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January 11, 2022

Was That a Great Experience or Was It an Ad?

Taylor Waisanka

Brand experience article.

How fast do you skip past ads on social media? You most likely don’t even consider what brand or product it could’ve been; your thumb automatically swipes up as you give a slight eye roll.

A 2021 Freeman Global Brand Experience Study shows us that more CMOs are devoting between 21-50% of their budgets to experiential marketing campaigns rather than allocating resources to traditional marketing. As we all know, the market has become almost completely digitized through social media, and by now, two entire generations have either been conditioned or birthed into this social media era. Basically, they’ve seen it all—but they’re still on a quest for more. “More of what?” you might ask.

Have you ever seen those movies where the main character starts out in their humble town with their humble life then strikes some luck and moves to the big city only to keep chasing this hunger for more, and then eventually ends up losing sight of what they truly want, only to end up happily returning to their previously humble life fueled by what really matters? Well, that’s the current market. Consumers have seen all the bells and whistles of technology and social media, and after indulging in and observing its effects, they’re returning to what matters most—authentic connection. Tangible experiences. Lasting memories. So what does this mean for the future of marketing?

It means you get to be honest and creative. Your brand is your story. Sharing and inviting your audience into your brand’s narrative is the key to an authentic, lasting connection. Experiential marketing opens up many opportunities for brands to tell their stories in unique ways. Take Vans, for example. In 2019, The House of Vans opened a pop-up shop at the abandoned Jefferson School building in Detroit, MI to host ‘zine-making workshops, poster screen-printing classes, and daily open skating for Vans fans and skating enthusiasts. Kids, creatives, and skaters flooded the pop-up shop to not only buy a pair of kicks but to become a part of the House of Vans’ narrative, which is “creativity that moves us.” The story of the brand became activated, inspiring, and maybe even changing peoples’ lives through the brand’s mission.

When we give our brand a face and a personality, consumers naturally connect on a deeper level. You’ve heard the phrase “Show, don’t tell,” which is exactly what brands have to do in order to engage with consumers. And while traditional mediums have their time and place, experiential marketing transforms the potential of your brand into a reality. Lisa Major, an ATN Events writer, explained it like this—“(It’s a) try before you buy…allowing consumers to experience a product first hand can have a huge impact on sales, not to mention it gives you valuable, real-time feedback.” Additionally, it communicates your brand’s story, mission, and values through more than convincing—but through tangible proof.

When thinking about your brand’s next campaign, budget for what works and not for what’s been done in the past—be inspired by some fresh experiential marketing ideas:

  • Pop-up shops
  • Interactive murals
  • Sidewalk displays
  • Public transportation activations
  • Digital Experiences i.e. Gucci creating a filter for users to feel luxurious
  • Photo Ops
  • Public art installations

And just remember—you are competing with the last best experience your customer had. If you’re interested in taking the next step towards experiential marketing for your brand’s next campaign, reach out to us!