Today’s cash-rich, but time-poor consumers are increasingly screening what media they consume. Are you offering them (good) memorable moments?
Many traditional communication and advertising tools are simply being shut out, leaving marketers scrambling to find new tricks to reach their audiences in meaningful ways. Experiential marketing and activations is an approach that continues to break through these barriers, though, and builds brand relationships among potential advocates.
This is because experiential marketing, properly executed, has the ability to create memorable brand empowering encounters (through personal interactions) that produce a lasting relationship between the customer and the brand. The goal of course is increased market share. The trick lies in crafting a communication piece that packs a punch and is as memorable as it is effective.
Raising your profile amongst those that matter
Research indicates that live engagement and events have a direct effect on buying behaviours. Annual EventTrack research highlights that 74% of consumers say engaging with branded event marketing experiences makes them more likely to buy the products being promoted.
Put simply:Increasing brand awareness through human interaction has unparalleled results and the impact of live events on consumers should not be underestimated.
The same research shows that 93% of consumers believe live events are more effective than television advertising, which makes sense in an era where consumers can ‘PVR’ and fast-forward through adverts. More than that, though, live events provide the context for better understanding of a brand’s product or service than any form of advertising ever could.
Related: Memorable brand experiences can drive the change you really need
With this as the premise, and recognising that event and experiential marketing has become one of the world’s fastest growing forms of marketing, South African brands would do well to consider including events, promotions and activations in their brand marketing plans. When creating these interactive customer experiences – you must:
1. Engage the senses
If people have experience with a company’s goods, and have experienced them with all their senses, they’re much more likely to purchase them. Shoppers are increasingly “tuning out” of traditional in-store marketing which means that brands need to reinvigorate their promotions by creating emotional arousal of the full five senses; sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.
2. Harness the in-store experience
Statistics show that 68% of all purchases are unplanned; 70% of brand choices are made in store; and staggeringly – a low 5% of shoppers are loyal to a particular brand. This is directly linked to economic pressures faced by consumers. This number is set to decrease even more as shoppers continue the trend to dispel brand loyalty in favour of price. Brands must also remember that people are active shoppers, not passive consumers.
3. Tap into the South African consumer through industrial theatre
Storytelling is intrinsic to South Africans. Folk tales or Izinganekwane, start off with the phrase: “kwasukasukela” which means “long ago”. An example of harnessing this storytelling culture is to create memorable experiences through industrial theatre - which loosely translates to a short performance using song, dance, characters and humour to tell the story of your brand.
Storytelling takes communication to a whole new level, and as our language degenerates into Emoji speak, you need to tell more well-crafted stories. It’s also a very effective way of delivering a brand’s message and a means to connect emotionally with consumers. The key is to create relevant interactions that lead to careful brand immersion; and to be successful - timing is key.
Related: 6 Reasons why influencer marketing really works
4. Trial product
Giving consumers the opportunity to sample your product first is still one of the most persuasive ways of encouraging product purchase.
Product ‘trialling’ includes a brand interaction that is normally a sensory or tangible experience that builds trust and is consumer-centric. It offers the greatest odds of consumers switching brands too. Why? Because the consumer appreciates the fact that they are in control and can decide whether or not to purchase the product.
Research also shows that consumers considering purchasing a product – do end up buying it after trying it at an experiential marketing event.
Another significant benefit associated with experiential event marketing is that it’s an effective platform for creating and distributing content between brands and consumers. Think of live events (like sponsorships, tours, street marketing, pop-up stores, in-store experiences, sampling, and proprietary events) as a content factory where consumers are doing the work.
Using their mobile devices, they take photos, videos and distribute content from branded events across their own social networks which further adds to the effectiveness of the activation – both in reach, engagement and credibility. This is a trend that’s showing no signs of slowly down and is only going to heat up.
While experiential marketing is evolving - it’s outpacing growth among other marketing channels like advertising, promotion, and eMarketing.
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Strategically planned and effective execution that touches all the senses, and combines the best elements of social media and above and below the line branding in the mix, will provide interactive powerful – if not explosive – customer experiences that tick all the right boxes: Engagement, Education, Trial, and Repeat Purchase.