By Erika Kelland & Erin Molloy, Twine PR
Experiential marketing and communications has a broad definition. It’s a way in which your consumers and/or the public engage with your product or brand to truly “experience” it. You may have seen pop-up simulators in public venues and beach-side showers dressed as Sprite fountain drinks. While these elaborate tactics can draw virality to your brand, a hefty financial investment isn’t always necessary to offer your customer an experience.
Traditional advertising, such as print, television, or radio, is intended to communicate to consumers through visual and verbal means. It is one-way communication and while the right medium and message pairing can have a powerful impact on the audience, that message is impaired by its inability to connect with consumers on a physical or environmental level—they can’t “feel” your brand. There is something that stands as a barrier—a screen, a sheet of paper. There will always be a level of understanding that the experience isn’t real, which can undermine the message and the engagement with the brand.
Back in elementary school, we learned some of our first lessons in marketing: the five senses. Traditionally, these are referred to as methods of perception and categorized as taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound. Through traditional advertising, you are engaging two of these five senses, leaving 60% of the senses unemployed. Hello, experiential marketing and communications! In today’s market, we can provide more to our consumers—how does your brand smell? At an event, how does your brand taste? Every element, no matter how subtle, will speak to your brand and the holistic experience of the audience.
The goal of experiential marketing and communications is to form a memorable emotional connection between the consumer and the brand so that it may generate customer loyalty and influence purchase decisions.
Like a person, a brand personality is made up of a million minute characteristics. Individually, they’re not necessarily awe-inspiring, but in conjunction with one another, they tell a full-circle story. That is how we recommend you look at your brand. Every detail, no matter the size, has an impact on your brand and the image you project. Experiential marketing is a sector in and of itself. There are experiential marketing agencies that specialize in planning and producing large-scale events and marketing activations, including trade shows booths, venue scouting, event production, guerilla marketing and more. If making a big splash is not in your budget, don’t worry: it’s not necessary.
There are many easy, practical ways to integrate a more experiential approach into your marketing or communications strategy. In order to figure out what environmental or physical tactics you might try, here are some things to think about:
What do you want your consumer to remember once they have interacted with your brand?
What are some iconic elements that represent your brand?
If your brand could be placed somewhere physical, where would that be?
Write out words that represent what you want people to feel and experience when they engage with your brand:
At your event
Every element of your event—no detail is too small venue (neighbourhood, brand reputation, rental cost) decor
At your office
how your office looks (internally and externally) the location
how you dress
your speech (diction, delivery)
If you choose to advertise, where?
How will you interact with the public?
If you choose to sponsor/engage in community initiatives, which ones?
Which stakeholders will you partner with?
We have gathered a few of our favourite examples of experiential marketing and communications over on our blog, including some of the ways we try to infuse this approach into everything we do as Twine PR!
Visit twinepr.com to read more.
Erika Kelland & Erin Molloy,
Erika Kelland and Erin Molloy are the partners and owners of Twine PR, a public relations firm on the east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Twine brings together two or more pieces to form a stronger bond, which is the drive behind every client relationship and project. “We get to know you by starting all projects with helping you identify and define your direction and by analyzing and assessing your current and previous goals, needs, and results. Whether it is through public relations strategy and counsel, strategic planning, or experiential marketing and communications, Twine PR pushes beyond the smoke and mirrors to focus on what matters—you. Our approach is mindful of all business goals, and the integrity of your company is not only honoured, but strengthened.”