What is experiential marketing? It is immersing someone in a brand in order to educate, engage and persuade them. It goes beyond a commercial showing the benefits of a product or service, beyond an eye catching billboard and beyond a Tweet or Instagram post. It is a branch of marketing that is on the rise in today’s world.
You participate in experiential marketing every day. When you drive a car, use your phone, buy takeout for dinner and much more, you make a conscious decision to engage. This form of marketing has been around for decades, but has broken new ground in recent years with the rise of augmented and virtual reality technology. Imagine being able to wear augmented reality goggles to decorate your new house before making any purchases?
This world of marketing has been revolutionized by the need for brands to improve their strategies for reaching consumers in new ways. Allowing people to experience something for themselves evokes a stronger emotional reaction and leads to better long term memory of a product than a television or social media advertisement. Here are a few case studies to show how some brands you know have joined the world of experiential themselves.
- Volkswagen – The Piano Staircase
This major car company took their own product and threw it out the window when it came to this experiential idea. They created a set of piano stairs at a subway station that played actual music. This tactic revealed people were 66% more likely to take stairs than the nearby escalator. Consumers are driven by the fun-factor even when it doesn’t relate the brand directly. This campaign was not done to sell cars, but to increase the positive perception of the Volkswagen brand.
- Gilmore Girls – Luke’s Diner Pop Ups
The mega-hit Gilmore Girls blasted back onto the small screen after a 9-year break. HBO decided to promote the show’s return by re-creating one of the main locations in the show, Luke’s Diner! Across the United States, 200 locations opened to the public for one day. This campaign combined nostalgia and food to reach an audience that had patiently waited almost a decade to see their favorite characters on T.V. again.
- JetBlue – The Ultimate Ice Breaker
In a creative effort to promote their new direct flights from New York to Palm Springs, JetBlue placed a 6 by 6 foot sized ice block in the middle of the city. The block held summer accessories and even free tickets to Palm Springs. People were instructed to use whatever they had on their person to claim their prizes! JetBlue created a game out of this experience and left a lasting impression on those who participated or saw it unfold on social media.
Experiential marketing is only going to get more exciting and whether you are working towards a career in strategic communications or not, see if you can spot this form of marketing yourself. It’s all around you!
Cade is a junior Journalism – Strategic Communication major and the Scripps PRSSA 2018-2019 VP of PR. You can connect with him on Twitter @cade_fleming