Think about your favorite brand.
Is it a clothing brand?
Is is a beverage brand?
A lifestyle brand?
A technology brand?
Now think wayyyy back to a time before you were loyal to said brand.
When was the first time you wore those Nikes?
How did that first New Belgium taste?
In what way did the Oprah Show inspire you?
What prompted you to purchase your first mac?
Now, I am not going to tell you that every loyalty you have can be traced back to an immersive brand experience–but I will tell you that the strong feeling of connection is exactly what Experiential Marketing aims to create.
So what the heck is this “Experiential Marketing?”
There are various definitions of Experiential Marketing floating around the web, but at Silver Spur we define it as just what it sounds like–marketing that becomes an experience. The bond a person has with a brand is strengthened when they are immersed in a fun and memorable experience. Think of it like our interpersonal relationships–just as shared experiences deepen our friendships, experiences with brands strengthen our loyalty.
Why should I care?
Think about your day for a moment–your alarm clock goes off, you lay in bed and peruse Facebook, scrolling through companies’ posts and advertisements in order to view your friend’s content. Then, on your way to work you pass by billboards and hear radio ads. When you log back online at work, there are countless ads and pop-ups on every site, and back at home your TV (or Netflix) continues to feed you marketing messages. The noise of companies clamoring for your attention has become deafening, but we have trained ourselves to tune it out. Can you name one advertisement that popped up on your screen today–or is it all just a blur?
Some very successful brands have found that in order to rise above the noise, they have to create a personalized moment, something that is exciting, thoughtful or even just out of the ordinary.
How does it work?
Experiential Marketing doesn’t always have to be over-the-top; it can be something as simple as a tasting room or a tour. For example, the New Belgium Brewery tour could be considered experiential marketing. People on the tour are immersed in the experience–they are physically walking through the brewery, smelling and seeing the beer-making process and finally tasting the finished product (and then taking a tipsy trip down the twisty slide). The tour is memorable, and strengthens the bond the customer feels for New Belgium.
There are also extreme examples of Experiential Marketing. This Virgin Atlantic marketing campaign
in Manhattan made people literally feel like they were on a plane receiving stellar customer service. Keep in mind that watching the video later does not count as experiential marketing–only those in the video who ACTUALLY experienced it were the benefactors of the experiential campaign. That’s not to discount the power of video and the large audience it can reach–we just don’t form the same bond with Virgin from behind our screens as we would sitting on the bench.
How do I start?
No idea is too crazy in Experiential Marketing, (check out this Tim Hortons campaign if you’re not convinced)
but it also doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. A good place to start would be seeing what has already been done and start collecting ideas. Then, look keep an eye out for our next blog post, which will be about things to consider when thinking about Experiential Marketing.
Ride for the Brand,