Experiential marketing is mainly a form of advertising that helps the customer experience the brand. If traditional marketing uses printed adverts, online campaigns, editorials, television etc. to communicate their brand identity, experiential marketing aims to play with people’s senses and emotion, making them included in the brand.
It is known that the human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. Crazy, right? This customer inclusion has a higher chance of immediately attracting, and most importantly, maintaining the customer base, because it creates an emotional connection and a two-way dialogue. This type of brand-customer interaction can take many forms, from packaging to digital, the online presence and in-store elements. After all, everyone connects with an experience in some way.
If in the past the centre of every business was their product, today the customer and their needs should be the focus.
So what are the forms this engaging type of marketing can take? Here are some examples:
We’re seeing more and more people choosing to shop online, regardless of their preferred shop. Today, we need to give people a reason to come and spend time in-store. So how can experiential marketing be brought in-store? Some brands decide to enhace their in-store experience by housing an additional service – in-store cafes, the famous Topshop nail bar and hair salon, customization services, in-store events (Burberry acoustic concerts). Some may go so far that they expand into other industries, such as hospitality, opening spas, hotels, or pop- up cafés. (See Bulgari Spa, Fendi Hotel, Dior Pop-up)
While digital marketing does have an important role to play in raising brand awareness, experiential marketing is the way to attract paying clients. (X-Wealth, 2014) That is why digital should be brought not only through devices, but also in real-life scenarios, such as on the runway – Burberry has taken their shows on a whole new level by building a multi- sensorial experience – on-stage orchestra, the fake storm and the model holograms.
The growth of social media and digital in general is facilitating brand communication. McDonalds Sweden turned their Happy Meal Boxes into VR goggles, targeting the perfect audience – technology native Generation Z.
Experiential marketing can solely take the form of Snapchat videos, Instagram stories or live streaming, taking the customer behind-the- scenes, to a world they don’t usually have access to. Brands should take advantage of these tools that brings their customers closer, feeding their curiosity.
One of the latest forms of an experiential strategy was approached by Lancome, with their customised foundation. They not only developed a system that promises to match anyone with their perfect foundation shade, but you leave with a personalized bottle with your name on it, and your own formula which you can get again and again.
Charlotte Tillbury took customisation further with a virtual “magic” mirror which allows customers to test her nine signature looks without putting any actual makeup on.
TAKEAWAYS FOR MARKETERS
- Find a way of interaction with your brand that creativelly spells out how people can benefit from your brand.
- Build emotional connection – take your target audience’s needs and desires and build an experience around them.
- Give your brand a human voice – people like to feel they’re interacting with other people, even if they are behind a brand.
- Great co-branding opportunity.
- Use EM as an effective tool for reaching people in every socio-economic class.
- Make sure your brand experience is consistent on all channels (online, in-store, social media, mail campaign etc.)
- Don’t neglect online and offline brand allignment – ensuring the customer journey is a seamless experience from the first interaction with the brand, to the purchase.
- Customers are more savvy than ever and less loyal – it doesn’t take long before they move on to your competition if the shopping process is not perfect.