June 30, 2015

Posted by: Brad

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Experiential Marketing: How it increases brand awareness, loyalty, and shapes brands

If you don’t know what experiential marketing is, I think you’ll find it interesting. Experiential marketing, simply put, creates anexperience for the marketing campaign's audience, and it’s something that is going to need to be utilized by companies if they want to differentiate themselves from the competition.

 

Brands Using Experiential Marketing

 

Think of Red Bull, Coca-Cola, Nike, and Zappos. What do they have in common besides a large following? They’re all great at experiential marketing.

 

Last year, Zappos set up shop at Houston's airport baggage claim the day before Thanksgiving and turned the baggage claim into a real life Wheel of Fortune. The company covered the conveyor belt with laminated screens so that when your luggage slid down the chute and landed on a specific spot you would win a prize. Prizes ranged from a pair of UGGs to Zappos gift cards. See the campaign video here!

 

All of Red Bull’s marketing is experiential marketing, and that’s why I, along with millions of other people, love the brand. Think of any event they’ve had or sponsored. Flugtag, Stratos, Formula 1, X-Games, ... the list goes on. Red Bull is the gold standard of experiential marketing.

 

If I asked you what the two best marketing campaigns of last summer were, what would you say?

 

Do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign ring a bell? Yup, that’s experiential marketing.

 

By the end of last summer, everyone knew that the “Ice Bucket Challenge” supported the ALS Association. Creating an activity such as dumping ice on your head and challenging others is one example of companies using experiential marketing to increase brand awareness.

 

Oh, and the $100 million raised was nice too, which was a 3,500% increase from its donations in the same time-freame the previous year.

 

Experiential marketing builds brand loyalty?

 

Customers are more brand loyal than ever, meaning they will repeatedly buy your product (or utilize your service) over a period of time and are less sensitive to price changes. Experiential marketing helps build brand loyalty because it causes consumers to remember when and where they experienced the product. Using Red Bull as an example, most consumers will be more likely to buy a Red Bull product before a Monster product if they have been to a Red Bull sponsored event such as Flugtag, with all other factors being equal (such as price). 

 

The “Share a Coke” campaign differentiated Coca-Cola from its competitors and increased both awareness and loyalty. This was reflected by a 2.5% sales increases over the previous year. With the soft drink market steadily declining in the last 11 years, Coke saw rises in consumption during its campaign, causing consumers to become more loyal to the brand.

 

Experiential Marketing and Shaping Brands

 

By using experiential marketing, brands can stay true to their values.

 

Zappos values include creating fun and a little weirdness, being adventurous, being creative and open-minded, and building a positive team and family spirit. With its experiential marketing campaign in Houston’s airport, they not only increased awareness and loyalty, but also shaped its brand around its values.

 

Coca-Cola has similar values, including passion, quality, diversity, integrity, and collaboration. It might not be clear how its “Share a Coke” campaign lived up to its values, but its ability to create such a simple yet effective campaign shows its passion, diversity, and collaboration while focusing on integrity and diversity.

 

Working for a company that uses creative and interesting campaigns sounds fun, especially if you can be involved with its development. Experiential marketing has more benefits than just increasing profits; it attracts the best and brightest employees.

 

Experiential marketing is what you make it, and if done correctly, drives consumers to your brand. If you know of any brilliant experiential marketing campaigns I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment below to discuss your favorite campaigns. If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

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