We’ve all grown up with the idea that gaining experience would help our CV and develop our personality. Experience can always be a bonus. It’s no surprise then that so-called “experiential marketing” is gaining popularity.
Brand owners are realising that, in addition to printed and online advertising, traditional PR, above and below-the-line strategies, it’s important to engage consumers with a memorable experience. Good or bad, experience sticks in our mind; for a brand, it’s worth a try.
What exactly is “experiential marketing” though, and how does it fit into an integrated promotional campaign? Let’s have a look at some remarkable case studies.
Last year the famous wine label Campo Viejo, a Pernod Ricard brand, restyled its packaging with bottles featuring gold embossing, the winemaker’s signature, individual batch numbers, new Pantone colours and a premium label paper. The back label also used a QR code to direct consumers to a mobile site for additional product information. A perfectly coordinated branding campaign, but now it’s moved a step further.
In May, Campo Viejo launched a “Streets of Spain” extravaganza at London’s Southbank Centre (https://www.facebook.com/CampoViejo/app_560105637356714). The initiative was a four-day celebration of Spanish food, wine and culture, including a partnership with the Barcelona market, La Boqueria, and offering free wine master classes, an informal tapas bar and a pop-up restaurant. To give people the opportunity to immerse themselves in Spanish culture, Campo Viejo also worked with Hispanic urban artists to show colourful 3D installations, while a Spanish Film Festival ran for the entire duration of the event. An outstanding example of experiential marketing.
Like every communication activity, this new sphere of marketing branch works best when integrated with other marketing disciplines. As Patrick Venning, Pernod Ricard’s UK marketing director, stated: “If you looked at the costs of experiential alone they probably don’t pay out. What pays out is when you amplify the initiative beforehand and what you leave behind”. That means, creating the buzz and driving content which creates amplification prior and after the event to maximise the brand experience.
Moving away from alcohol (sorry, you know AD has a soft spot for wine and chocolate but we have to consider other goods!), it’s worth mentioning the experiential initiative put in place by Adidas in the retail market.
“The Footscan” campaign allowed potential customers to have their foot scanned within the Adidas shops as they ran across a treadmill style scanner. In-store experts across multiple sports retailers advised buyers for the right type of footwear and scanned hundreds of strides over the course of the event. This effective sales technique was also supported by leafleting in adjacent high footfall locations driving customers into the store. The engagement continued with comprehensive activity feedback and photos being sent back to the customer.
Personalised service and a unique event are probably the successful ingredients of this retail project. Everybody likes to be looked after, even if only in their shopping experience.
You might think that only big brands have the financial resources to produce an experiential campaign but the key ingredients – personality, interaction and face-to-face engagement between the brand and its audience, all effectively supported by relevant content – can be replicated on any scale. Nothing is impossible, and you don’t always have to think (too) big.