Maya Louangelou wasn’t off the mark when she said that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will not forget how you made them feel. Infact, it holds true especially in times like today when the average person is exposed to over 4,000 advertisements in a day. That is why experiential marketing has the key to something insanely powerful – the ability to engage consumers and to create brand experiences that will get them to stand up and take notice. Not just ‘good to do’ this has become outright mandatory for brands as they look for new and unique ways to connect with people.
While most brands tend to offer promises and claims – better, tastier, cheaper, newer they forget that they are one of billions saying the same things. Experiences on the other are unique. From my 12 years of getting brands up, close and personal with consumers, here’s what goes into creating unique and memorable experiences.
Thinking Larger than Life
Don’t blame your customers for turning off when you’re only saying something they’ve already heard by hundreds of others. Marketing that people seek out – and engage with cannot be regular and mundane. It must create a flutter in their daily lives - something that involves and excites them. We’ve all been to malls and we’ve all popped a piece of cake on Valentine’s Day. But it’s amazing to see a 1,000 kg cake at a mall on Valentine’s Day that doubles up as a QR code and lets you download the WeChat application – the product this campaign was for.
Meeting on New Ground
A sales pitch in the garb of an experiential marketing campaign is not fooling anyone. An experiential marketing campaign must make the brand and its customers participants in something new and exciting. Let go of the seller and buyer roles and your consumers will no longer see this as a marketing gimmick forced on them. Make it more about the shared adventure rather than sales and you’ve got a winning campaign on your hands. An online campaign got women tweeting about things that #doesntlastlongenough only to reveal the one thing that does – Maybelline SuperStay 14 long lasting lipstick. The campaign saw some really cheeky responses from men and women. By getting them to look into their lives and come up with quirky answers instead of talking about a product, it went viral easily and became the #1 trending topic in India on the day of the campaign.
Creating Personalized Experiences
Sure you want to see more and more people be a part of your campaign but it’s important to remember that at the end it boils down to the experience. The key is to think broadly and yet create personalized experiences. Each participant in the campaign must feel like it was an experience for him and not like he is one of many. A Bausch and Lomb ‘Before and After Campaign’ let people post pictures of themselves with glasses (before) and without them (after) to see the difference that contact lenses would make in their appearance. All those who participated in the campaign saw something that would bring about a real difference in their personal lives making this an award winning campaign.
Finding the Right Fit
Is your campaign based on an insight? Does it solve a problem or appeal to an aspiration they share? Instead of trying to fit them into your campaign, design your campaign around their lives. When Euro RSCG Australia decided to change their name to Havas World, they wanted the change to reach out to more than just the company and its stakeholders. To extend the change in to daily lives of people, the agency started a ‘pay with a smile campaign’ based on the insight that 97% people in Australia hate the early morning travel to work. Free cookies were handed out in return making for a cheerful start to the day. This was one campaign by another agency that I really liked and thought to be effective.
Where and When
Does the campaign meet them at the right place and time? Or does it interfere with a busy day when they’re looking to get back home? The best campaigns are those that come at an opportune time when they have a ‘this is just what I needed’ effect. Another campaign by a different agency was the 7Up ‘Melting Machine’ where a frozen vending machine was set up on the streets of Argentina one hot summer offering a much needed break to people who were not already vacationing in cooler climes. The integrated twitter campaign asking people to tweet the exact time the entire vending machine would melt and disappear only worked because it was happening during the summer vacations when everyone has some time to spare.
Will it Pass The Share Test?
Great brand experience is something we tell someone else about. A great brand experience is a story, in which the user – not the brand – is the hero. It is something worth sharing, writing about – or at least texting a friend, sharing it on a social media platform, telling someone about it, anyone. Your campaign must create an experience that people will remember and pass on. If it’s not worth remembering it’s probably not worth doing.
Authored by: Ankur Kalra, Founder & CEO of Vibgyor