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How Experiential Marketing Can Help Rebrand Your Image

Experiential Marketing

It’s true that almost every generation in modern times experiences the world in different ways from its predecessor. Whether it’s due to how global events shape our lives or the rapid development of technology, the world we’re born into is never the same as the one we leave. 

Companies that can effectively rebrand their image and adapt to changing times are often the ones that transcend the forward-movement of time. 

As Millennials and Get Zers dominate the consumer market, “experiences” over “legacy” is what drives them to open their wallets and spend. 

Take a look at these brands who are harnessing the ever-changing experiential landscape, and turning their businesses into enduring powerhouses.

The Age of Experience

In a 2018 study by Expedia and the Center for Generational Kinetics, 74% of Americans surveyed said they prioritize “experiences” over products and “things.” According to the report, “Baby Boomers are entering a stage where ‘less is more,’ while younger generations, particularly Millennials, are leading the charge in placing a newfound value on experiences, more than things.”

In this “experience economy” it’s all about sharing moments with family, friends, and the public at large across social media. What was once thought to be a trend, now dominates our lives online and influences our actions IRL. Last year, the Pew Research Center found that “seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information, and entertain themselves.”

With these rapid (and sustaining) shifts in tastes and attitudes, brands have recognized that in order to have staying power and drive the cultural conversation it’s crucial to adapt to changing times and consumer appetites. 

Innovative experiential marketing can successfully both define and redefine your brand’s image as the “experience economy” continues to evolve.

12 years ago, Airbnb revolutionized the hospitality industry, essentially giving anyone the opportunity to be the next Conrad Hilton. But, fast-forward to 2020 and the home-sharing industry is flooded with alternatives like, VRBO, Flipkey, and Homestay. Even major hotel companies, like Marriott International’s Homes and Villas have launched their own home-sharing businesses. 

But, Airbnb is still just as popular and still synonymous with “home-sharing” as it was over a decade ago. Even with a net loss of $322 million between January and September of last year, the company’s revenue increased to $1.65 billion in the third-quarter of that same year. So, how were they able to (more or less) successfully adapt to an ever-increasingly competitive field?

Through an eventual partnership with Facebook back in 2016, Airbnb launched “experiences” to go-along with their home-sharing options for travelers. Celebrating its launch, six different “Airbnb Experiences” in Cape Town, Paris, L.A., Miami, Seoul, and Tokyo were broadcast on Facebook Live.

Airbnb hoped this creative marketing strategy would inspire viewers to book their own trips though the company and add-on their own unique experience. 

“As Airbnb launches a range of products that enables unique experiences around the world, it’s important that we lead change and reinvent the way we approach experiential marketing,” Aibnb’s Chief Marketing Officer Jonathan Mildenhall said at the time. “We are creating unique experiences that are lived by a few, shared by millions and encourage participation from around the globe.”

And, it looks like Airbnb’s gamble’s paying off. With over 30,000 trips booked in 2019, “Airbnb Experiences” saw a massive 295% growth as more and more travelers are redefining how they see the world through Airbnb’s ingenious rebranding strategy.

Make Your Brand Fashion-Forward

There may be no industry that adapts as continuously as the fashion industry, often leading the charge when it comes to how the rest of society evolves culturally. 

Founded in 1993, by Prada’s Miuccia Prada, Miu Miu was affectionately known as the “little sister” to Italian fashion giant Prada. But, in recent years the label has catapulted into the major leagues of Europe’s fashion scene, while still keeping its independent roots firmly planted. 

Yet, with that new prestige came the need to refresh their image. In 2018, Miu Miu unveiled a new logo at that year’s Paris Fashion Week. But, in keeping with their identity, described as “raw elegance with a youthful, maverick, and carefree soul,” Miu Miu wanted to take their rebranded logo directly to the masses. 

Last spring, featuring a branded truck showcasing their new logo parked in front of their flagship store in SoHo, Miu Miu turned heads and turned up the heat on a brisk March day to roll-out their new look. 

Handing out cups of hot chocolate with marshmallows (both branded with their new label, of course), Miu Miu engaged consumers face-to-face, by providing a meaningful experience that stayed true to their “independent and unconventional spirit.”

