Brand Experience Report 2014 - agency views

Five experts answer a key question on the growing role that experiential plays in the modern marketing mix.


How have brand experiences changed over the years?

A few years ago, brands and clients were thinking about the traditional marketing model, above-the-line campaigns, filtered through to live events and delivery. Now brands think about the big idea around their objectives and how to engage with consumers in a relevant way. There are so many ways to connect now. For brands it's about being clear on the choices and what they can deliver. Consumer immersion and interaction with a brand in an appropriate, relevant way can be very powerful.


What is your approach to experiential marketing?

At PS LIVE we have used a multi-channel approach to extend the reach of experiential to live well beyond both the calendar dates and the geography of the live activity itself – we have sought to extend its footprint across all media. With this approach we aim to create a more effective, and measurable form of brand experience.

Working with some of our media agency partners we have sought to put experiential at the heart of a media plan in which a combination of bought and owned media is used, supported by social and PR to drive advance uptake, awareness and coverage around the live experience. This is in addition to, and not instead of, the usual principles of experiential; namely creating a quality two-way conversation between a brand and its customers. Increasingly we are interested in a swing away from experiential as a largely tactical medium to a strategic platform, and we have found that working with media agencies alongside the development of a trans-media plan has helped enormously in this aim, and increasingly more and more of our work is following this pattern.

This way of doing things ensures that a brand experience becomes a destination event experience, as opposed to something a consumer just happens upon at, for instance, a shopping mall, or a music festival for instance.


What is the role of experiential within the marketing mix?

It's about creating authentic content. Getting consumers to talk about a brand will be far more authentic than the brand talking about itself. There are so many channels now, so we see the role of experiential as being to generate content, make people aware and educate them on a particular brand or product. Then they will actually feel empowered to go on and become an ambassador for that brand if they truly believe in it. Consumers are far more interested now in a brand's backstory.


Why is experiential becoming a more useful marketing tool?

People are increasingly sophisticated with the experiences being created, in the sense of catering for secondary audiences. That doesn't include consumers who might not stop and take part in an experience, but those who walk past or see it or are in the same environment when the experience takes place. They might not get the full engagement and benefit from that, but they will take an awful lot out from just the opportunity to have seen the activity. Experiences should be portable.


What are the benefits of using technology in experiential marketing?

It's a great tool to enhance the experience, and consumers are a lot more comfortable with it. Many experiences have a technology element because often one objective is to increase dwell-time on a stand. The longer the consumer is having a deeper engagement, the more likely they are to absorb key messages and share them - technology enhances that experience. It makes things more interactive, more participative, more fun and more engaging.

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