We’ve heard it again and again – storytelling is key for your brand’s marketing strategy. However, with all the forms of media at our fingertips, it can be difficult to cut through the noise.
From the days of the brilliant ad men in the 1960s to today’s revolutionary social media channels, there is one thing that still remains: your brand needs to make an emotional connection with its audience.
The best way to make that connection? Brand experiences through targeted experiential marketing.
How To Launch an Experiential Marketing Event
There are many components to an experiential marketing campaign, from planning to execution and then ensuring you made the most of your results. Often, brands hesitate to launch an event due to the many details that need to be juggled to kick off a great brand experience. Hiring an experiential marketing agency can manage those pieces for you but, it’s important to understand the entire process.
Once you begin engaging with partners on the idea of your brand experience, the first question you’ll be asked is “what’s the budget?” – after all, it can be difficult to plan the size and scope of all the teams involved if you don’t have numbers in front of you. Determine budget first and foremost – this way you won’t waste any time in the planning process – and be sure to add a buffer for when things don’t go your way.
Creating a plan for your event is an event within itself. It is best to gather all of your stakeholders together to not only discuss your goals for the event but also to create scenarios on what to do when things could take a different direction unexpectedly. By having everyone on the same page regarding these potentially crisis situations, it makes handling the situations much easier when they happen.
Once you have a plan in place, determine how all of the stakeholders and others involved with the event should operate in preparation for the campaign. Who is handling print materials and who is handling staffing? The chain of command could drastically change from how typical day-to-day marketing activities run, so it’s important to lay that out immediately and not the week before the event kicks off. Don’t forget to determine your “B” team that will be on call when your core group isn’t available.
This one is two-sided. You need to determine your incentives for two groups of people – your partners and your audience. Why should a partner offer resources to your event? Outline your incentives that reflect how the experience is a huge win for their own marketing efforts. For your audience, don’t put too much weight into your location or even the “cool” factor. Outline with your team the incentives for consumers to engage in the brand experience, such as a contest for free tickets, cash, big prizes, a celebrity meet and greet – whatever would hit a nerve for your target audience.
The experiential campaign should be promoted with an integrated marketing strategy. To get people talking, you need to create buzz using both traditional and digital media. Before you start pitching to influencers and the media, determine the “hook” that makes your event worthy of coverage, such as a charitable cause or celebrity appearance. If you’re hesitant on that hook, then focus your efforts on social media outreach and traditional advertising.
When you’re closing up the event and you’re able to catch your breath, it’s time to wrap-up your campaign project with a final measurement report. Based on the goals you set during the planning stage, finalize your results such as number of attendees, email captures, media coverage and social media impressions. Communicate the results to everyone on the team from your event staff to the sponsored partners so they can see how the event played out and as a thank you for their role in its success. In the final report, you can also wrap-up any final actions for those key stakeholders such as the continuation of a launch or social media initiative.
All in all, experiential marketing is a great way to turn a market of consumers into brand loyalists with a hands-on brand experience that they’ll never forget. How do you plan on adding experiential marketing to your integral marketing mix this year? Tell me in the comments below or tweet @lotus823!