What is experiential marketing?

projectmanager - June 2011

There are so many different branches of marketing it’s enough to just about make your head fall off following them all on twitter.

With only being in the industry for two weeks now, something that I initially struggled to get my head round was trying to define the difference between them all. From marketing, to guerilla marketing, experiential marketing, public relations, brand communications, event management, advertising, etc etc. All are slightly different approaches to creatively communicating (and selling) to the customer, but what are their unique strengths and weakness?

This blog focuses specifically on defining experiential marketing, which is a relatively young market within the industry, however minds from across the industry are beginning to understand the benefits of including it into their branding campaigns.

Experiential Marketing has two stand-out features. Firstly, like all forms of marketing, the way the brand markets its values MUST target a specific core audience. Secondly, it has to be able to emotionally move that audience. But what distinguishes experiential marketing from say advertising is that it’s done via a theatrically engaging medium. Rather than being produced digitally, it’s produced live, at an organized event.

It’s about firstly finding the type of places your target audience are likely to be hanging out in and then coming up with a block rocking theatrical idea to interest them and reel them in (for example Aqua fresh provided teeth cleaning stations at festivals to festival campers who would probably desire the product at that moment of time). The idea has to focus on emotionally connecting with a desire or lifestyle image in which your audience is likely to be drawn towards.

Essentially, a brand is a lifestyle; experiential marketing is about opening the door into that lifestyle. It’s almost as if the brand has morphed into the physical carnation of how it wishes to be perceived as by it’s target audience. This vividly opens the consumer’s senses up to what that lifestyle smells and feels like. It’s a memorable experience, which sucks the consumer in by the intensity of the experience they are given, as well as by the uniqueness of the location in which it is situated (which is usually at a fun festival or stadium), so that the consumer is literally sucked into the lifestyle/ brand for the briefest of moments and then comes out with the memorable experience placed in the back of their minds.

Think about how Red Bull does experiential marketing. They put on spectacular snowboarding/ motor biking/ daredevil type shows in big stadiums. These events connect with the lifestyle interests of its target audience. They allow their audience to experience the brand in its fullest adreneline rushing, energy boosting glory, which they then memorably associate with the drink, and are moved to tell their friends about the whole thing.

Experiential is more than just handing out a product sample. It’s about putting on an event that consumers will experience, emotionally connect, and then go back to their lives having experienced and enjoyed the brand.

Although earlier I said that it’s about locating where your target audience hangs out, that’s usually the case of a well-refined case experiential marketing strategy. In general terms these experiential marketing events are likely to end up taking place in shopping centres, which also makes a lot of sense.

Everybody loves going shopping, it’s a fun experience of browsing at largely unethically sourced goods and trying to figure out what lifestyle/ brands fit your personality. Experiential marketing adds a little extra fun into the whole shopping experience. It allows brands now the ability to physically leap out from out of the shops and really try and make you understand what the values of the brand are, and convince you that your lifestyle is suited towards buying into it. Sounds frightening. But it’s actually a great way of helping people visualize what sort of person they can become, and what values they stand for. It enables companies not only to sell the product, but also to entertain and educated as to why this is the right product for the consumer.

At scene2 we seek to tell a story in a theatrically engaging medium. In telling a story we ensure that the mind of the consumer is captured and fascinated, therefore the power of the story and the experience will mentally connect with the brand. The injection of scene2’s theatrical and experiential expertise will guarantee any creative project stand out from the crowd. You can visit the Scene2 website here – https://www.scene2.co.uk/.

This blog was written by Taz Burwaiss, marketing manager at Scene2.

To find out more about Scene2 visit us on our website here.
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