"Daddy; please read me a long copy advert before bedtime,"….. asked no child ever. That’s because children want a story; stories that allow them to relate, stories that make sense, clarify their confused world and elicit an emotion. The big bad wolf is scary, Cinderella has a rags-to-riches happy ending and the bears in Goldilocks are greedy.
The marketing bubble used to refer to this as the not-so-creatively-named 'Story-telling' concept. It was all the rage a few years ago and there are a lot of agencies out there who still sell this concept as the latest trend. But a really good communications agency understands that story-telling by itself is not the destination – it is the vehicle. The real destination is the arousal of emotions in consumers.
Just like the aforementioned children, consumers want to relate to a brand, to get a sense that they will be looked after and that there is always a happy ending. It’s no secret that brands want to sell their products - and by the way, there is nothing wrong with that. We are all selling something, sometimes, and conversely we are all buying something, sometimes.
For a brand, inspiring and engaging consumer emotions are powerful tools because when engaged properly, emotions will turn non-users into users, light users into heavy users, heavy users into brand advocates and brand advocates will influence non-users, thereby starting the cycle all over again; and that’s even more powerful.
Emotions have to be created credibly
However, it’s not just enough to want to create emotions, it has to be done credibly, wrapped up in a story that will resonate, be attractive but with a purpose for the brand and a positive take-out for the consumer. Which media platform can deliver all that? Only experiential marketing.
However people get bogged down with trying to define the term ‘experiential’ too often and at worst they think its grubby, immeasurable, not ‘sexy’ - the dirty end of the industry. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter how you describe it; the only thing that really matters are the results it can achieve and that it can be accurately measured – if done correctly.
Experiential marketing directly engages consumers and encourages them to participate with the brand, product or service; to touch it, to feel it, to sense it and to play with it. If done well then the consumer will walk away with a positive view of that brand, product or service, and they will tell their friends about it too.
Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of messages, engagement marketers believe that consumers should be actively involved in developing a relationship with the brand, a relationship that is built on a positive experience, or to put it another way: creating emotional advantages.