“Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand” Confucius
- It’s not just about giving consumers an opportunity to experience using a brand’s product; it’s an opportunity for your audience to become part of (and even influence) your brand’s narrative.
Brands are realizing that their success often hinges on how effectively they engage their target audience compared to their competition. If they can establish strong relationships with consumers before competitors, other brands face an uphill battle if they hope to do the same.
Storytelling has always been an effective means to link abstract ideas or concepts to emotional responses. Memorable stories stick with us and the best ones are eagerly retold and shared with others. The challenge is determining what story or series of stories that will speak to millions of unique individuals effectively. There is, however, one narrative that everybody loves to hear….their own story! Experiential marketing companies bring events alive for brands – with a special spin on advertising.
In this context, it is far easier to understand why marketers have so eagerly embraced social media. Not only does social media feed into people’s hunger for attention and approval, it stops trying to engage them and instead invites them to engage others. When a person shares a brand experience on social media, it reaches their entire network in a way that is more impactful than promoting sponsored content. Organic posts by consumers that feature a brand will become increasingly valuable as we become more digitally savvy and demand increasingly more authentic content.
Experiential activations paired with strategic social media interactions can empower consumers to become storytellers themselves; effectively leverage the personal networks of each attendee. This is especially beneficial when one considers that word-of-mouth referrals are the most trusted form of marketing; we naturally place more trust in the recommendations of people we know.
- You don’t need a huge budget to produce experiences that consumers will engage with.
ROI for experiential exceeds almost all other forms of advertising, but without proper planning, measuring it can be challenging. 75% of companies with event budgets between $50-100 million say they expect an ROI of more than 5:1 for a live event and experiential programs. Even brands with smaller budgets are expecting 3 to 1 returns! (EMI & Mosaic)
While it is true that you get what you pay for, a massive investment is not always required to achieve outsized results. Similar to how the most clever videos go viral, the most impactful and memorable experiences tend to spread like wildfire.
Event marketing companies
Successful experiential event marketing companies now understand that consumers do all the heavy lifting when it comes to maximizing their client’s reach. By crafting an experience that is both delightful & highly sharable, they deliver to their clients an authentic piece of user-generated content in addition to the experiential touchpoint that inspired it.
Brands are therefore beginning to see how their experiential activations can serve as a platform to generate new content. Whether content is created by consumers, the brand, or both collaboratively, it provides a mutual benefit and leaves everyone with a digital memory that endures long after the activation wraps up.
- Most consumers don’t care about your brand’s marketing activations unless they provide something of value that is relevant in the context of their day-to-day lives.
This last point is more a grain of salt to be taken with the first two….it easy to lose sight of the bigger picture by getting caught up thinking of unique interactions and innovative ways to engage with your audience.
Before deciding to tie in a digital experience through your brand’s mobile app, ask yourself if the benefit it provides is worth putting up the additional barrier to entry. Would you install the app and input your personal details if you were in their shoes? The answer probably depends on many things including the perceived payoff or reward, the social capital gained/lost through participation and the time commitment involved.
A rewarding form of marketing
Experiential marketing is a very rewarding endeavor to brands willing to invest in it. Amazing results can be achieved if the proper thought is put into the activation. This is why having a great experiential team that understands the nuances of in-person engagement is so important. Putting together an activation is far less challenging than coming up with the concept and strategy behind it. For brands, the biggest challenge now becomes finding the right experiential event marketing companies that truly understand this approach.