Given that word of mouth is such a powerful marketing medium, can companies afford not to invest in brand experience asks Jane Gray?
Research shows that more than 50% of people say their friends and family are the number one influence on their purchasing decisions, 75% of consumers only advocate brands they have great personal experiences with, while only 10% trust advertising.
Research has also shown that TV advertising is only a third as effective as it was in 1990 due to increasing advertising cost and dramatic reductions in viewing figures.
However, there is still some skepticism around experiential marketing vs. traditional media that needs to be addressed, as some senior executives still remain dubious about the impact of event marketing. I believe this is due to marketers thinking in terms of immediate reach rather than the halo affect that it will create.
What companies need to realise is that traditional media is becoming less powerful due to a reduction in TV viewing figures. Consumers are becoming immune to advertising with the ability to fast forward ad breaks on recorded programming and blocking or ignoring digital banner advertisements.
At Verve, we are believers in the power of live experience and how influential it can be. Compared to traditional marketing, experiential brand events are inherently social. They give consumers a chance to touch, feel and respond to products personally, as well as entertaining, educating and creating an emotional stickiness that brands crave.
Good live experiences are memorable and spark conversation by moving consumers up the “brand love pyramid” from knowing a brand, to liking a brand and eventually loving it! This is what leads to personal recommendations and word of mouth which we know is the most powerful driver of purchase intent.
By creating experiences that put the consumer at the centre, they will not only connect with the brand but also share their experience through their own social networks. Your brand will find a place in their next conversation or at the top of their newsfeed – where you want your brand to be!
Although experiential marketing is not new, advancements in technology in the past 10 years mean that we can create a fully intergrated experience for consumers that connect the live experience with the online world. Events can therefore live on even after the last piece of branding has been taken down and sent back to the warehouse.
With all this in mind, I believe experiential marketing is an incredibly influential marketing tool that brands must not ignore and should be part of any integrated marketing campaign.
So what would be my top tips to create a powerful live experience and ensure success?
Appeal to consumers senses: Human senses are incredibly powerful and live experience is the perfect arena to tap into these. Whether it is sight, smell, sound, touch or taste make sure to tap into at least two of these.
Spark Curiosity: Entice consumers curosity with a fun and engaging activty that they are interested in. If I see someone simply handing out a flyer at a street corner at best I will take it with a polite smile and put into the nearest bin without giving it a second look, however if there is an intriguing experience to take part in I am over there like a shot.
Be Real: Consumers are becoming more anti-advertising and hate to have brands forced upon them. It is therefore important to put the consumer at the center of the actvity and not the brand. By doing this you will create a memorable experience that they will share.
Use Technology: Stay on top of technical innovations, consumers love to try new advancements in technology and it is something that they will immediately talk about.
Integration: Every agency talks about how important it is to have a fully ingerated campaign and this rings true for live experiences too. One of the most common barriers to success is lack of intergration, so it is important that agencies work together, so that the idea can live and be experienced across all channels. Only then you will become truly memorable.
Brand Ambassadors: After all of the planning and creativity, the success of an activation rests with the interaction between the consumer and the brand ambassadors. It is crucial to find a BA that is the right fit for the brand.
Make it Memorable: Make sure users leave your event excited and eager to share it.
Know your Consumer: Above all else, I think this is the most important tip of all. You need to get to know your consumer in order to give them something that matters to them, which is what will create a truly impactful and lasting experience.
Jane Gray is an account director with Verve The Live Agency.
In association with APMC
First published in Irish Marketing Journal (May 2016)© to order back issues please call 016611660