 

Turn Your Brand Into a Destination

If you think about it, the savviest of brands generally don’t limit their identities to one specific theme, understanding that evolving is an integral part of not only staying relevant, but staying in business. 

You can do a cursory Google search and easily find Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald’s thoughts on how he views the yoga behemoth.

“We view Lululemon as an experiential brand versus a lifestyle brand. We are going to test and learn,” he told CNBC in 2019. 

Recognizing that the “yoga” industry (online and in-store) is rife with both luxury and more affordable options in an market valued at an annual $16.8 billion globally (including, classes, clothing, equipment, and accessories), Lululemon has rebranded their image through curated experiential events. 

With brick-and-mortar stores featuring yoga studios, meditation spaces, and space for community gatherings, Lululemon hosts 4,000 events worldwide each year in an effort to immerse their target audience in the brand’s three “experience elements” of “Sweat, Growth, and Connection.”

By creating a more personalized connection between “brand” and “consumer,” Lululemon hopes that as their experiences evolve, their customers will evolve with them. By 2023, Lululemon estimates that 10% of their entire product fleet will be considered “experiential,” including yoga retreats, running clubs, and 5k marathons. 

Rebrand Your Image with Experiential Marketing

You don’t need to be a Fortune 500 company in order to rebrand your image in a successful way that resonates with consumers and strengthens brand loyalty. It’s really as simple as creating experiences your target audience will love and experiential marketing hits all the right notes. 

Times have and always will change, and the same goes with how we want to experience the world because material goods come and go, but experiences become memories that last a lifetime.

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Five Experiential Marketing Ideas for Back-To-School Season

Experiential Marketing

It’s back-to-school season for children across the U.S. and that means brands can capture a multi-billion dollar annual event. Take a look at these effective and engaging experiential marketing ideas that are perfect for parents willing to spend and kids hoping they’ll be “the best in class.”

While many kids are already back in school, the end of Labor Day means the start of the new school year for millions more across the U.S. 

With dramatic changes to the back-to-school routine as a result of COVID-19, brands are looking at creative ways to reach and connect with parents who still have a laundry list of school supplies, clothes, accessories, and electronics to purchase.

How can they capitalize on the second biggest shopping season of the year with a brand strategy that attracts and retains consumers? 

Take a look at these five experiential marketing ideas perfectly designed to sell more products, increase foot traffic, and leave lasting impressions right before the bell rings. 

Back to School Experiential Marketing

Pop-Ups Target Parents Where They Are

Busy parents generally have “go-to stores” when shopping for their children’s back-to-school supplies. Maybe they found a fabulous deal the previous year. Or, perhaps a particular retailer has that “must-have” item their child has been begging for all summer long. 

Either way, there’s a short-window between parents receiving back-to-school supply lists from teachers and the amount of time they have to shop and get their kids ready for “the first day.” 

That’s why pop-up shops are the perfect platform to reach parents who are short-on-time and aren’t methodically browsing for back-to-school necessities. These temporary retail spaces are popular, mobile, budget-friendly and work well for both brick-and-mortar brands that can tap into new markets and online retailers that can showcase their products to consumers, up-close and in-person. 

Last August, Aerie (owned by American clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters) visited college campuses across the U.S. for their “Aerie Pop-In Tour.” Featuring the brand’s latest fashion and accessory collections, Aerie also generated buzz with students through contests and giveaways, exclusive discounts, and interactive activities. 

Aerie Pop In Tour

Exclusive Contests and Giveaways Entice Budget-Conscious Parents

It’s no secret that back-to-school shopping is expensive. In 2020, households are spending an average of nearly $800, an increase of over $300 since 2004. With that, nearly every parent is always on the lookout for deals and giveaways. 

Along with the excitement free giveaways and contests bring to experiential marketing campaigns, brands are more likely to get parents browsing the rest of what they have to offer, increasing the likelihood they’ll open up their wallets and spend. 

From exclusive gifts with a purchase, gift card giveaways, or contests with winners receiving high-dollar value prize packages, the options are seemingly endless on how brands can get parents online and/or in-store to make them part of their back-to-school shopping routine.

