Experiential marketing, also referred to as activation, is about forging an exciting, relevant and meaningful relationship between a brand and its consumers across a multitude of touchpoints that involve and engage the five senses.
The beauty of activations is that they are flexible, allowing for creative and execution that is as conservative or as edgy as the client desires. They can be applied to any product, brand or service from telecoms and IT to courier and make-up. Activations can also be implemented in a number of environments from retail to schools through to airports.
The beneficial factors of experiential marketing are many.
Through first hand experience of a product, this type of marketing allows the perception of a brand to be enforced or challenged, allowing consumers to not only learn more about the product but to also understand it, in so doing stimulating the buying process.
These consumer experiences offer an element that traditional media cannot compete with and that’s the human touch. Activations allow consumers to engage with a product through touch, smell, sight, in some instances taste and sound, and overall experience.
Another factor is trust, an emotion that is dependent on experience – by allowing people to forge a relationship with a brand; the feel-good factor that drives a purchase kicks in. Consumers like to feel justified in making a purchase and post purchase dissonance gets lowered due to the fact that a product gets personalised.
Consumer lifestyles are changing, leaving less time to assimilate messaging from traditional media. People sift through information and if something is not relevant or engaging they’ll move their attention elsewhere. Experiential marketing can’t be tuned out.
Activations encourage purchases and close the deal.
Reap what you sow
If correctly aligned to brand ideology and communication and if the consumer experience is compelling and consistent, activations reap big business results. Over the past ten years experiential marketing has evolved from being a sporadically used tactic to a highly developed tool that is a core staple in a company’s overall marketing strategy. Experiential marketing has proven its worth in achieving measurable objectives and is no longer viewed as a gimmick or a stunt.
The roll out of an experiential marketing campaign is not for the faint hearted. The process involves environment know-how, faultless organisation, fine attention to detail and rigorous management. Execution of a message is everything and it’s best to use a media company that has the creative know-how, the production capacity and the environmental resources required for a seamless activation campaign.
Charisse White is product manager: activation at ProVantage, which offers dedicated turnkey activation service that customises campaigns for each brand objective.