Having a well-rounded marketing strategy is critical in resonating with an audience. In most cases, marketers seek to craft a message or start a conversation, one that demonstrates brand value and purpose. And while each marketing tactic and avenue has its strengths, one that is particularly attractive is word-of-mouth (WOM). WOM is the ultimate marketing achievement, as it results in peer-to-peer recommendations of a product. And built in to this ecosystem is the concept of “social proof.” Social proof (aka social influence) is the concept that people will make certain decisions based on others’ influence to be accepted. When a brand benefits from this phenomenon, it results in more fans and increased revenue.
For marketers, it is clear that understanding the mechanisms behind social proof is important. Knowing what and how people are influenced by certain people or things can help a brand drive trends and impact behavior. And while there is some volatility to this (humans can be unpredictable), understanding how social proof effects marketing is a tremendous asset. Check out this Entrepreneur article to learn more.
Augmented reality has become popular, not only in marketing but in everyday life (thanks, Snapchat). But just because something is popular and used by the masses doesn’t mean that it’s a one-size-fits-all engagement tool for brand activation. In fact, we’ve previously discussed how using the right technology in the right way has an increasingly positive effect on event ROI.
So how do brand managers incorporate AR into their brand activation in a way that makes the most sense? This Event Marketer article suggests starting simply, by first understanding the nature of the technology. The post continues with several additional suggestions on how to incorporate AR into events in a way that is beneficial to the brand.
Brick and Mortar is Still Alive, But Its Changed
The global adoption of the internet ushered in a new world, and at the top of the list of innovations was the advent of ecommerce. The ability for companies small and large to buy and sell in a global economy changed the scope of traditional retail. Ecommerce gave many entrepreneurs an avenue to enter the market, giving consumers more places to buy their favorite items or discover new products. But the rise in ecommerce caused many people to believe that the days of brick and mortar was gone. Because consumers would prefer the convenience of shopping at home, store fronts would be a thing of the past.
While many stores did feel the effects of the ecommerce boom, others saw the impending “danger” and pivoted to improve their brand experiences. In fact, according to this Adweek article, in-person shopping is and will continue to be important. The post goes on to point out that the buyer’s journey related to in-store shopping is still alive and thriving, but very different from years past. Now it is the experience that retail stores provide which is crucial for longevity.
Since its launch in 1998 as the first online DVD rental store, Netflix has continued to push boundaries. Not only has the streaming giant expanded globally, they have become a leading content producer, with a $13 billion budget in 2018. And they’re not just rivaling HBO, Disney, and other studios in terms of volume. In 2017, “Netflix received 91 Emmy nominations in 2017 and eight Oscar nods.” In constantly pioneering and evolving, to say that Netflix has taken risks would be an understatement. And they have applied this forward-thinking approach to their marketing campaigns as well.
For Netflix, experiential has played a significant role in its marketing strategy because by creating experiences, the service-based brand builds real life relationships with its users. Previous brand activations have ranged from elaborate, like a traveling bus tour, to subtle activations, like lockers located in the middle of busy Santa Monica, CA. Their most recent, and perhaps most shocking, was this promotion for their dystopian series, Altered Carbon.
Think about your favorite brands. How did you come to love them? In what way were you first introduced? Chances are that some of these brands were recommended by someone you knew. And when it comes to recommendations, are you too eager to spread the “good news?” When it comes to products or services that we feel passionate about, it is very likely we will be quick to provide a recommendation. Both the power and the eagerness of people to engage in word-of-mouth marketing is undeniable.
As a recent Entrepreneur article puts it, “Many people assume that social media is the best way to get the word out about a business. But…Americans value word-of-mouth 41 percent more than social media when it comes to recommendations.” The article goes on to provide a helpful infographic on the power of this unique and intimate marketing channel. Check out the graphic here.
How to Execute an Impactful Experiential Campaign at the Most Popular Music Festivals
Summer is (sadly) over, and school is back in session. This also means that festival season is officially over, but that does not mean festival-driven experiential teams are out of work. In fact, many marketers who activate at music festivals are now going into planning mode. This year-round job means countless hours of strategy, all culminating in a metaphorical activation sprint during the summer months. For brands to be successful and effective while at these yearly music festivals, it takes more than a quick-turn approach.
There are several components that go into to a music festival activation, let alone multiple festivals in one summer. There are unpredictable variables, such as weather and attendance, as well as best practices related to resonating with attendees. Forbes recently published an interview with Allison Rand, Senior Manager of Global experiential marketing at American Express, a brand that is often noticed for their innovative brand activations. The interview provides valuable insight into the work that goes into festival activations.
Big Brand Names Join Forces and Give Back at the Human Rights Gala
Cause marketing has gotten a lot of buzz lately due to its ability to resonate with consumers. As a result, it has become a popular form of marketing for many brands. We have seen cause-driven activations of all sizes, such as the award winning State Farm campaign and Citi’s annual Taste of the Nation sponsorship. It is through these sponsorships that nonprofit groups are able to highlight the good work that they are doing, and brands can give back to the community.
These sponsorships are especially important for these charitable organizations because a majority don’t have the budget to create a large-scale brand experience. Most recently, Macy’s, Wells Fargo, Marriott and Google teamed up to put on the 22nd annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner. More than 3,500 guests attended the gala and got an experience unlike any other, all for a good cause. Check out the details here.
HBO’s “Insecure” Fan Experience Hits the Mark
Like Netflix, HBO has been quick to embrace experiential to market their content. In fact, we’ve featured (and had the pleasure of working on) the network’s Westworld activations, which put fans “inside” the show. The success that HBO has found through brand activation has been in large part due to the fact that they physically immerse fans into the story and bring the shows to life.
To launch the next wildly popular (1.5 million views to be exact) season of Insecure, HBO produced a music festival. The festival, which took a multi-cultural approach, used elements of the show to bring it to life. The lineup, which consisted of artists featured on the upcoming season’s soundtrack, performed unreleased tracks for attendees, which included influencers, cast members, and other guests. This peek into the world of Insecure is in step with the same strategy HBO has had with other activations: to give fans a real-life version of the show they have come to love.