Product Demos Create Multi-Sensory Experiences

Why “talk the talk,” when you can “walk the walk”? When you can show consumers how your brand’s products can integrate into their back-to-school routine, they’re able to see it in-action and see it’s value and benefits. 

With product demonstrations, you’re executing a three-pronged approach of showcasing your product, answering questions on-the-spot, and highlighting why your brand is superior to competitors. 

Just in time for caffeine-deprived college students returning to campus after their winter breaks, Nespresso launched a nationwide, six-week, promotion for their “Nordic Limited Edition” line of specialty coffee. With stops in New York City, L.A., and Miami, the specialty coffee retailer used a mobile showroom to show off their new product line and premium coffee and espresso machines, as well as offering complimentary cups of both hot and iced coffees.

With experienced brand ambassadors demonstrating how to brew a delicious cup of Nespresso coffee, along with treating curious onlookers to free samples, consumers’ senses were activated with the unmistakable taste and aroma of a perfect morning cup of coffee.  

With field marketers demonstrating how to make a delicious and luxurious cup of coffee, customers were not only treated to free samples, but were allowed to immerse themselves in the “Nespresso experience,” influencing higher sales and highlighting the brand in one fell swoop.  

Create Exclusivity With In-Store Events

While the impact of coronavirus has limited face-to-face contact in large groups, there are brands responsibly hosting exclusive, in-store events bringing parents and their children together in a traditional experiential marketing environment designed to attract attention. 

With exclusive discounts and incentives for attendees only, in-store events drive traffic from consumers who don’t want to miss out. This past July, WalMart launched “STEAM Day of Play” at participating stores around the U.S., to engage children with activities centered around science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics. 

From learning how to tie-dye, create “slime,” and craft a cereal necklace, WalMart gave cooped-up children and parents the opportunity to safely have fun and exercise their minds.

Give Your Event Star-Power

Teaming up with a celebrity or social media influencer is a strategic way to enhance interest for your event. By partnering with a well-known personality who aligns with your brand’s message and identity, you can not only capture your own fans, but theirs as well.  

Last fall, Quaker Chewy wanted to help kids in NYC get geared-up for the new school year with their nutritious granola bars. In partnership with AdoptAClassroom.org, and some added star-power from actor Neil Patrick Harris, a branded Quaker Chewy food truck gave away over 500 boxes of the popular snack bars with NPH serving fans and passersby himself

When a celebrity or influencer promotes your product, you have the ability to reach a wider audience and drive more traffic to your brand.

Get Noticed During the Back-to-School Shopping Season

This year’s back-to-school spending is expected to reach over $33 billion dollars in the U.S. and it’s easier than you think for your brand to capture a slice of the market. Aside from being a great way to connect with your target audience, there are numerous opportunities that are creative and memorable that can produce unforgettable experiences, just in time for the start of the new school year.

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Trust and Influence: The Power of the Brand Ambassador

Experiential Marketing

Want to build trust and gain influence with consumers that translates into sales and widening your audience. Take a look at why brand ambassadors can help leverage your reach and set your brand up for success. 

It goes without saying that the best way to experience a brand is to engage with it on a personal level and experiential marketing is uniquely designed to create genuine interactions and meaningful moments for consumers. And, brand ambassadors are the human engines that drive the conversations that make those moments possible. 

While they’re the ones on the front lines, the role of a brand ambassador is much more complex. From conveying brand messaging, to creating a direct channel for consumer feedback, and building trust and transparency in real-time, brand ambassadors play a vital role in setting up a brand for success. 

By giving your brand a boost on social media, spreading positive messages about who you are, influencing sales, and more, find out more about who brand ambassadors are, what they do, and how they can help your next experiential marketing campaign. 

Ralph Lauren Brand Ambassador

THE BRAND AMBASSADOR NEXT DOOR

There are two types of brand ambassadors. In the age of social media, “influencers” on Instagram and YouTube have become just as (if not) more recognizable than “traditional celebrities” (i.e. actors, recording artists, athletes, etc…), with their millions or tens of millions of followers, who are active and engaged on a variety of different platforms. 

