Using Product Development Practices to Optimize Experiential Campaigns (The White Board)

Key Takeaways

  • The product development process includes critical steps such as building, measurement, optimization, and promotion. Your event production process should too.
  • Consumer-generated content is one of the most important elements to consider when designing a brand activation.
  • Due to the high-impact, viral nature of immersive brand experiences, experts are dubbing them the “new frontier of marketing.”

How Brands Can Use Product Development Tactics to Improve Experiential Campaigns

“If you build it, they will come.” The core of any company’s value proposition lies in its product or service offering. When it comes to product development, companies go through rigorous processes to ensure that their offering is valuable and relevant. And even with the best marketing campaign around, it is the quality of and need the product fills that creates brand fans. Great products not only sell themselves but earn word-of-mouth by people who can’t stop raving about it. So it is to the thoroughness of product development that experiential marketers should look when planning brand activations as well, according to this Adweek article.

The article identifies several steps in product development, from conception to planning, that should be included in the design and execution of a brand activation. Establishing KPIs, using data-driven decision-making, and more, can promote success in experiential. Like setting product performance goals, identifying exactly what an event should accomplish sets a foundation to reach brand activation ROI.

Consumer-Generated Content is Transforming Events

When it comes to brand experiences, engagement is key. Incorporating a measurable means of consumer engagement not only promotes brand/consumer relationships, it allows the brand to calculate ROI. And while many companies are demonstrating a tie between experiential and revenue, those are not the only metrics brands should track. Measurements like impressions and social media shares might not show a financial impact, but they can help demonstrate an event’s success as it relates to consumer impact and reach beyond the footprint.

One way to achieve a higher number of impressions, shares, and event buzz is through user-generated content. Instead of simply relying on an internal social media team, when attendees create their own content they amplify the event in an authentic way. After all, research shows that 98% of experiential event attendees will create content, and of those, 100% will share it. Brands might design an area where people can snap a photo or video and post using a custom hashtag. According to a SocialTables article, by creating these user-generated opportunities, event engagement can increase by 28%.

Behr Uses NYC Pop-up to Showcase Its Color of the Year

Choosing a paint color for a room is rarely simple. Even when you start with a vision in mind, getting a paint color home and on the wall the way you envisioned it can sometimes be a monumental task. And that’s when you know what you are looking for. Sometimes you want to know what colors are out there, and which are most fashionable. Wouldn’t it be great if you would walk into a beautifully decorated room that already showcased popular colors on the wall? Paint brand Behr saw an opportunity to create a brand experience that would show off the beauty of its products and inspire attendees to spruce up their living spaces.

Partnering with home improvement store Home Depot, Behr launched a pop-up in New York City to showcase their color of the year, “Blueprint.” The activation consisted of showrooms that allowed attendees to see the color in action. And as with all successful brand activations, the event included a photo op. Attendees were even able to shop the showrooms in real time! Check out the brand activation here.


Technology Improves Processes but Cannot Replace the Human Touch

At Elevate, we will be the first to admit that we enjoy the benefits of technology. We have developed proprietary event management platforms that provide efficiencies and allow us to scale on a global level. We provide reports and event insights for clients that were simply not available in the past. We communicate with our teams in real time, relaying critical information that allows the show to go on no matter what. But we are also in the people business. And every day we are reminded that no matter how advanced technology is, nothing compares to human interactions.

In fact, during the 2018 Dreamforce conference, a common theme among presenters and attendees was the importance of technology as a tool, but not the driver of the customer experience. This rings true across many facets of business, from sales to customer service and marketing. And as this Marketing Week article suggests, technology can enhance the trust that so many consumers expect from brands.

Why Immersive Experiences are the “Next Frontier in Marketing”

The best brand activations immerse consumers in an experience; they excite and engage people to action. By providing consumers with a novel, often unexpected, brand experience, they will not need a push. They will want to talk about the event with their friends and share their experiences. A prime example of this type of “everyone is talking about it” success is the ever-popular Museum of Ice cream. The pop-up will go down in the experiential history books as one of the catalysts that helped ignite the pop-up phenomenon. It is creative, engaging, and encourages social media sharing – everything you want in a pop-up experience.

The Museum of Ice Cream, along with similar events such as 29Rooms and Meow Wolf, found success in considering the attendee experience from all angles. These include telling a story and appealing to participants on a multi-sensory level. By looking at the common denominators in these FOMO-led activations, brands can refine their own brand experience to include those components that are driving so much success.

The Most Intriguing Tiny House – in the Middle of New York City

This summer, we saw a trend rise in the world of brand activation. In lieu of mobile units, tents and other traditional experiential structures, brands were spotted across the country executing brand experiences in tiny houses. There were several reasons at play behind why tiny house activations were such a hit. For one, the benefits of using a tiny house extend to both brands and consumers. For brands, the costs can be less, and the logistics related to set up, take down, and materials transport are much easier. As for consumers, we seem to gravitate to the extremes; that which larger than life or adorable and tiny.

One recent and notable tiny house activation took place in New York. Partnering with comedian Kevin Hart, created a “Tiny House with Big Personality.” The house, which was a custom 24 x 8-foot home, was listed on for people to reserve for a one night only. By creating an environment of exclusivity, gave lucky customers a once in a lifetime chance to stay in the middle of Herald Square in New York City, and the rest of us something to pine after.

The National Park Foundation’s Pop-up Provides Attendees with a Multi-Sensory Experience

The United States has 60 natural places that are protected, designated as national parks. Some of the more recognizable include the Grand Canyon in Arizona, which has been named one of the seven natural wonders of the world, or Niagara Falls, which flows 3,160 tons of water per second. Not only do these places offer incredible views into the natural world, they have also become woven into our national fabric. Yet, as inherently American as these sites are, not everyone can enjoy these treasured places.

Knowing this, The National Parks Foundation built an experience in Seattle that gave city dwellers an opportunity to experience these national sites and all of the sounds that exist within them. From a headphone wall, passersby were invited to listen to nature while educating themselves on the state’s national parks. Check out all the details of the activation here.

Dunkin and Dove Give Consumers an Opportunity to Groom and Caffeinate

When brands plan experiential activations, often they do so in partnership with non-competitive brands. The benefits of this strategy are many. Brand partnerships allow companies to add immense value to the activation that each brand alone would not be able to offer. They can expand its reach by tapping into both companies’ followings. And, they can make the activation more cost-effective, as there are two financial contributors rather than one.

And sometimes brands can find success with this strategy in partnerships that are unexpected. One in particular was Dunkin Donuts and Dove Dry Shampoo recent National Coffee Day activation. The two brands partnered under the slogan “running on coffee and dry shampoo.” The campaign focused on our modern busy lifestyles and created a “styling café” as a way to engage customers. Check out the full details on the Marketing Dive article.

Author: Elissa Liong

Elissa Liong is the Data and Analytics Manager at Elevate Staffing. She's a certain kind of particular, and loves thinking about all things data and insights. When she's not uncovering consumer insights and building out engagement tools that people love, she is probably at the gym or reading online spoilers about TV shows (even for episodes she hasn’t watched yet).


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