Experiential marketing, otherwise known as “engagement marketing,” is an approach that helps customers to experience a brand using non-traditional advertising strategies that engage customers in an interactive experience, such as an event, an art installation, or a game.
Experiential marketing often encompasses other marketing strategies ranging from individual sampling (such as distributing food or perfume at a store) to large-scale marketing events. The goal of this approach is to immerse customers within a brand and its message in a surprising, innovative way.
You might be wondering what we mean by “non-traditional” advertising.
Traditional advertising approaches, which include print, radio, digital, and television ads, use verbal and visual cues to communicate brand message and product benefits. Experiential marketing gives these approaches another dimension. These experiential techniques give brand advertisers the opportunity to approach potential customers via smell and touch. There is the potential to employ all senses.
This immersive approach is important because it creates a powerful bond between the customer and the brand. Experiential marketing not only advertises a product—it shows potential consumers what their lives would be like with that product. The goal of this approach is to allow users to form memorable, emotional connections with a brand that foster long-term customer loyalty.
While some experiential marketing strategies employ flashy events and intricate installations, the approach should ideally go beyond PR stunts to stir emotions.
Successful campaigns create a powerful, human experience that can be anything from an exhilarating dance party to quietly listening to a moving personal story.
When it comes to choosing the right approach for your brand, the choice depends on your target demographic and the emotion that you want users to associate with your brand. Sometimes the emotion that you want your brand to convey is not directly related to the product you are trying to sell.
Experiential marketing presents advertisers with the opportunity to say something that their brand has never been able to say before, and to build an experience around that new message.
A great example of how a brand redefined itself with experiential marketing is the Lean Cuisine’s #WeighThis campaign. In an effort to move away from negative associations between their brand and oppressive diet culture, Lean Cuisine partnered with a professional artist to create a unique installation in New York City’s Grand Central Station. Everyday women were asked how they would weigh their accomplishments as opposed to their bodies. Their answers were hand painted onto 250 scales that were featured prominently in the busy terminal.
Another completely different, but equally effective approach towards experiential marketing is the media company Refinery 29’s campaign, 29 Rooms Immersive World of Culture & Creativity. 29 Rooms features 29 interactive, artist-made spaces that include multi-sensory installations, performances, workshops and cocktails. The campaign created associations between the Refinery 29 brand and everything fun, trendy, artsy and open-minded.
Experiential marketing is reinventing the advertising wheel, allowing your users to bring their dreams to life, and associate those dreams with your brand.