More simply though, brand ambassadors are anyone hired by a company to represent their brand positively and help market to a new audience, and increase brand awareness and sales. In recent years, brands have leveraged their own employees to become effective brand ambassadors. 

Perhaps there’s no one better to showcase who you are and what you represent than those already working for you. Employees have the best insights into your brand’s culture, essence, products, services, and beyond. 

Twitter Brand Ambassador

And, their effectiveness is notable. In a 2017 survey by earned content platform Olapic, “76% of consumers believe the content that average people share is more honest than advertising from brands.” 

“That should serve as a wake-up call for brands to start exploring the use of authentic content in ads and marketing to build trust and create a more meaningful dialogue with their customers,” said Olapic co-founder Pau Sabria in an interview with Adweek

 

Finding the Right Brand Ambassador

In order to find the right brand ambassador for either your brand and/or your experiential marketing campaign, you first need to determine your objective. Is it your goal to increase social media traffic? Boost sales? Expand your target audience?

Your employees in your sales, marketing, communications, or HR departments can each serve as effective brand ambassadors in their own right, targeting a niche objective that aligns with your goals. 

But, regardless of whom you choose, make sure your brand ambassador has a vibrant network consisting of people outside your organization. Employees in sales, marketing, and management can be a great place to begin your search that’ll help maximize the most optimal bottom-line results for your brand.      

 

The Value of Brand Ambassadors

So, why should your company staff a brand ambassador instead of outsourcing the work to an outside personality? 

The more trust you earn with consumers, the more likely you are to earn their respect (and their business). And, that’s where brand ambassadors come in. The personal relationship they already have as employees of your brand can be leveraged into influencing their own networks and your consumers. That built-in connection will always be stronger than hiring a “celebrity” who’s foremost priority is getting paid. 

When your brand hosts events and activations led by your own team who are enthusiastic and engaged, that creates the perception of authenticity, which translates into credibility with consumers.

Think about it this way. Would you believe a “real person” who recommends a product or service over a paid celebrity or influencer? Having a brand ambassador dedicated to your business allows you to optimize your goals in order to translate them into success. 

 

Build Trust and Gain Influence with Brand Ambassadors

Brand ambassadors are crucial to brands’ success in 2020. As more and more consumers crave genuineness when making purchasing decisions, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year on campaigns to project exactly that. The irony is your brand already possesses the capability to promote trustworthiness with those who come to work for you each and every day.    

When you understand what brand ambassadors do, how to find the right one for your business, and why they’re so valuable, you can develop an effective experiential marketing campaign that enhances your brand reputation and turns real feelings as to who you are and what you do into real results.

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More Than “Points:” Driving Emotional Connections With Loyalty Marketing

Experiential Marketing

Consumers’ expectations are higher than ever before. Not only do they want brands to convince them why their products and services are better than the rest, they also want exciting rewards and incentives in exchange for giving them their business. 

In order to reach new customers and retain existing ones, brands are implementing exciting and engaging loyalty marketing strategies. 

Loyalty marketing can be much more than simply creating a “points” system. Check out these brands that are giving loyalty marketing the “experiential” touch.

Loyalty Marketing

Sephora Gives Loyalty Marketing a Makeover

When it launched in 2007, Sephora’s “Beauty Insider” program was initially designed to reward “Insiders” with a selection of free product samples. 13 years ago, this was a first-of-its-kind strategy, giving customers access to high-end, luxury products and brands they normally would not have been aware of, or able to afford. 

Two years after “Beauty Insider” came “Very Important Beauty Insider,” for customers spending more than $350 per year at Sephora. With additional rewards, Sephora created an incentive for a higher level of engagement.  

Then, in 2013 came “Rogue Insider,” created for Sephora’s highest spenders ($1,000 or more annually). “Rogue Insiders” are given exclusive, first-access to new and limited-edition products. 

Sephora’s loyalty marketing is more than “free samples.” What separates Sephora has been its ability to tap into the emotional drivers that create “brand loyalty.”

