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Unbox your imagination, come alive with Experiential Marketing: Dr Asit K Barma & Dr Mafruza Sultana

It becomes critical for corporates today to innovate, think out of the box and merge the best of technology and creativity to offer an exceptional, unforgettable and personalised experience to consumers write Asit K Barma & Mafruza Sultana, IFIM Business School.

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Dr Asit K Barma and Dr Mafruza Sultana

Following COVID-19, technology assumes a new role in our daily lives- zero touch and work / learn from home, webinars replacing conferences, movie goers turning to Netflix or Amazon prime, tele medicines, online shopping and payment, all these phenomena have become part of the new normal in our life today. Brands and consumers are increasingly getting more comfortable with virtual experiences. Therefore, it becomes critical for corporates today to innovate, think out of the box and merge the best of technology and creativity to offer an exceptional, unforgettable and personalised experience to consumers.

Covid19 induced lock down has accelerated ‘Going Digital’ initiatives, and various marketing programs today are incorporating Virtual Platforms, Virtual Engagement & Networking, Digital Interactivity, Mixed Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and integrating the same with creativity, imagination and theories of behavioural science.

With virtual football gaining popularity, the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich decided to build on this global phenomenon by opening a new exhibition area, “eFootball: the Virtual Pitch”. Open to visitors from July 16, 2020 as part of the permanent exhibition, this is changing the form of experiential marketing.At the time of FIFA World Cup, 2018, in Zurich, Coca-Cola set up an Augmented Reality experience booth near a train station.Standing there you could watch your favourite soccer player and also make a soccer move with the player. Creating such absorbing brand experiences an art of Experiential Marketing.

Not so long ago, Heineken experience unveiled by the famous Dutch brewing company has become a part of the bucket list of items that one must visit while at Amsterdam. The Heineken museum, situated in a former brewery, provides its guests an interactive tour through the history of Heineken. For the finale, the guests will be taken to the tasting room to try out drinks as per their wish.To attract tourists to the Heineken Experience, they developed the idea of offering signature green bottles of Heineken with a GPS system placed randomly at different locations in the city.

Once the person starts walking, with the bottle in hand, the built-in compass will cause the bottle to vibrate and point the person holding it to follow a route, following major sightseeing spots and landmarks of the city, until finally leading the person to the Heineken Experience. Heineken Experience attracted730,000 people in 2014, and the count is increasing ever since with each year. The key differentiator was in leaving each visitor with a lifetime experience.Bas Korsten, Executive Creative Director, JWT Amsterdam said, their creative challenge was to elevate all that the Heineken Experience stands for by bringing the beer lovers at the centre of the action to experience the brand’s heritage in anunanticipated way with lots of joy.It was exceedinglysalientto them toensure that the make of the bottle stays as original, while technology, creativity, and innovations interweave to leave each visitor with a life time fun moment.

Invisible interfaces today take over from physical or direct digital interaction with the rise of Internet of Things (IoT). Technology is increasingly providing opportunity for brands to personalise their sales promotion using iBeacons, geo-fencing, or hyper localisation to engage with users on their mobile devices. As an example, such technologies enable consumers to redeem their digital coupons by having a super market cashier scan their mobile device.

Experiential Marketing is broadly enabled by the following five components (Schmitt-1999):

1. SENSE: Sense marketing relates to creating value by appealing to our five senses of smell, taste, touch, hearing and sight.

2. FEEL: Feel marketing connects to the moods and passions of consumers.

3. THINK: Think marketing induces logic reasoning and deeper association with the brand.

4. ACT: Act marketing is key to consumer collaboration and action that makes the experience

absorbing, like you play with your favourite player in an AR space. Or how you live the game with a VR PlayStation.

5. RELATE: Relate marketing goes beyond the consumer’s sensual experiences, or actions, and connects them to the brand ethos, help them relate to the socio-cultural aspects of the brand, like promoting green or organic products.

It makes sense to examine how experiential marketing creates experiential value. Experiential values are of two types: intrinsic and extrinsic as described in Figure 1 (source: Math wick C, Malhotra N. and Rigdon E, 2001), realised in active or reactive mode.

Sources of extrinsic value

(i) Return on Investment: Consumers seek return on investment in terms of their physical, behavioural, psychological, and financial stakes put in.

(ii) Service Excellence: This is perceived by the consumers as a testimony to quality processes followed in the entire experience creation and this results in respect and loyalty to the brand.

Sources of intrinsic value

(i) Aesthetics: Pleasing visual elements in the entire consumer experience journey adds to the entertainment and pleasure.

(ii) Playfulness: AR/VRdriven games / immersive activities that provide consumers an escape from everyday chores and engage in a surreal experience.

Typology of Experiential Value


Active Value


Reactive Value

Intrinsic Value


Playfulness



Aesthetics

Extrinsic Value


Return on Investment 



Service Excellence


A research by Sense Agency (2016) reveals 72% of people think that brands spend all their time talking about themselves; 80% of people think that advertising is boring; and 88% of people think that brands are selfish. This is where ExM can do the magic. Marketers need to seriously think how digital and human touch points can come together to deliver the best possible customer experience across marketing channels. Human experience today is fast replacing the user experience- making consumers live the brand.


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