benefit your business is to look at real-world examples.

Classic Campaigns

Although this form of marketing is becoming ever more popular, it’s been around for a long time. In fact, even if you don’t realize it, you’ve more than likely come across plenty of these campaigns yourself over the years. One of the best-known examples is the Macy’s Day Parade. This marketing event has become something approaching a public holiday and generates enormous publicity and brand recognition, with kids begging their parents to take them to see the floats.

Everyone’s heard of the parade and it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, not to mention television and other media coverage. Attendees of the Macy’s Day Parade might not feel like they’re attending a marketing event. They’re just there to watch the floats go by and soak in the atmosphere. The fact is, they’re being drawn into a highly successful marketing campaign for both Macy’s itself as well as a bevy of other brands.

Recent Developments

Although they share the same basic traits, modern engagement marketing campaigns have changed greatly from the well-known classic examples. The introduction of new communication technologies allows brands to make all new connections with their customer base and the public at large. As such, the events that normally form the basis of engagement marketing are enhanced by the digital world, using the internet and social media to create a buzz.

Many large media companies use events to grow buzz around their products. This essentially follows the philosophy big sports franchises and musicians use to create a loyal fanbase. The connection you might feel with the local baseball team or your favorite band is likely stronger than the connection you feel with a big clothes company. But both are money-making enterprises and both have the capacity to draw support in the same way if given the chance.

Advantages Over Traditional Marketing

Engagement marketing has been described as a system that allows customers to be the driving force in the interaction between themselves and the business. If you think back to interactions you’ve had with salespeople, you’ll probably remember feeling more favorably about salespeople who sat back and let you make your own decisions, helping you when called upon, rather than badgering you and pushing for the hard sell on products you aren’t necessarily interested in.

These kinds of marketing campaigns don’t just get the name of your business out there and bring in new customers and added revenue. They can inspire greater levels of customer loyalty than other marketing campaigns, helping with customer retention, and encouraging recommendations among friends and family.

A Modern Campaign

Let’s say a new restaurant in New York City wants to create buzz around its location, its products, and its branding. Located in an extremely competitive market, the restaurant’s marketing team would need to think outside the box to get the word out about their business. When there are so many other dining options nearby, simply handing out leaflets and hoping to be the best isn’t going to cut it.

The restaurant might arrange a special event to draw in potential diners. It could involve something unique and creative which showcases the restaurant’s strength, like a special food testing, party, or even a cookery class. Or else, online elements could be used, like holding an online poll to decide the menu or décor, giving customers a real stake in the restaurant and allowing them to feel connected to the brand.

Other Methods

Another advantage of engagement marketing is the sheer versatility which it offers customers. In essence, when it comes to engagement marketing, if you can think of it, it can be done. Campaigns can be run on as large or small a scale as you like, with everything from the smallest to the largest of businesses represented.

Alternative methods of engagement marketing include offering a unique set of branded collectibles, organizing flash mobs, secret events, concerts, and creating video series. The only limits are the bounds of you and your marketing team’s imaginations!

Smaller Examples

Engagement marketing isn’t just for big, multinational companies. It’s also an ideal strategy for smaller, locally-based enterprises. Even a small boutique store welcoming only a small number of customers per day could benefit from this kind of innovative marketing campaign. In fact, it can be particularly successful when targeted at small numbers of a specific community, rather than the general public as a whole.

A special event can show a niche community that your business understands how to cater to their specific needs. A catwalk event at the boutique might show the customers this business understands the intricacies of high fashion. Or a meet and greet with a famous model or designer can piggyback off the popularity of others, associating their popularity with your own business in the minds of consumers.

Online Campaigns

While lots of engagement marketing uses real-world premises to host events, like parties, meet and greets, showcases, and parades. But this is the modern world, so the online world should play a large part in advertising. Just because part of a campaign isn’t conducted in the flesh doesn’t mean it won’t have high levels of engagement. Popular social media platforms have millions of users, and many of these people form strong brand relationships through online interaction.

There are so many ways to engage a customer base online. Digital polls, videos, websites, and so much more can be used to create an engaging and memorable campaign. For example, one professional sports team ran public polls on which of their players they should offer new contracts to. This helped fans feel a sense of engagement with the team and its overarching brand, as well as gain press coverage from national and international outlets.

More Benefits

Customers have been shown to have higher levels of engagement and brand loyalty when they feel more engaged with the business. These campaigns grow organically, with social media, word of mouth, and media all contributing to the buzz, allowing the campaign to grow exponentially. When people on the street are talking about your company, it’s worth more than all the TV or radio airtime you could pay for.

Although engagement marketing is the perfect method of drawing in a modern, cosmopolitan crowd, it can be tweaked and tailored to your target audience, bringing in exactly the clientele you’re looking for.

Press Coverage

Particularly innovative campaigns of this nature often benefit from an extra bonus in the form of press coverage. How often have you seen news reports on special events in your town which on further investigation turn out to be deliberately thought up by the business for exposure?

This is actually an excellent strategy, allowing you to multiply the positive impact of your campaign and gain you huge levels of publicity. And the best part is, an article about your company will be more effective than equivalent advertising could ever be. The public will naturally give more attention to a genuine news story on the TV or in print media than they would to a clearly marked advertisement. Plus, there’s always the possibility you’ll receive attention from multiple outlets!

Engagement Marketing for You

We can work with you to create a bespoke event that will work to your needs. While a conventional campaign of television, radio, or billboard advertisements will get you so far, engagement marketing campaigns are by far the best way to generate a loyal and organic customer base.

We can tailor your needs and resources to create the perfect engagement campaign. Even with limited resources or a challenging market, we can come up with something to set your business apart and give it a strong and unique bond with customers.

King Sixteen understands how to structure innovative and effective marketing campaigns. We’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest brands and have the experience and ingenuity to make any campaign a success. Contact King Sixteen today for your own quality marketing campaign.