Consumers of today are a lot more savvy than consumers in the Golden Age of advertising during the 1960s. Back then a Don Draper-esque character could use a simple print ad in Life magazine and convince a consumer that smoking cigarettes was actually healthy and doctor recommended.
Nowadays, consumers demand better advertising. Yes- DEMAND. Gone are the days where brands held the upper-hand over consumers. Instead of passively being advertised to, they want to be actively involved with brands.
Sometimes referred to as engagement or participating marketing, experiential marketing used to be considered a second-tier marketing strategy. Today, experiential marketing has positioned itself as a premiere strategy for marketers.
Despite the fact that experiential’s immediate effect and short-term ROI is not as clear as other marketing strategies, it’s long-term effects when used as a core strategy produces more of a response. Experiential marketing’s potential with the changing marketing landscape is why brand marketers should use it as a core strategy instead of an add-on. Below are some examples of how brands used experiential marketing to create memorable and meaningful experiences for their customers.
Clarify your message
For an experiential marketing campaign to work effectively, a brand’s story and identity needs to be positioned in a way that is immediately clear to a consumer. Experiential is all about having a consumer experience that ‘aha’ moment.
One brand that knocked it out of the park was Lean Cuisine’s 2015 #WeightThis campaign. After declining sales, Lean Cuisine installed a gallery of scales in New York’s Grand Central Station. But the scales didn’t conventionally weigh people in pounds, instead, Lean Cusisine redesigned the scale, removing the traditional weight metrics that we all dread seeing, and replacing it with a small chalkboard. Participants could write on the scales and express how they wanted to be measured in life; by things like the amount of times they’ve been brave, how many people they helped, and how many people they love.
Without ever actually interacting with a Lean Cuisines Chicken Parmesan meal, Lean Cuisine redesigned the idea behind weight loss, creating a story and message that was relatable and interactive for their consumers.
Know your consumers inside and out
Once you’ve hunkered down on a message, you need to completely understand the wants and needs of your consumers.
Even though it happened 10 years ago, the experiential marketing collaboration between the convenience store 7-Eleven and the release of 20th Century Fox’s The Simpsons movie in 2007 was a game changer in the realm of experiential marketing The fictional Springfield’s Kwik-E-Mart was brought to life by transforming several 7-Eleven locations into The Simpsons lookalike. With actual products like pink doughnuts, Buzz cola and Krusty-Os, this campaign inhabited the personality of both 7-Eleven and Simpsons consumers.
By tapping into their target consumers’ mindset, both 20th Century Fox and 7-Eleven were able to create a lasting experience for their consumers.
Get ready to adopt new technology
With technology becoming more sophisticated and accessible by the day, experiential marketing campaigns can combine a brand’s message and consumer needs into memorable campaigns.
The technology that’s going to shake up experiential marketing campaigns is augmented reality (AR). AR allows smartphones to bridge the gap between a brand and a consumer with an immersive experience.
While some brands choose more large scale experiences like Disney’s Times Square VR experience or Lynx Deodorant’s Victoria Station campaign, marketers can use Snapchat to create immersive experiences for their consumers.
Cue Snapchat. With branded lenses, a marketer can create a simple yet lasting experience for their consumers. One of the first brands to ever use Snapchat for their brand was Taco Bell. On Cinco de Mayo of 2016, Snapchat users could send snaps of their heads transformed into Taco Bell tacos. While seeing a head in the shape of a cartoonish taco was it quite disturbing, the strangeness of the image is what made the campaign memorable and lasting.
Experiential marketing is no longer a supplement to traditional marketing strategies. It’s proved it’s worth as a standalone strategy for contemporary brands. And in order to keep pace with their consumers, brands should follow the previous examples and implement similar experiential campaigns.