We live in the world of personalisation and tailored experience. Netflix now offers you to choose what you should watch tonight. Everything is taken care of.
So, a lack of personality and interaction can leave us feeling flat. With many B2B marketers pushing a humanistic approach to marketing, getting in touch with people’s emotions, immersive marketing’s presence is set to increase.
Here we discuss what it is, how it can work and if it is already working. How and why your business needs to incorporate PR and experience marketing, today.
Definition of experiential marketing: –
“Marketing involving or based on experience and observation.”
Experiential marketing sets out to create memorable real-world experiences that invoke positive feelings and therefore, a positive connotation with the brand.
When aiming to build engagement and trust with a company, B2B brands can use experiential marketing with their PR agency; to create loyal audiences who value the company.
What is experiential marketing?
Any campaign, or marketing practice, that invites potential consumers to interact, with an immersive (engaging with any/all five senses) experience.
In the early noughties, flash mobs took over the globe as great examples of pop-up live marketing.
In 2013, a B2B technology company took it up a notch when it comes to interaction with the public for experiential marketing.
Bored? You interacted with the poster and you were presented with a circus show. In a hurry? You interacted and received a lift, in a Ferrari. Think you have seen it all? You were picked up by a team of huskies, on the side of the road, at a bus stop, on a hot summer’s day.
None of these things communicates what Qualcomm do. However, each time someone interacted with these posters (and the technology in their pocket) they interacted with Qualcomm.
The number of conversations generated about that tech company that picked people up from the bus stop in sports cars, got people talking.
What makes the strongest experiential marketing campaign?
Engaging with all the five senses.
Senses help us link our emotions to our environment. Our senses tell us how to feel, for example, the unexpected smell of burning is likely to raise your stress levels and tell you to leave, fast.
All our senses, intentionally or not, affect our loyalty to a company and how we feel about a service.
Visual branding is common as bread: billboards, logos, packaging and more. We have become so used to seeing it that its effects have become part of subconscious decision making.
Yet appearance is hugely important in our perception of a company or product.
Apple’s branding represents a modern, innovative tech company and their products were originally iconic. They stood out in the marketplace. Even now, Apple’s products are recognisable.
The colours used on websites push people through their journey to purchasing services and products. Cutting down that decision making time by removing it subconsciously.
When a smell triggers a memorable experience, it often triggers the emotions you felt in that moment too.
Singapore Airlines have created a signature aroma. A blend of rose, lavender and citrus is sprayed on soft surfaces, and towels and used by the cabin crew. The scent is only available aboard their flights.
Starbucks grind their beans in-store to familiarise customers with their signature smell. It could save the company money to send ground and packaged beans to stores. The cost incurred by creating a sensory playground is deemed worth it in the multi-billion-dollar business.
Now we have begun getting used to the outside world again, a gentle interaction in the physical world is a few steps away from mind-blowing.
Chase Bank came to UK cities with their interactive Octagon. They communicated they are ‘all about rewards’ by giving participants a shopping voucher for interacting. The idea that Chase Bank was giving away free money made headlines.
The pop up included a series of questions that you answered by physically choosing which button correlated. Questions were designed to ‘personalise your experience once you entered’ as a way of communicating they’re a personal bank that works for you.
Physical touch increases recall. Participants wouldn’t have remembered the values communicated during the experience had they simply watched and listened to the information.
Companies such as Google keep employees in the office until the evening by serving free meals. Employees come in early with free breakfasts, extending the working day through food.
Similarly, we now see many businesses providing in-office lunches and food pop-ups as we tempt employees back into the office, breaking their working-from-home routines with food.
Mastercard is one of many banking apps to create a sound for their transactions. Sonic sound is sensory branding , the familiarity provides a sense of security and consistency.
Mastercard, on their app, cleverly linked this sound to their famous logo – implying the sound is made as the circles intersect one another.
Examples of experiential marketing campaigns
Any situation in which brands, interact with consumers. Like those marvellous demonstrations of the hottest-mop-in-town that are forced upon you in department stores. Experiential campaigns have become commonplace in B2B too:
- Event marketing – retreats, business events, festivals, awards, etc. A business retreat can be a company’s way of communicating its brand, culture, and values to its employees.
- Activities and kiosks at trade shows, VR headset at a trade show, highlighting to potential stockists, the various display unit options.
- Samplings or demonstrations, such as a free trial of a service or product.
- Conferences and keynote speakers, sending employees to talk at a conference to showcase the knowledge of the team.
- Experiences unique to the brand, Google’s offices boast some of the most unique working environments that only employees or businesses working with Google can experience.
- Ways in which brands and the public work together to create social good/action, company volunteer days in which they work on local community projects.
The digital age
As we move into the omnichannel, digital post-covid world, in-person experience is no longer a necessity and quickly becoming a luxury.
The value held over a memorable, tangible experience is growing and in turn, so is the power of experiential marketing strategy.
Digital experiential marketers
B2B PR agencies focus now on managing multiple channels of communication, ensuring the brand is consistent across all channels.
While experienced PR and marketing professionals have now mastered the ever-changing world of social platforms, the challenge of catching and retaining users’ attention is ever increasing.
Marketers must now look at user experience online. One way that a Business consultancy and financial advice company, Sage, have created brand ambassadors through content marketing is through their TikTok campaign “Sage Tell Me”.
Sage offers advice and financial services to business owners and asked users to interact with the brand by creating a short video encapturing the theme of “tell me you’re a business owner without telling me you’re a business owner”.
These videos were then posted across individual users’ networks as well as encouraging user-generated content for Sage’s social platforms.
Why does experiential marketing work?
Most people are seeking or open to experiences, especially new ones, with the aim to be delighted. An experiential campaign encourages members to share and promote brands by giving them a pleasurable experience. Something to talk about.
Experiential marketing campaigns create connections, with their audience through one-on-one interactions – an (immersive experience. The result increased customer loyalty.
We are in the age of sharing. Everyone is walking around sharing everything they consume. Sometimes we would rather some people did not.
Yet this ‘share culture’ is what has pushed businesses to become more transparent and ethical in practices (and investing in the value of PR).
We pick up our phones to share, brands pick up their act when it comes to customer experience. Investing in experience, to increase loyalty and bring customers back after the past few years of uncertainty.
B2C marketers have used immersive strategy to create brand superfans who consistently share what they are up to. In B2B, brands are less of our personal identity.
We see immersive tools used in B2B to connect and create human connections. The type of LinkedIn content anyone can share, as humans have no set sector.
You’ve seen your network post engagement marketing
When someone you trust shares an interaction, you may be likely to trust this due to its seemingly more authentic nature.
Scrolling through LinkedIn you’ll come across posts that feature experiential marketing, even if the author doesn’t know that’s what they’re faced with. These are posts in which companies share their partnerships through the photos of a joint company retreat. Or post a picture of a gift sent to them from a partner or a meal out with a client.
These subtle touches in creating an experience within business relationships will attract new audiences as people view your content.
Although people aren’t talking about your products or services, there are still people talking positively about your brand.