In the era of information explosion, promoting brands by merelyemphasizing product features and quality can hardly stand outin a clustered market. Realizing this problem, IKEA is using experiential marketing to build up their furniture kingdom. Is Ikea always your top-of-mind brand when you want to purchase furniture? Doyou agree feel more confidnet when you make a purchase after engaging with the products directly ? From the perpspectives of both the customers and businesses, what makes experiential marketing an attractive strategy?

Get everybody to know your brand

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Experiential marketing helps us generate a gigantic amount of word-of-mouth. With the appealing campaigns and designs, people love to upload what they see or experience on social media. Given the impact of social media these days, it is not something to be sneezed at.

Take the mobile game ‘Just Dance Now’ as an example. It is a game where players dance according to the music, the device will rank players’ performance by how they danced. Multiple players can connect simultaneously and play together, while there are no cap on the number of participants (Unisoft, 2014). To promote this game, the company placed an ‘emergency box’ in London, with the instruction ‘in case of groove emergency, break glass’written on it. When a man breaks the glass and takes the phone out of the box, the large billboard behind will start playing the music in ‘Just Dance Now’. The stunt attracted hundreds of people as they connected to the game and played together at the center of the street. The scores each participant received were also be shown on the billboard. This event successfully drew the attention of existing players of the game and also passer-bys. No matter if you are into the game or not, passers-bys would be eager to take photos of the dancers and share the scene on social media. They might even look up the game online, which could draw massive amount of mention to the brand.

From the example above, we can see an impoartant feature of experiential marketing: Being shareable (Marketing & Communication, 2017). People would like to share their experiences with brands on social media likeInstagram and Facebook. As a result, our brands can gain free social media exposure with the help of experiential marketing campaigns. It can make our brand to be better known by the mass, and even become the top-of-mind brand of the business area.

Form a bond with your customers

Aside from providing quality products, creating an emotional bond with customers is also crucial in building a good marketing campaign. An outstanding experiential marketing campaign can helpa brand create a friendly and memorable character. For example, Lay’s used affection to create a distinctive experience for their customers.

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Affective approach means linking up particular emotions or feelings to the product itself so as to stimulate customer’s resonance and patronage.

To let customers feel the joy with Lay’s, a truck-size chips claw machine was launched in Taiwan. The participant was tied to the machine like a claw as he could grab as many bags of Lay’s as they could in a truck filled with over 5,000 packets of chips.., Rather than emphasizing on their products, the campaign brought a fun experience to many people, which reasonates with Lay’s image as a snack for sharing. This campaign can strengthen the bond between the brand and customers, which could transform into a motive to make purchase.

A different kind of test drive

Experiential marketing is about inviting potential customers to try and experience a brand’s product or service. This a chance for brands to interact with customers creatively and make them feel the product is relevant to them. Understanding the potential of experiential marketing, Automobile company Nissan develop a campaign for their new car where potential buyers can experience their cutting-edge technology before a test drive.

To promote their new electric car Leaf,  Nissan developed a campaign based on the physical experiences, behaviours and lifestyles (ACT) model proposed by Schmitt (2007) to increase sales. To promote the automatic parking feature, Nissan let potential buyers experience it by demonstrating it  with slippers: Once people leave their slippers, they will automatically “park” themselves back to a designated spot after use. What’s more, the slippers mimic the design of an electric car, withthe wheels, motor and sensors help them to locate and park themselves.

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The self-parking slippers are meant to raise awareness of automated driving technologies — and their potential, non-driving applications,” said Nissan spokesman Nick Maxfield (Nissan, 2018).

Not only does ACT experiential marketing assist people to understand product features, it also leave them with a long-lasting impression.

Get cognitively aroused
Apart from simply getting a taste of the products, a successful experiential marketing campaign would give fresh impetus to customers and create memorable impact on them. Utilizing new technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is becoming a new norm in promtions, as they can engage with customers’ senses and emotions, which can lead them to cognitively immerse into the brand’s universe. Technological innovation can undoubtedly bring experiential marketing to a bold new level and help captivate potential customers. This new trend can be known as cognitive experiential marketing.

NARS, an American cosmetics brand, has impressively incorporated new technology into their branding campaign. To increase their brand exposure, NARS cooperated with MeiTu, a photo editing app company, to launch an experiential marketing campaign in Shanghai in 2017. To immerse customers into a brand new experience, Not only did NARS set up pop-up stores to let customers try their products directly, they also adopted AR technology to set up a number of  “Magic Mirrors ” to let customers try on different makeup products virtually, as they can see the results reflected on the “magic mirrors”.

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Consumers can try on any NARS products, including base, concealer, lipstick and rouge. Not only can the AR technology assist consumers to try on the cosmetics products in a convenient manner, it also creates a personalized and shareable brand experience.

Cognitive experiential marketing provides customer a chance to directly engage with a brand and their products through a senory-stimulating experience. Like what NARS has created, such experience could promote products and strengthen customers’ intend on purchasing.

Let them buy your products

Experiential marketing can serve as a great tool to activate customers through product demonstrationand in-store product placement, which could in turn boost direct sales. Comparing with a verbal description of the product, hands-on experience of products is arguably the mosteffective persuaion method.  First-hand experience could help products leave a strong impression in customer’s mind; if sucessfully executed, it could become a strong motivation for one to make a purchase.

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Being a staple of many people’s childhood memory, Nesquik has set up a Nesquik milk workshop that served their nostalgic chocolate drink to their old and new customers with a side of throwback fun. Participants could make their own unique Nesquik milk with ingredients of their choice, including chocolate chips, nuts and even with watermelon. Aside from the drinks, there were many “Instagrammable” spots in the workshop for guests to take photos. By building a factory-like DIY workshop, a warm and joyful environment where customers can  reignite their interest in Nesquik is created. Such perfect blend of nostalgia and user experience could make a perfect cup of hot cocoa, and perhaps a perfect reason to make a purchase.   .

With these successful cases,  we can see how shpaing the experiences and feelings of  customers towards the products are keys to success. By making use of the customers’ sensual, emotional, social and cognitve experience, brands can deliver a memorable product experience and create positive impact on brand reputation, customer loyalty and sales.

Reference

Eventmarkter(2019). Nesquik Milk Stop: Ex Awards 2019.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjqtLtRttQc

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS (2017). CrownTV. Retrieved from https://www.crowntv-us.com/blog/benefits-of-experiential-marketing/

Gunseli(2018). Nissan’s self-driving slippers tidy themselves away. Dazeen. Retrieved from https://www.google.com.hk/amp/s/www.dezeen.com/2018/02/02/nissans-self-driving-slippers-park-themselves-cars-technology/amp/

Lay’s(2018). 樂事真人夾娃娃機前進台南! Lay’s Offical Facebook Page.  Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/LaysTW/posts/1992748267673460/

Nars (2017). 和NARS玩高潮的美妝相機,是否也能引發彩妝業的AR潮. Retrieved from https://kknews.cc/zh-hk/fashion/eab3n3z.html

Nissan(2018). ProPILOT Park Ryokan.  Retrieved from https://youtu.be/laVRq3wXSwE

Schmitt, B. H. (2007). Experiential marketing. Bilbao: Deusto.

Unisoft(2014). Just Dance Now《舞力全開 Now》在倫敦街頭的極致舞蹈體驗 / Incredible dance experience at London – Ubisoft SEA. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3pui5kZMzQ