Monday, 21 October 2013

Experiential marketing. Are you and consumers engaged? Or do you barely know each other?

Do consumers care about your brand? I don’t mean like the warm, fuzzy feelings parents have towards their kids. I mean, do consumers even care that your brand exists at all?
A recent global survey says, shockingly for the vast majority of brands, that consumers wouldn’t be bothered if 92% of the world’s brands disappeared. 92%! It’s a stunning – and terrifying - figure.
So how do you ensure that your brand sits pretty in that tiny, green and fertile 8% space of the public mind?
One answer is brand experience. Now that incorporates a lot of things. Obviously, the basics of marketing: impression (“I like what that brand has to offer me”) and interaction (“that brand actually gave me what it said it would”) but those are just starting points.
In today’s hyper-connected world, brand experience has grown to incorporate many other areas, in particular, the resurgence of experiential marketing.
It’s simply not enough to just advertise, sell and deliver anymore. Consumers want more. And spoilt for choice in a free market, they have every right to demand extra.
So teach them, entertain them, inspire their creativity and, above all, make them feel special. Long ago that was what The Avon Lady and Tupperware parties sought to do, place the product in consumers’ hands and encourage them to have fun with it. That was the start of experiential marketing but, now it’s back, and thanks to modern communication tools, it’s massive.
Take South Africa’s Carling Black Label’s “Be the Coach” campaign. It encouraged people not to just drink a zamelek, it tapped into their passion for football and gave them the chance to actually ‘be the coach’. SAB was on to a sure winner with that campaign as it was tweeted, retweeted, posted, uploaded, downloaded and SMSed everywhere.
The secret to that campaign’s success wasn’t about the product intrinsics (let’s face it, the boring bits: the barley, hops and water). It tapped into the public zeitgeist – and engaged it completely. You can bet SAB – and Black Label - is sitting in the 8% safe zone.
Take Axe’s “Be an astronaut” campaign. Every woman knows there’s no sexier man than an astronaut - so Axe tapped into that by offering its male consumers the chance to be an astronaut in real life and, with that, become every woman’s dream man. Now that’s hot.
So it’s no longer good enough to just deliver your product or service as well as you can. You have to engage people with it. You have to have a two way conversation. You have to make people sit up, blink twice and think to themselves, “Did I really see that?”
I’ll leave you with a last, amazing example: how one Belgian TV channel delivered its message in what has to be one of the most dramatic examples of experiential marketing ever.

Hilton Alexander Rose
Your Brand Agency | Director