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Bringing a brand to life

February 16, 2012

For marketers seeking to enliven a brand, experiential marketing can play an important role in the equation.

Based on the idea that face-to-face interactions are at the heart of brand loyalty, experiential marketing enables consumers to experience a brand for themselves. This one-of-a-kind interaction generates an authentic connection that improves the brand’s reputation and awareness, long after that initial customer touch point.

Think about it – why do we pay five dollars for a Starbucks latte instead of making it at home for pennies? It’s because of the experience that Starbucks provides – free Wi-Fi, soothing music, an intelligent atmosphere and fresh aromas. Football fans tailgate outside of a stadium for a game they don’t even have tickets to because they love being in the atmosphere and the excitement of the game.

Five key reasons to use experiential marketing include:

  • Make immediate sales
  • Launch a new product
  • Stand out in a competitive field
  • Get people talking
  • Immerse people in your brand

The rise of social media has enabled experiential marketing to expand beyond the physical experience. Through the use of location-based networks (such as Foursquare) and photo-sharing tools (such as Instagram), brands can encourage consumers to promote events online by checking in, taking pictures and posting content online. Marketers can broadcast updates from the event to engage audiences that could not attend, as well as encourage the present audience to engage online after the event and keep the conversation alive.

Below are four great examples of experiential marketing campaigns:

Nike:

Nike built brand loyalty through NikeFit college workouts, including this workout on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Nike trainers visited different campuses and invited groups of women to attend a college-wide workout, where they provided free collateral, but more importantly, a personal experience. On-site personnel discussed healthy physical fitness options directly to women and provided immediate feedback.

Charmin Ultra:

Charmin restrooms in Times Square.

Who likes a Porta-Potty? No one. Charmin captivated on this largely expressed disdain and created “Potty Palooza” – the name of its 18-wheel semi-trailer truck. Since 2000, the truck has traveled to at least 30 events each year ranging from Super Bowl XXXVII to music festivals. The truck has 27 private and beautiful bathrooms – all stocked with Charmin toilet paper, of course. Needless to say, festival goers prefer the homelike restroom than those peculiar Porta-Potties.

American Express Canada:

The sky is the limit. In 2008, that phrase inspired American Express Canada’s Dinner in the Sky campaign – the first of its kind to offer a taste of “access” to its prospects. American Express invited key card members the opportunity to reserve a spot at a dinner table hanging 150 feet above downtown Toronto. The invitations were sent via an email blast; not surprisingly, all seats were filled within seven hours. Results included a 7,000 percent increase in website visits and over 33,533,480 traditional media impressions.

Ocean Spray:

Amidst the competitive beverage market of 2005 that included the vitamin water and energy drink takeover, Ocean Spray launched their “Bogs Across America” tour. The tour placed large cranberry bogs in the middle of urban areas and included a “Bog Squad” of brand ambassadors distributing samples of Ocean Spray products and literature. The growers standing inside the bogs educated onlookers   on harvesting methods and health benefits. Results included a 12 percent site traffic increase and a profit margin with double digit increases.

 Have you been an attendee at an experiential marketing event? If so, what did you think of it? If you are a marketer, how have you used this marketing strategy?

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