We all know how much goes into developing a marketing campaign, yet experiential has an extra element of uncertainty that other marketing avenues don’t necessarily “enjoy.” As with any live event or experience, “live” can be both a benefit and a liability. As the saying goes, you get one chance to make a first impression. And even if your marketing team has perfected every talking point, brand asset, and logistical element, there is always uncertainty on event day. It is for this reason, and many others, that having the right people to represent your brand and execute your vision is paramount. This week, the White Board’s lead article explores the many ways that brand ambassadors make all the difference for an experiential campaign. We also discuss connecting with eSports fans and how to “read the minds” of Gen Z for better targeting.
The principle draw of every experiential campaign is the experience. And while the architecture behind the campaign may create a compelling and masterful environment, it is the people with whom consumers interact that breathe life into the brand. This is especially true when brands are looking to experiential to create and cultivate relationships to earn consumer loyalty. At Elevate, we know the importance of these people better than anyone. And so do the brands and agencies we work with.
In a recent blog post, Elevate client BeCore lays out the benefits of hiring the right brand ambassadors for experiential campaigns. They illustrate why professional brand ambassadors drive elements such as campaign amplification and brand reputation. The article asserts that brand ambassadors provide the authenticity that consumers crave. It is face-to-face conversations that help consumers feel more comfortable and connect with a brand. The full post can be found here.
When it comes to establishing metrics for experiential campaigns, it’s important to distinguish vanity metrics from actionable metrics. Metrics that are associated with purchasing habits can help determine the success of a campaign and a more accurate ROI. This type of quantifiable data can be collected onsite, either provided directly by the consumer or entered post-event by brand ambassadors.
One important aspect of data collection is that it is seamless. It is critical that consumers can engage with a brand and provide information without it appearing intrusive or inconvenient. From there, the data has to be meaningful and targeted toward sales. This article from Limelight provides several examples from top brands like Boeing and Clif Bar, whose high-impact experiential marketing campaigns focus on data that drives the bottom line.
This year, the eSports industry’s revenue is expected to reach a whopping $696 million, which is “a year-on-year growth of 41.3%.” The sector is on fire, and brands can’t help but take notice. Global brands such as Intel, Red Bull, and others are seeking to reach this audience through sponsorships and other marketing engagement opportunities. But, like traditional sports, eSport audiences vary tremendously. These fans are young, techy, and hyper-tuned into their game of choice. The eSport industry is filled with a web of nuances, and brands need to understand these intricacies if they want to see success.
According to Marketing Week, “it’s crucial for brands to understand that each eSports game is as distinct as football, rugby, or tennis, meaning each has its own fanbase which is loyal to a specific genre or format.” This means that one-size-fits-all marketing strategy for eSports will not work. The article clearly demonstrates that brands need to take their time in understanding exactly what their target audience will respond to and align themselves to that particular game or subset. The industry is young and has immense potential but must be navigated strategically. As marketing director Solenne Lagrange puts it, “if you get it right, it’s perfect. If you get it wrong the entire audience can turn its back on you and you’re pretty much done.”
Often there is a perception that experiential marketing is best suited to a physical product with which audiences can sample or interact with. Yet, in previous posts, we have shared several examples of successful service-based brand activations. Companies such as Netflix, HBO, and Hulu have created stand-out immersive activations based on their content. From Westworld at SXSW to pop-up shops, entertainment brands are often leading when it comes to face-to-face campaigns.
Another entertainment brand that is does experiential well is music subscription service Spotify. Over the past several years, the brand has grown and established a dedicated team to drive engagement with subscribers through events. Most recently, Spotify executed another Fans First initiative, a program that “aims to identify the most passionate fans of a given artist.” In this case, superfans of artist Janelle Monae were treated to a music-video inspired party in Los Angeles, CA to celebrate her recent album. By investing in fans in partnership with the artists themselves, Spotify is creating lasting relationships while encouraging word-of-mouth marketing.
Often when companies talk about targeting consumer groups, Generation Z is lumped in with millennials. And while the two groups do have similarities, it’s important for marketers to note the differences, especially as Gen Z grows older. When we talk about buying power, let’s keep in mind that this generation makes up a larger segment of the population than Baby Boomers or Millennials. And their world view is going to vary, in large part because they are the first generation to have had the internet mainstream and available at a very young age.
Because Gen Z has never known life without the ease of technology, they have high expectations. This Forbes article explores the best ways in which brands can approach marketing to this group. The key takeaway: while the Google-minded Gen Z’ers expect immediate, individually-targeted results, they still covet authentic connections, including those from brands.
Just as consumer preferences and technology continuallychanges, marketing cannot stay still. The best brands are adept in adapting and often predicting what will resonate with consumers. They stay at the forefront of what is working and what is not working, both in their space and beyond. In the past we’ve explored dozens of marketing trends and tactics in conjunction with experiential, including cause marketing, influencer marketing, and more. In most cases, we see these integrated campaigns are the most successful in producing a relevant, cohesive, and highly-amplified strategy.
A prime example of a successful integrated experiential marketing campaign is from San Miguel, a Spanish lager brand owned by Carlsberg UK. The company’s “Rich List” campaign works to challenge the meaning of wealth by showing consumers that “rich” means much more than simply having money. The brand is gearing up for their third annual iteration of the campaign due to its previous success.
Mothers make the world go ‘round, so it’s no surprise that this year 86% of Americans celebrated Mother’s Day with an average spend of about $180 per mother. And while most people might still allocate their mom money to jewelry or flowers, like most modern consumers, more mothers are preferring experiences over gifts to celebrate Mother’s Day.
A recent article by The Globe and Mail outlined some examples of how and why so many moms prefer a gift that they can do, rather than a material item they can have. In fact, the article reiterates that “people derive greater happiness when they purchase experiences rather than things.” Thomas Gilovich, psychology professor at Cornell University, explains it best. “Experiences connect you to other people. They contribute to who you are. They’re a part of you, unlike material things, which are separate from you.” Experiences stay with us and become more valuable with time, unlike their material counterparts. Check out the full article here.
Brand loyalty is not easy to come by. Consumers are inundated with marketing messages of all kinds, including from “brandless” brands. So how do companies navigate this difficult terrain? From cause marketing to nostalgia and beyond, the key for many is to build an emotional connection with consumers. Often experiential is put into this category, as a face-to-face interaction has shown to be effective in resonating on an emotional level.
The challenge is establishing the how behind a strategy that creates these intimate connections. While most brands are aware that creating a personal relationship with consumers will lead to increased sales, some brands are better at executing this type of campaign. This article suggests that there are three key points to follow to establish emotional loyalty: trust, anticipation and empathy. Through these key drivers, brands can build a marketing strategy that speaks to each element to accomplish loyalty goals.