Experiential Marketing Approach

Guerrilla Marketing & Promotional Staffing Blog

Experiential Marketing, is a methodology, an integrated approach which places the live brand experience at the core of the comms plan, with PR, Digital, Broadcast and Advertising being utilised to amplify the real-life interactive and engaging piece at the heart of the campaign.

Live brand experiences, inspired by the core brand personality attributes, authentic to the brand and the culture of its organisation are word of mouth drivers that can touch the hearts and minds of all target audiences, when applied in a personally meaningful and relevant way.  It is no wonder that when content is captured from these brand building two way interactions, and amplified via channels with broader reach, that consumers react positively and the campaign can create an impact as high profile as topical cultural events and topics discussed on the evening news.

The interesting aftereffect of this marketing phenomenon, and paradigm shift to consumer engagement, is that a ‘chicken and the egg’ scenario ensues; who comes first is the question?

Digital agencies create content for digital use, farming out the live brand experience creation or bringing in resource to strategise and implement in house.  PR agencies do the same, designing live brand experiences that are designed for amplification with the media.  Creative agencies, who know that the best ads feature a live brand experience at the core, often see it as their role to create the central content piece which filters through the broader comms. Even TV production companies are realising the value in branded live content and setting up experiential arms.  All the while, experiential specialist agencies are expanding their in-house abilities for amplification by bringing in social media experts and pr officers.

The traditionally split comms budget pot, is now being brought back to the drawing board, with lots of fluidity and an idea led, integrated approach, enabling all the agencies to pitch for the budget, with a potentially justified case for each niche player. When an experiential approach is strategic and central, as seen in hugely successful campaigns such as T-Mobile dance, Smirnoff Be There, and Nike run, there is a very good argument to be made, that an integrated experiential marketing methodology is the future of successful marketing.

The T-Mobile Dance campaign, featuring the highly talked about hit Liverpool St Flash Mob live brand experience, created by Saatchi & Saatchi and Freud communications, was placed at the core of the broader campaign, with event footage and stills forming the creative for the ATL campaign, and even stimulating a slot on the evening news about how ‘Experiential Marketing is the future’. Not only did the original Flash Mob Dance event create a mass buzz and consumer frenzy which generated massive sale uplifts, but the further amplification pieces saw great success, with the regional tour segment of the campaign achieving hundreds of thousands of YouTube hits alone, not to mention a high number of face to face interactions.

The growth in demand for live brand experiences at the core of the creative is rising, and these prolific campaigns demonstrate the power of interactive activities in terms of achieving ‘cut through’ and engaging consumers to drive positive word of mouth.

Ultimately as always, people buy people, so if the experiential marketing specialist agency doesn’t have a strategic seat at the agency status meetings, and is seen as a tactical afterthought reporting into a junior client team,  it – though possibly best positioned to execute a cohesive live brand experience driven strategy for multi channel roll out – often doesn’t even have a shot at taking the lead role in steering the creative.

Brands who give their experiential marketing agencies a seat at the agency table, and provide a senior decision making ear, may be risk takers in the eyes of old school, TV- driven colleagues, but the winnings for pioneering such a goldmine approach are huge.  Ultimately over the next 5 years, the iPod generation will hold the purse strings, and we know this media savvy generation, who has an allergic reaction to a brainwashing strategy, will drive forward the use of added value experiences as central to brand communications.  Added value brand experiences that give back to consumers, whether it be in the form of branded events, real time interactive TV, or simple brand engagement, have the power to –when amplified well – create national wide spread word of mouth and cultural phenomena.

Use your 30 second slot wisely, showcase your high value engagement productions, use your out of home to drive participation, and then showcase real life participants, but most importantly appoint an experiential marketing agency a seat at the boardroom table and allow them to take a strategic role, then expect to be ahead of the game and watch sales hit the roof.