Without experimentation or risk, there would be no progression, and ad tech is an industry driven by its ability to innovate. As the proliferation of new technologies expands, the marketplace fuels competition between vendors, creating an atmosphere where staying ahead of the curve now means taking an experiential approach.
Even large companies cannot afford to rest on their laurels; they must continually innovate to stay at the top of their game. Tech giants, such as Google, are constantly breaking new ground to maintain their market-leading position. Last year, the company adorned the streets of London with more than 100 out-of-home screens that presented real-time, local information to promote its voice-controlled search app. And Google is not alone.
Mercedes-Benz recently launched the first ‘build your own’ automobile campaign on Instagram, enabling users to construct their own personalised GLA model in seconds. Ikea tipped an apartment sideways to create a nine-metre-high climbing wall in celebration of opening its 30th store in France. Creative advertising is everywhere and an innovative approach is fast becoming essential for brands to avoid slipping into obscurity and to create experiential experiences.
So, how can brands create memorable, engaging campaigns that cut through the noise? Here are five tips for marketers looking to make an impact.
Define objectives for better measurement
Although creativity is at the core of experiential marketing, planning is still crucial. Without a clear idea of what they are trying to achieve, brands cannot accurately judge impact. This is especially important for unorthodox campaigns where standard advertising metrics — such as click-through rates and conversions — may not apply.
Defining specific goals provides direction that drives campaigns forward and maximises the use of resources. For example, who is the target audience? Is the campaign intended to expand the customer base or increase brand awareness? Answering key questions will not only lead to better execution; it will also enable brands to better measure success.
Keep agency communication flowing
The value of a strong and transparent brief cannot be underestimated. It is the blueprint that informs the way in which agencies implement campaigns. With experiential marketing, the brand vision can differ greatly from that of the agency, making precision and open communication vital to ensure the brand’s expectations are fulfilled.
As experts in their field, advertising agencies have vast stores of experience and knowledge that can often be overlooked. Working closely with an agency throughout a campaign gives brands access to expertise that can enhance performance. By using insight, agencies can uncover hidden opportunities, such as new channels and audiences that will increase the reach of the campaign.
Don’t forget the consumer experience
In a bid to create innovative campaigns, the initial objective of attracting consumer attention can become overshadowed. It is essential for brands to maintain focus on crafting a positive experience that appeals to their target audience.
For example, a campaign featuring barbecue products is unlikely to be effective in winter, whereas discounts on related products after a holiday booking – such as suitcases – have a greater chance of success. Great experiential marketing can only be achieved with the right combination of inspired concept and consumer relevance.
Remain focused on the end goal
Experiential campaigns can be artistic, but they should never be confused with art. Brands must not lose sight of what their campaign is — advertising. Unusual campaigns that generate an unexpectedly large response still have the potential to fail if the focus has been lost.
To master the experiential, brands need to remain connected to their end goal. Each decision should be made with ROI in mind, from the channels on which the campaign is active to the audience it is served to.
Defy convention to engage the audience
Forward momentum cannot be achieved without an element of risk. Campaigns that delight the consumer do not stay within the boundaries of conventional advertising; they break the rules. To ensure their voice is heard, brands must go beyond the ordinary.
Consumers respond to campaigns that invoke an emotional response. Campaigns that offer consumers something unexpected, such as creating an edible garden to launch a cake-related book, can boost engagement and effectiveness tenfold.
With 96% of consumers more likely to purchase a product after attending a branded live event, the power of experiential advertising can no longer be ignored. To stand a chance in the battle for consumer attention, brands must step out of their comfort zone and embrace the extraordinary. Through careful planning, agency collaboration and a focused, consumer-orientated approach, brands can mitigate the risks to produce something truly original and impactful.