Top 5 Insights From An Experiential Business

1. A top experiential marketing agency must constantly innovate

to provide clients with best-in-class service.

Experiential Marketing has become increasingly competitive; not only have many startups emerged, many established, more traditional agencies specializing in PR, media, digital, etc. have ventured into the experiential space. Brands are even bringing talent in-house to function as ‘internal agencies’. This all means more options available to brands investing in experiential initiatives.

Top experiential marketing agencies are therefore under constant pressure not only to produce increasingly creative ideas and to deliver outstanding results but to simultaneously stretch existing budget and bring down costs.

However, conceptualizing an amazing experience is less than half the equation….even more, important is having the back-end production, design, fabrication, staffing and management to supporting a successfully executed activation.

Experiential activations can be tied into live TV segments, reaching millions of consumers in real time….there is absolutely zero margin for error!

Experiential activations can be tied into live TV segments, reaching millions of consumers in real time….there is absolutely zero margin for error!

2. Experiential marketing is not something you can play-by-ear.

It takes an experienced team of storytellers to successfully engage consumers with a brand.

Delivering compelling experiences takes a lot of, well, experience. There are countless pitfalls that are easy to run into without knowing exactly what to look out for. Inclement weather, permitting issues, staffing mishaps, shipping delays or simple miscommunications throw an experiential marketing effort into chaos. Even worse, the high-profile, public nature of experiential activations can backfire should the execution fall flat, putting your brand in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

A good experiential agency will not only develop an airtight execution strategy, they will also identify potential risks, bring them to the client’s attention, work with them to minimize the potential negative impact. Furthermore, if something beyond anyone’s control goes awry, you want a team who knows the best course of action to take and why, even if that sometimes means throwing themselves under the bus to avoid negative publicity for the brand.

Brand Models, strategically deployed to reach a brand’s specific target audience, can surprise and delight consumers as they go about their day!

Brand Models, strategically deployed to reach a brand’s specific target audience, can surprise and delight consumers as they go about their day!

3. People matter the most; design experiences with empathy

People like people who are like them – this is a fundamental truth of human psychology.

Our brains are conditioned to produce an emotional response when engaged in a face-to-face interaction with another, empathetic individual. Put another way, we are far more likely to trust someone we form an instant connection with than a person with whom we had trouble establishing rapport.

Brand Models are the public face of a brand’s experiential marketing efforts. They are often the first point of in-person, human contact for consumers. Consumers’ first impression of Brand Models often endures; influencing how they perceive and ‘feel’ about the brand moving forward.

A friendly brand model engaging a fellow human in warm conversation and making a genuine connection doesn’t feel like a marketing tactic to consumers; it generates authentic emotions towards both the brand model and, by extension, the brand they represent. This sets the stage for a deeper, more meaningful relationship to develop between that consumer and brand, all build upon the foundation these positive emotions established during a brand experience.

The human element is therefore incredibly important to the overall success of an experiential program. However, far too often, experiential agencies, as well as brands, fail to realize the return generated by investing in people. In fact, staffing is among the first areas to get scaled back. Great experiential businesses understand this and go to great lengths to ensure every person stepping on-site to represent their clients is thoroughly vetted & trained.

Consumers could literally journey through the brand’s range of products, trying samples at their own pace.

Consumers could literally journey through the brand’s range of products, trying samples at their own pace.

4. Bring the experience to the Consumer!

Most people simply don’t have time to go out of their way to an event or activation…especially true for busy, successful professionals many brands are eager to reach. By engaging with consumers organically as they go about their daily lives, marketers have the opportunity for authentic engagement during a relevant time in the conversion process, without seeking to distract or otherwise divert someone’s focus.

Pop-Ups are a great way to ‘package’ an event or experience such that it can be taken to the consumers you want to reach. Strategically placing pop-ups can amplify their impact – especially when the location adds meaningful context to the experience. Best of all, if a pop-up activation produces outstanding results, they are, by design, easy to take on the road to reach consumers where they live, work and play. Marketers have been incredibly creative in how they integrate brand experiences with people’s everyday lives.

Delightful little moments with just the right timing can have amplified impact; for example, humorous brand interactions during a consumer’s morning or evening commute. A time when most of us welcome a clever distraction and are more willing to remember which brand made their morning commute that much more pleasant. This can take the form of eye-catching installations, clever implementation of outdoor media or something as simple as Brand Models handing out steaming cups of hot chocolate on a freezing Monday morning.

For the 2014 US Open, Chase delivered a custom VR experience where consumers in Madison Square Park, NYC were transported into the umpire’s chair in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

5. Embrace technology…or get left behind.

An experiential marketing agency should strive to deliver engagements that transcend the physical and digital worlds; seamlessly keeping pace with the shifting attention of their target audience. Consumers spend an enormous amount of time online and especially on social media – in fact, they have come to expect their favorite brands to not only have a digital presence but to interact with them in an authentic manner. Anything perceived to be self-promoting or ‘salesy’ gets pushed aside…the most successful brands offer immense value to consumers without asking for much, besides their attention, in return.

The times we live in are as exciting as they are dynamic…and with change comes opportunity. Human behavior is changing at a faster pace than ever before in recorded history. The volume of information and data is growing at an exponential rate – outpacing our individual ability to analyze and understand any significant portion of it. Even more eye-opening is the finding that human attention span is now a mere 8-seconds…a full second less than the average goldfish.

We find ourselves at an exciting point in history, not only because such fast-paced advances are happening before our eyes, but because an experiential agency is uniquely positioned to usher in the next wave of products, services, and inventions. Experiential marketers must not only adapt to keep pace with progress, they must think ahead to the implications of today’s innovations and how they could impact the way brands engage with consumers.

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