People are willing to engage with brands that offer them some combination of relevance, convenience and entertainment right in the moment. But what happens when your audience is harder to reach, your resources are limited or your brand is taking its first steps into experiential marketing? Time to get creative. We believe that brand experiences matter more than ever, and that your brand has the power to connect with more of the right people—you just have to identify and prioritize the right efforts. As recently discussed, it’s not just a hunch, its biological.
Here’s five actionable and strategic ways we’ve helped our clients win more battles on the ground where they matter most.
SOCIAL BROADCASTING: IGNITING SOCIAL ATTENTION AND EARNED MEDIA THROUGH REAL-TIME CONTENT PRODUCTION
If the rise of Social Media has proven anything, it’s that people crave to share their experiences with the world—emojis and cat videos proved this very quickly. Put this thinking to work for your brand: By capturing and producing content for your audience to share in real-time, the experience goes beyond the event footprint and into the hands of a networked, word-of-mouth digital world. This way, when they have a craving to share, you’re there to deliver.
Currently, 85% of millennials own and operate a smartphone. And we know what they do with them. They post, tweet, snap, stream, tag, share, like, friend, text and more, regardless of location and time. And your brand’s core audience can’t wait to share something—but what? Not a three-minute highlight reel of your activation two weeks later. Instead, they want real-time, relevant content to share right there in the moment.
For Polaris and their Camp RZR brand experiences, we did just that. 28 videos were created and launched strategically throughout the 48-hour experience across all channels—including assets that were easily shared by Polaris athletes and celebrity influencers. Producing real-time content highlighting what 15,000 people experienced on the ground helped the Camp RZR event achieve 3M Social impressions in a highly compressed timeframe. It’s the perfect case of how strategic planning and a content creation budget can extend the footprint across the globe.
IDENTIFY AND AMAZE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
To promote the new Walking Dead Scratch ticket for the Minnesota State Lottery, we helped identify two key locations where our 18-49 target audience would be and where our creative would have the most impact.
First, we confirmed that from 6:00 – 9:00am and 4:00 – 6:00pm our target audience is most likely commuting to work, and that a large portion of them commute via Light Rail public transit. That’s where our first activation came to life—Zombies riding commuter trains.
Then we knew our audience loves spending weekends out and about with their friends and family. So we helped activate a similar experience, that was more tailored to shoppers at the Mall of America on a busy Saturday morning. That event promoted a lead-up to a Zombie Undead Dance Party activation at the Zombie Pub Crawl the following weekend.
How do you know when it worked? MN Lottery Officials have called these activations the most successful MN Lottery events in their 25+ year history.
FIND YOUR BRAND HEROES AND GIVE THEM A PLATFORM
Who are the heroes of your brand? For Red Bull, their athletes are their heroes and key brand influencers. So we ensure their stories are seen and celebrated before, during and after the event on Social and in local Media coverage—amplifying and strengthening a person’s connection between sport and experience while on-site.
For Target and our Tailgate program, college students were the heroes, so we gave them a platform to take their tailgate to the next level. Their enthusiasm for our surprise and delight approach amplified the entire tailgate, as word spread one group at a time that Target is making their experience even better.
How can the trusted voices of people you’ve identified as heroes, or found to be heroes, be amplified to gain the interest of other people your brand wants to talk to? Whoever they are, and they’re out there, give them a platform and a compelling reason to share your message.
HAVE TARGETED GOALS AND TRACK THEM IN REAL-TIME
Think about your brand: what are things within your control that can make your next activation even better? Use what your audience, especially your core, are saying, doing, tweeting, snapping, posting and engaging with to shape your brand experience. How does tracking in real-time help amplify your activation? It helps you gain actionable insights about how people are reacting. More importantly, it gives you the correct context to start or adjust your dialogue with people about their experience.
Measure those things and their impact in real-time. Often, your partners and collaborators share similar goals. Engage them early in your planning process to discover how their tools and analytics might complement yours.
TAKE SOMETHING ACTIONABLE AWAY FROM EVERY ACTIVATION
Flawless execution and positive emotions can only fuel your program so far. Target Tailgate was a six-stop national brand activation program at big-ticket college football tailgates. After the first two stops it was clear that a one-size-fits-all strategy would not work because each campus and tailgating environment was so different. We had to be more flexible and adaptable in our approach.
First, we identified the consumer challenge through testimonials and video footage. A challenge/solution document was presented to the client after each stop. Together, we aligned on a new strategy for attacking each location’s unique challenges. After each activation, a debrief meeting was held and a recap document was generated. The revised strategy helped make each experience more unique to that environment.
While it’s important to have the right physical infrastructure on the ground, remember—it can’t think, it can’t adapt. Only you and your team can. Work on tweaking and testing your timing, location, training, script and key messages first, then think about your on-the-ground brand assets and how to best utilize them.
It’s time to think in a broader context about how hard your marketing dollars are working. Next, we’ll discuss smart ways to get more from your agency and event partnerships so you can spot opportunities faster and make more informed decisions about your experiential marketing.