An experience, as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation.” Experiences are what create memories and lasting impressions for people. They give us a better understanding of what we come into contact with, which is why experiential marketing is such a powerful way to make consumers familiar with a brand.
But what exactly is experiential marketing?
It’s a type of marketing that allows people to encounter a brand. It can be touched or viewed in a physical space, and it tries to engage as many of the human senses as possible. Companies use experiential marketing to give their brands a tangible presence in their consumer’s lives and to get people participating. It helps consumers “experience” a brand—hence the name. Marketers aim to generate positive emotions for consumers through the experience, which they will then hopefully associate with the brand in the future.
One example of a successful experiential marketing event is the sleepover that IKEA hosted in their Essex store in the UK. They hosted the sleepover in response to a Facebook group and had manicures, massages, a reality TV star read bedtime stories, and a sleep expert give advice on choosing a new mattress. This event generated a lot of buzz and a sense of fun for not only the sleepover participants, but also the people who heard about the event. This “experience” was successful because it was able to associate a positive feeling with the IKEA brand.
Experiential marketing strategies can be as small scale as sampling products at a festival or as large scale as huge pop-up events and guerilla marketing. At the Regan Group, we have an understanding on how to generate successful experiential marketing events, both big and small.
Last November, for instance, TRG was tasked with promoting Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas, a series of holiday-focused movies that air from the end of October through the end of December. We partnered with iDEKO and Crown Media and set the Guinness World Record for the largest display of illuminated Christmas trees. The display featured 559 Christmas trees configured in a 4,000 square foot long maze in the heart of Herald Square. Actress Candace Cameron Bure kicked off the two-day event with a grand tree lighting ceremony and fans came to walk the maze. After the event, the network gave away the trees and the multi-colored lights to Girls’ and Boys’ Club families.
Through experiential marketing, we were able to create an event full of feel-good Christmas cheer, which is what the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas aims to embody while preparing for the holiday season. Associating these feelings with the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas made the event a success and we were able to help families make their holiday a little brighter through donations. It created lots of buzz on social media and attention from blogs and TV stations…and we didn’t mind helping the Hallmark Channel set a Guinness World Record in the process. There’s even have a video to prove it!
Why not use experiential marketing for your brand? Find out more about how it can help your brand.