Marketplaces are extremely competitive and brands aiming to maintain a strong position need to ensure their potential customers know who they are, what they do, and where they can find them. There are a variety of ways to do this successfully and implementing a strong digital advertising strategy is certainly a key component of building brand awareness. But all advertising is transient and as competition increases, businesses must take tangible steps to ensure they are building a loyal community around their brand.
Standing out from the crowd
For businesses, the ability to communicate that their unique value proposition is more enticing and valuable than that of their competitor brands has never been more important. But the mindset of consumers is constantly evolving and most are aware that, regardless as to what they are looking for, they have the opportunity to select from more than one high-quality brand.
To meet the ever-increasing expectations of audiences, brands must now offer far more than a great product or service. But what more can brands do? Well, they can explore the value of offering unique experiences that facilitate deeper brand understanding and support the establishment of meaningful, lasting connections. This is precisely where experiential marketing comes into play.
The potential of experiential marketing
Modern consumers are looking to immerse themselves in new experiences that are enjoyable, memorable and Instagrammable. Brands that successfully offer these experiences to their ideal audience will often benefit from the meaningful connections that are forged with prospective customers in significant and lasting ways.
It is important to note here that experiential marketing differs markedly from publicity stunts. A publicity stunt is a technique used by some brands to garner large amounts of attention from anyone and everyone. This initial wow factor can increase sales for a short time but audiences will inevitably move on and attention will shift elsewhere.
With an effective experiential marketing strategy, however, brands can successfully set the foundations for long-term engagement by creating moments that will become lasting memories in the minds of attendees. The best experiential events make participants want to share their experiences with their social circles because it made them feel something and, whenever the opportunity arises, they will want to experience those things again.
This kind of positive brand association will also have an equally positive impact on a brand’s sales. The key is to provide audiences with opportunities to engage with experiences that feel authentic to the brand and reflect the image, values and ethos it represents. From workshops to installations, pop-up shops and product testing there are a variety of avenues brands can take, which is why it is so important for brands to devise a strategy that will help them to meet their core business objectives and drive the best return on investment (ROI) from their experiential spend.
Best practices for experiential marketing
Consider Consumption Experience
As consumer purchasing behaviours don’t exist in a vacuum, there are a range of needs that inform these decisions in a variety of different contexts. When designing an experience, it is important to respond directly to a specific situation.
For example, if you operate in the convenience food sector, it might be valuable to focus on creating an experiential event that promotes quick meals for busy families. Rather than simply focusing solely on the food, highlight through experiential marketing the process of creating the meal. Emphasising the important family bonding time that can take place during this everyday activity.
Effective Audience Research
In addition to identifying the demographics of your ideal audience, it is important to research their physical, emotional and social needs. Without this information, it will be more difficult to effectively create a meaningful brand experience. Quantitative research methods are often the most effective here including those which measure precise eye movements to determine the emotional effects of particular imagery.
In addition to creating an experience that is relevant to the needs, wants and desires of your ideal audience, memorability is key to ensure your brand consistently remains at the forefront of your audience’s mind. The experience you deliver doesn’t need to be elaborate, but it does need to serve the needs of your audience and allow them to connect with your brand in meaningful ways.
Use The Digital Experience
Thanks to the Internet, experiential events can reach myriad people even if they aren’t physically close enough to attend an event in person. Creating a dedicated hashtag will make it easy for your audience to share their experience online. You could also consider establishing picture-perfect moments during your event with an aesthetically pleasing backdrop, and encourage people to tag your social accounts in their posts.
When consumers are engaged following an experiential event, it is important to follow up in order to establish the foundations for a long-term brand and consumer relationship.
Not only will the consumer data collected here be valuable when evaluating the overall success of a campaign, but the relationships that develop can create powerful brand ambassadors whereby consumers promote the benefits of your brand to their own social networks. There are a variety of different types of follow-up initiatives, including Facebook groups, customer loyalty programs, and direct emails