In 2017, Sephora introduced its “Beauty Insider Community,” giving customers a real-time social forum to ask questions, find inspiration, and get to know fellow beauty-lovers just like themselves. 

And, the “Beauty Insider” program continues to evolve experientially, with rewards focused on creating memorable experiences, from a tour of and tasting at Francis Ford Coppola’s Winery in Sonoma County and a signed copy of “The Rihanna Book” by the songstress herself along with a curated collection of her favorite “Fenty Beauty” products, to a host of virtual events this year in partnership with Instagram and its annual birthday gift for all “Insiders” (a perennial fan favorite). 

Today, Sephora’s “Beauty Insider” boasts 25 million members worldwide and growing, thanks to the emotional bond they share with their customers along their beauty journey. 

 

Nike’s Inclusive/Exclusive Community

In 2018, Nike revamped their “NikePlus Membership” in an effort to turn casual Nike customers into loyal members (and bigger spenders). Their loyalty marketing strategy was simple; “the more active you are, the more you’re rewarded. 

Their “NikePlus Unlocks” perks included access to Apple Music, Headspace (a guided meditation app), and ClassPass (a fitness class app). With Apple Music, generally costing $9.99 per month for a subscription, members are given the ability to set and reach personal fitness goals or purchase “exclusive Nike products” in order to unlock free Apple Music playlists or months of free streaming.

Along with having the chance to enhance your fitness routine and interact with like-minded community members, “NikePlus Unlocks” is personalized to individual members’ tastes.

Whether it’s a member’s birthday (offering product discounts throughout the entire month), receiving a “tailored-to-you” gift when you make a purchase, or exclusive VIP experiences (like, courtside seats to your favorite NBA team’s home games), “NikePlus Unlocks” is intuitive. The more you visit Nike.com, and/or its other apps, the more personalized it becomes to your interests.  

Ultimately, the goal of “NikePlus Unlocks” is to create a made-for-you experience that combines both digital and physical interactions with the Nike brand. 

 

Kohl’s Creates the “Hollywood Experience”

Kohl’s may not be the first brand that comes to mind when you think of luxury experiences, but the retail department store may have one of the most head-turning loyalty marketing programs for its customers with their “Yes2You” program. 

While its “points program” and “dollar rewards”, along with birthday gifts and special incentives to earn points faster are popular, Kohl’s wants their everyday customers to feel extra special with one-of-a-kind rewards, like tickets to Hollywood movie premieres and live events (including their recent health and wellness-themed “Motivation Market,” featuring “The Biggest Loser” celebrity trainer Bob Harper). 

In 2016, 10 “Yes2You” members (and a guest) were surprised with the ultimate VIP experience at that year’s American Music Awards. Each winner received a makeover by a celebrity stylist, walking the red carpet at the AMAs, VIP seats at the show, and tickets to a VIP after party.

Kohl's Yes2You Program

With nearly 10 million viewers watching the AMAs that year, Kohl’s was able to capitalize on the once-in-a-lifetime experience it offered their customers. Today, there are over 40 million “Yes2You” members and Kohl’s has continued to expand their loyalty marketing program with personalized makeovers as well as selecting members as models for Kohl’s fashion shoots. 

 

Make Lasting Connection with Creative Loyalty Marketing 

Experiential marketing and loyalty marketing go hand-in-hand. It’s all about making impressions that stick in customers’ minds, keeping them coming back to your brand time and again. 

But, you don’t need to think big in order to make an impact. It’s all about what makes the most sense for your brand, your target audience, and your budget. The goal of luxury marketing is the bond it cements between your brand and your customers. 

So, whether you want to go big or go smaller, what matters is giving customers an experience they’ll want to tell their friends and family about or post on social media, giving your brand to chance to reach new fans and make lasting connections with the ones you already have.

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Field Marketing Tips to Make Your Product Launch a Success

Tips

With tech dominating our everyday interactions, engaging with customers face-to-face is still at the heart of a winning marketing strategy. Check out these tips on how the right field marketing strategy can work for you and your brand. 

In an age where seemingly everything is available online and at the click of a button, (surprisingly) we still spend a large part of our time interacting with real people, IRL. 

