Experiential marketing best practices
There is no one size fits all solution to everything in life, similarly, there is no thumb rule when it comes to marketing. Every person is unique, every situation is unique, but is it possible to tailor a product or solution for every individual? Definitely not, this is why we need guidelines, not a set of fixed rules that can be applied universally. In the experiential marketing domain, there are many success stories like the Coca Cola ‘Open Happiness’ campaign that has set a benchmark for emotional connect with consumers through its various initiatives across the globe. Every brand cannot replicate that and should not. However, there can be best practices or in other terms strategies that every brand can leverage to create its own successful experiential campaign for its target consumers.
This goes without saying, the need for experiential marketing arose for the sole purpose of emotionally building a relationship with a consumer. It is probably the most important reason why brands even explore experiential domain. It is the only factor that separates it from other marketing tactics. Even most cleverly written copy or visually striking ads cannot compare with the emotional power of human-to-human interaction, which is why business meetings are still done in person even today in a world of Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp. Brands should be investing time in understanding their potential target audience, their overall persona and what kind of messaging can resonate amongst them. To summarize, every activity needs to address how it will impact consumers emotionally.
Event marketing is a powerful strategy that many brands have mastered like Red Bull. Creation and fostering of long-term relationship between brands and people happens where there is interaction. An event provides an ideal platform for this to happen. Brands today are increasingly making use of events to build relationships and create positive experience of their brand with customers. Red Bull has created events like Red Bull Flugtag in India, where audiences become participants. Once consumers get involved in an activity physically, they automatically build a relationship. So, event marketing can be used by brands to achieve higher level of consumer engagement that can be turned into long-term consumer loyalty.
Sponsorship may not be always about attracting brands to your event but it is also about co-branding for an event that can amplify a brand’s messaging. For example, Red Bull is a co-sponsor of many extreme games and sporting events that makes its flagship drink resonate with consumers as a drink meant to revitalize one when they are doing a tough task such as sports or any activity that has ‘toughness’ quotient to it. Being co-sponsor at major events not allows a brand to convey a subliminal message but gain more visibility at the same time.
This medium provides a parallel platform to engage with customers as well as amplify a regional or event-centric activity to the wide pool of people on social media, who may otherwise not even come to know about an activity of a brand. Not only that, using social media a brand can connect and engage with customers before an activity, during an activity and post an activity. We live in a digital age where news breaks on social media before traditional mediums of news, so it offers a huge potential if leveraged right. Today, brands have started becoming inclusive of social media links and hashtags even in their outdoor advertisements. In 2014’s Super Bowl, most brands were seen carrying social media links and tags on their advertisements, which reflects the increasing importance of this medium for brands today.
Once the engagement happens, the duty of a brand doesn’t end there. The engagement isn’t an eternal proposition and agreement that just happens once. The brands needs to follow up with consumers on a regular basis, so through experiential marketing, brands ambassadors are created where they go to their friends and family and genuinely promote the product. Follow ups also make consumers feel valued by the brand and a sense of relationship is established. However, a brand must ensure that they do not over communicate with consumers that they feel spammed.
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