During one of our latest Brand Communications classess we touched upon a topic that got me really excited and sparked up my desire to dig deeper – experiential communications, which could also be called experiential marketing. In this blog post, I’d like to dig a little bit deeper and find out what makes this particular communications practice so popular these days.
According to Creative Guerilla Marketing, experiential communications “is a form of advertising that focuses primarily on helping consumers experience a brand.” (Creative Guerilla Marketing, 2013). This particular practice has a reputation of being fun, light and generally positive for PR efforts. It’s often seen as an add-on to other, more ‘serious’ tactics. But should it be treated more seriously? (McCormick, 2010)
The answer: YES.
I think that brand experiences are sometimes underestimated. We tend to prefer to look to hard numbers and ‘hard’ tactics that have worked previously in order to ensure some kind of success when it comes to communication campaigns. I believe that consumers experiencing what a brand is about is one of the most potent examples of how important it is to reach out there to our audience and get them engaged, fascinated and get them to actually ‘feel’ the brand.
Nowadays, brands need to go that extra mile to get people talking, or even to get people to notice the brand. Advertising does not work anymore (at least not as well as it used to). One in five British adults uses ad-blocking on their laptops and/or mobile devices. And these numbers are growing. What’s more, the information overload and overall disapproval of brands and products trying to show ‘how great they are’ through marketing practices and simple information publishing for people to look at does not seem to be working anymore either. What modern consumers want is information personalisation, genuine messages, purpose behind brands and… yes, they wish to experience what the brand really feels about in order to find out whether they can feel a personal and emotional connection to it.
Experiential really does give a unique chance of brands “making a deeper connection with consumers” (Bannan, 2014). What’s more, “experiential campaigns are fueling word of mouth, providing fodder for social media feeds and becoming the foundation of PR and content marketing programs.” (Bannan, 2014). Seems great so far!
There are plenty of examples showing that experiential communications/marketing gets people closer to the brand and makes them excited about it.
Bulmers has done it recently with it’s “all black and white” bar.
Asahi has done it too, when they created their “Asahi booth” aimied at giving the audience the ultimate drink experience. The brave ones who entered would see how it feels to be inside the iconic beer, including…being fired at with 100s of tennis balls.
There are more! Carlsberg, with their chocolate bar, Innocent smoothies with their unplugged experience or House of Vans by Vans are just one of many, many examples.
There are plenty more examples showing why experiential not only matters, but also why it is fun and actually makes a brand more relatable and memorable.
Overall, I hope to see this communications practice evolve and I hope to see a lot more great examples in the future. After all, experiential is all about fun! And who doesn’t like to have fun?…
Featured picture: HERE
Bannan, K. J. (2014).Experience Counts: Experiential programs fuel consumer desire to connect with a brand’s personality. Available from: http://www.adweek.com/sa-article/experience-counts-experiential-programs-fuel-consumer-desire-connect-brand-s-personality-159546
Creative Guerilla Marketing (2013). Experiential 101: What is Experiential Marketing? Available from: http://www.creativeguerrillamarketing.com/guerrilla-marketing/experiential-101-experiential-marketing/
McCormick, A. (2010). Experiential Essays. Available from: http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1036004/experiential-essays