As long as that remains true, there will always be an opportunity for field marketers to influence consumer trends and how customers interact with brands and experiences, up-close-and-personal. 

If you want to take your next campaign or activation to the next level, find out how field marketing can help reach your target audience and make your product launch a success. 

Uber Eats IPO Field Marketing Campaign

What is Field Marketing?

If you’re in sales or marketing, you’ve probably heard the words “field marketing” thrown around. But, what does that exactly mean and do you really know what field marketing is and its benefits when it comes to helping your business or brand?

In simplest terms, field marketing is when companies bring their products directly to consumers. From public events to retail location, college campuses, etc… field marketers implement initiatives that can include live demos, direct sales, and promotions. 

And, field marketing and experiential marketing go hand-in-hand. According to Lynda Edge, chief executive of U.K. field marketing company Headcount Worldwide, “Experiential marketing is just one of the many field-marketing disciplines – it doesn’t matter what you call it, it is still a face-to-face communication between the brand and the consumer.”

Twitter Field Marketing NYC

As with experiential marketing, executing a great field marketing strategy means successfully telling a brand’s story and bringing it to life directly to customers. What does that achieve? As Rene Ramos, vice president of field marketing/lifestyle and experiential marketing at Charles Smith Wines explained, “… If we’re consistent with our messaging and authentic to it, it will drive consumers down the funnel and we truly believe that we can ultimately create brand fans out of experiential marketing if we do it the right way.”

 

Knowledge is Power

Having that “deer in headlights” look without a clue as to what you’re selling or promoting, in front of customers looking for information, is the stuff of nightmares for even the most seasoned marketers. What’s the point of putting all that time, energy, and money into an activation or event when you don’t know the ins-and-outs of what everyone is actually there to experience?   

With a deep understanding of your product, you will automatically be able to speak with confidence and be an authority on the subject. What does this accomplish? Without having to rely on a script or pitch, you can spark a conversation with consumers, engage with them, and create a compelling reason why your product is perfect for them. 

Ralph Lauren Field Marketing

Be SMART

So, now that you know all there is to know about your product, what’s next? Well, you need an effective strategy. What are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish with your field marketing event or activation? Knowing this is just as important as knowing how to convey your message. 

The concept of SMART goals is not limited solely to marketing (experiential, field, or otherwise). Most industries apply this rule in one form or another. But, what does SMART stand for?

Specific: Your goal is detailed and meaningful

Measurable: Your goal is quantifiable to track progress/success

Achievable: Your goal is realistic

Relevant: Your goal is aligned with your brand’s mission/essence

Time-bound: Your goal has a deadline

If you’re developing a marketing strategy that has a great vision, but lacks concrete marketing objectives, your field marketing team will struggle, be unprepared, and ultimately fail. Having a straightforward plan allows your vision the opportunity to thrive once it’s activated on the field. 

 

After The Party

Now that your team of experts has successfully executed your SMART goals you’re done, right? Wrong. 

Just because the party’s over doesn’t mean your work is finished. It may have felt like a success, but was it really? Were your SMART goals achieved? Measure your results using data analytics like KPIs (key performance indicators), CTR (click-through rate) or unique visits to your website in the coming days, weeks, and beyond. They can all provide valuable insight into your field marketing strategy, what worked, what didn’t and take any action needed. Because, evaluating the data is only as useful as what you do with it. 

Plus, there’s money to be made when your field marketing strategy is a success. Research conducted by the Event Marketing Institute found that 74% of event attendees surveyed said they had a more positive opinion about a brand and 98% said they felt more inclined to make a purchase after attending an event.

Hit the Streets with Solid Field Marketing

One of the oldest (and most reliable) forms of marketing (remember that door-to-door Mary Kay salesperson?), field marketing is a tried and true strategy to taking your brand out of the boardroom and to the people. 

In an age where the consumer market is more competitive than ever, putting a face to your brand with a knowledgeable field marketing team, who truly understands your brand’s goals, and knows how to drive data in the right direction is one of the most important drivers when it comes to any successful experiential marketing strategy.  

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