With the rise in a Millennial-led “experiences-not-things” stance, brand experiences are on the rise. And, according to the data, this marketing strategy is well in the mainstream. Campaign reported that “the 2017 Freeman Global Brand Experience Study found that more than one in three CMOs expects to set aside 21 to 50 percent of their budgets for brand experiences, including “events, trade shows, sponsorships, exhibits, permanent installations, virtual or augmented reality experiences and/or pop-ups.” Event Track 2017 “cites that experiential marketing spending will increase by 11 percent in 2017.” It’s all about brand activation. This week’s Elevate White Board leads with an article showing the success online giants have seen in face-to-face marketing. We also learn how luxury brands are communicating their value to younger generations.
There is little doubt that experiential marketing activations can be effective for brands in almost any industry. Whether your company is B2C or B2B, chances are, your customers are human. Experiential is effective in building meaningful relationships with an audience, which is relevant regardless of what you are selling. Some industries, like CPG, may be more readily thought of related to sampling, demonstrations, and traditional experiential. Yet, many other industries have seen success in face-to-face marketing, especially those that exist exclusively online.
Case in point, look no further than technology giants Google and Netflix. Both have found significant opportunity within the realm of experiential marketing. In fact, as this article points out, the two brands consider it a necessary tool that gives them a physical form. From the much talked about “Altered Carbon” activation at CES, to Google’s campaign for Chromecast at major summer music festivals, both brands know what it takes to reach a modern consumer that craves tangible experiences.
Navigating the buying patterns of Millennials and Gen Z can be a challenge for any brand. But understanding how they think and buy is of the utmost importance. This is because “as the majority generation in the United States, millennials have the greatest influence on market trends and behaviors.” According to the article, their buying patterns dictate the past and future generations.
It is well-known that millennials rank experiences over things, which seems to conflict with many luxury brands’ value propositions. So how do luxury brands market to this younger, less brand-impressed generation?
According to COO and VP of marketing for Perrin Paris, Olga Pancenko, it comes down to networks, a focus on the individual, and experiences. She starts by explaining the need for luxury brands to pivot themselves away from the “exclusivity” that they have held in the past. She also reiterates the importance of creating experiences that drive customer engagement and loyalty.
In a previous post, we explored the benefits of, and tips for creating, effective cause marketing campaigns. The success of these campaigns is rooted in aligning consumers and brand’s with a common purpose. Modern consumers express an interest in brands that are authentic, and that do good within the community. As a result, more and more consumers are buying based on beliefs. A post by Edelman explores this idea, citing their own 2017 study, which states that “fifty-seven percent of consumers around the world will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue.”
Brands such as Toms and Warby Parker created their brands based on the one-for-one model, donating a product for each one purchased. This tactic has not only created a large presence for each brand, it has cultivated a strong relationship with their customers. As the blog post asserts, these purpose-driven models create a two-way dynamic, making consumers invest in the company. It said, “there is a real possibility of consumer commitment well beyond the classic purchase funnel, because active partnership with a brand gets customers invested as advocates and loyalists.
In a world of Stranger Things and Throwback Thursdays, nostalgia marketing can have a big impact on consumers. By evoking memories associated with positive life events, brands can create intimacy and improve the effectiveness of their brand message. One eye-catching example of nostalgia marketing was done by Werther’s Candy during their most recent Candy Land activation in Santa Monica, CA.
Werther’s Original is known for their hard caramels; yet, they have a full portfolio of other products. To help spread awareness of their variety of offerings, they recreated a life-sized version of the classic Candy Land game. Besides providing an interactive, multi-sensory activation, the brand created an imaginative experience that appealed to many generations. The one-day activation generated a lot of buzz due to an associated social media amplification campaign.
With summer upon us, the world of experiential marketing activations is ramping up. Agencies and brands alike are formulating plans on when and where to reach target consumers. Summertime is when most people are out and about, taking time off work, and enjoying the weather. It is the perfect time for brands to create a memorable experience.
On the surface, activating on a beach may not seem significantly different than other types of outdoor activation. But, as Event Marketer points out, a beach setting comes with its own set of challenges. First, they suggest planning early. Most beaches are state owned and regulated, so there can be several hoops to jump through to get to get permission. And once you’re past the permission stage, there are other factors such as time and location that are very beach-specific. There is no one size fits all – a beach in California could have a very different reception compared to a beach in New Jersey. The article also provides tips and tricks to ensuring that your event goes just beachy.
From high attendance numbers to celebrities and social media influencers, Coachella has proved to be a stronghold in the marketing world. Whether you are one of the 16 official festival sponsors or executing satellite events, it is one of the top events of the year for brands. Yet, the options related to executing at Coachella are becoming more diverse and targeted. As a result, more brands are choosing to partner with influencers to increase the impact of their event or activation.
Among the many brand experiences this year, there were many standouts. One was executed by clothing brand Revolve. Not only did they tap into some of the top celebrity influencers in fashion, they created an exclusive invite-only “REVOLVE festival.” The brand incorporated a wide variety of experiential elements, the conglomeration of which was metwith success and hype.
Television shows come and go. Some become a staple of popular culture, while others end before they ever really get started. In recent years, platforms like Netflix and Hulu have changed the ways people consume media, providing variety and flexibility like never before. The industry has become saturated, leading many networks to invest more in experiential. Like other brands, experiential provides a way for networks to get noticed and build excitement for the shows they produce.
MTV recently executed a successful experiential campaign that exemplifies how television can use the medium to rise above the saturation. In the late 2000s, MTV launched reality show “The Jersey Shore,” which followed a group of friends living in an east coast beach town. The show lasted 6 seasons and was a treasure trove of extreme behavior, goofy nicknames, and inside-joke catchphrases. On the day the show’s reboot premiered, MTV launched a campaign to give fans an opportunity to experience their beloved show firsthand. Complete with a meatball food truck, Snooki and Deena, the self-proclaimed “Meatballs”, rode in the truck and interacted with fans. Check out the full experience here.
Despite the short duration of many activations, an immense amount of work and resources go into planning and producing an experiential event. But the tangible rewards make the discipline a thrill, and something that we at Elevate are honored to be a part of. Creating and executing an experience allows us to see and hear the positive impact that we’ve made. But on the flipside, there is risk. In events, it has never been truer that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Understanding best practices, establishing contingencies, and surrounding yourself with experts in their field is critical to avoid pitfalls.
Most of us who have been in the industry for a significant amount of time have developed our own “what works and what doesn’t” set of rules. In a recent blog post, SoHo Experiential’s co-founder, Rick Kiley, provides readers with the best practices that he has developed over the years. Read more to discover his general rules to follow for every event activation.