The Value Behind Experiential Marketing
Companies across the globe are tapping into the concept of experiential marketing in order to target the modern consumer while also boosting brand awareness. The idea is to create something that connects consumers to a brand, product, or program through interactive and engaging activations – fun, memorable experiences that in turn provide a company with long-term results.
Experiential campaigns can have impacts on all types of businesses — from e-commerce companies to banks and credit unions to food and beverage brands. They attract consumers by allowing them to become active participants in an event or program, which builds excitement, drives engagement, and positively affects bottom-line results. Whether it’s a store opening, a new product launch, or an art installation, experience-based marketing campaigns can help brands effectively reach their target audience amidst today’s digital-driven landscape.
Below, we dive into three well-executed experiential campaigns that have proven effective for companies both big and small.
B&Q Bee Pit Stops
British multinational DIY and home improvement company, B&Q, has garnered literal buzz through its most recent campaign, B&Q Bee Pit Stops. The company – known for its abundance of tools, resources, and supplies for crafty do-it-yourselfers – created a call to action for an environmental cause that they care deeply about. To raise awareness about the rapid decline in bee populations, B&Q built a beautiful bee friendly feeding spot and safe area in King’s Cross, a high-traffic area in London. This “pit stop” – a large hive-like installation teeming with pollinating plants and flowers – is not only an alluring, Instagram-worthy display for humans to visually enjoy, it’s more importantly a haven for bees to safely rest. The installation was conceived as recent research reveals over half (54%) of Brits consider themselves ‘eco-conscious’, with 85% desiring to see more bee-friendly spaces – especially in urban areas.
In addition to onsite collateral informing passers-by of the campaign’s purpose, B&Q has further emphasized their community involvement by encouraging people to build bee pit stops of their very own. This provides an opportunity for consumers to utilize B&Q’s bevy of DIY tools on their website for their own creations.
Take A Spin with Voyage Federal Credit Union
Experiential campaigns don’t always need to be large scale art projects. Depending on the size of your business and target audience reach, something small can prove just as effective. Take South Dakota-based Voyage Federal Credit Union, for example, whose 2018 “Take a Spin” campaign helped the credit union successfully promote their auto loans program. The initiative drove traffic to Voyage’s website where, following auto loan registration, customers would receive a free spin on the credit union’s colorful, digital prize wheel. The wheel was packed with varying prizes ranging from $5-$100 Visa gift cards, oil changes, and more, and every entrant was guaranteed to win. Running for a 30-day period, the campaign was extremely successful, with Voyage experiencing a $2.8 million volume increase following the promotion’s completion. This simple, interactive initiative was highly effective because it made the process of receiving a new vehicle loan more exciting and fun for consumers.
State Farm Neighborhood of Good
The “Neighborhood of Good” initiative from insurance company StateFarm first took off in Summer 2018, during the season of high-profile music festivals. Setting up stations at festivals such as New York’s Governors Ball, Tennessee’s Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza in Chicago, the initiative allowed festival attendees to take breaks between performances and participate in quick and easy volunteer activities that would benefit hundreds of thousands of American families. Activities ranged from assembling ukuleles and writing inspirational notes to packaging meal kits, and over 24,000 “acts of good” were completed by over 28,000 volunteering attendees. The interactive campaign created a way to bring together a community in support of others, all while driving engagement from a target group who otherwise might never have known about – or expressed interest in – the brand.
What’s the Secret?
So what’s the real benefit here? How will this type of campaign truly make a lasting impact? The secret to a successful experiential campaign is to create tangible takeaways that continue the conversation long after the experience ends. It can be as simple as providing branded merchandise or attaching a unique hashtag to the campaign, which encourages consumers to get more involved through a brand’s social media pages.
For B&Q, they kept their bee campaign alive by incentivizing social media sharing. Consumers are given the chance to win £50 B&Q gift cards – in honor of their 50th anniversary – when they make their own bee pit stop, snap a photo, and share the results with B&Q on social media. The ongoing initiative continues to raise brand awareness and social presence by involving the surrounding community in support of an important issue. And by encouraging the community to create their own DIY projects for prizes, they are driving sales to B&Q’s own website for the purchase of bee pit stop supplies.
Experiential events don’t always have to be flashy and over-the-top to be memorable. They of course can be unique and fun, but most importantly should have a strong purpose built on a firm understanding of how to best resonate with target audiences. The experiences should provide people with a sense of delight, while also allowing the opportunity for brands to reach new audiences — ones that might not have connected with the company otherwise.
Written and published in conjunction with guest copywriter Emily Urba