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Experiential marketing is one of the buzz phrases of our times, but in case you’re not really sure what it is, this example from Red Bull will help. The energy drink’s slogan is ‘Red Bull gives you wings’. They’ve been ramming home this message in print and TV adverts for years, but in 2012 they took it to a new level by staging a world record attempt for the highest parachute jump ever in 2012 when skydiver Felix Baumgartner dropped from a whopping 128,000 feet.
Of course, the event was covered with Red Bull branding, and the company was named in every media reference to the event in the same way that sponsorship of a sports league delivers guaranteed namechecks for big brands in news bulletins and articles. But it did much, much more than that: 8 million people tuned into YouTube to watch the record attempt, which saw Baumgartner smash eight world records and the sound barrier. Engaging audiences in the drama of an event is the difference between experiential marketing and advertising or sponsorship.
Other examples of successful brand experiences include Budweiser’s beer garage or Volkswagen’s interactive Piano Staircase, which aimed to encourage people to take the stairs rather than the escalator and fitted into its philosophy of the ‘Theory of Fun’.
Obviously these big brands have millions of pounds to spend on these campaigns, but their success with experiential marketing shows the impact that it can have. If you’re a smaller business, you just have to create campaigns that fit more realistically with your budget than sending someone into the stratosphere:
Here you can show off the best parts of your business and give people the chance to see the true value they can get from choosing your brand. To engage people in your brand, you need to come up with an event that captures their imagination and offers something a bit different.
If you want people to come to you, sometimes you need to go to them. What better place to do this than your local high-street? Again, you need to capture their attention; handing out leaflets is not experiential! Think of activities that resonate with your company’s activities and brand values – such as Red Bull’s ‘give you wings’ slogan that underpinned the world-record parachute jump.
If you’ve got a good number of followers on social media, use them! A great way to engage with your followers and potentially increase your customers is to create an interactive adventure on social media. You could put clues around your local town which people need to follow and if they succeed they get a free sample of your product or service. Not only will you get people interacting with your brand, you might also increase your social media following.
The important thing to do with experiential marketing is think about your core audience. Put yourself in their shoes, what would they want out of an event or challenge and how can you use this to your advantage. If done right, using brand experiences could really help with awareness and engagement with your company.