What does it mean to experience a brand? Experiential marketing finds as many ways possible to help consumers form memorable and emotional connections to the brand in question. Also known as engagement marketing, the purpose of this strategy is to create memorable content that captures the target audience’s attention and fosters meaningful interactions between them and the brand. These interactions keep customers engaged and heighten the brand’s value in their perception, thus fostering customer loyalty. Used in tandem with traditional marketing, experiential marketing is a surefire way to set a brand apart from the competition and secure its longevity.
Traditional marketing is typically associated with billboards, brochures, television commercials and radio spots. Although these mediums are essential to cultivate brand awareness, they often lack the personal touch that gets customers to engage. In experiential marketing, brands must view themselves from the customer’s perspective and engage with insightful customer feedback, such as online reviews and surveys.
In addition to integrating constructive feedback, brand narrative is one of the top ways to connect with consumers. According to Celinne Da Costa, a contributor to Forbes, brand narrative is built from action, target audience and value. Action describes what the brand is doing on behalf of customers, target audience defines who the customers are and value is what people gain from interacting with the brand.
Experiential marketing lends itself to storytelling. Stories enable people to make stronger and more memorable connections, as humans have been telling stories since the beginning of time (evidenced by ancient caveman paintings). Stories, in the way they conjure emotions and images, craft brand familiarity and uniqueness. Furthermore, stories are more likely to be retold when the recipient feels a connection to what they’ve seen or heard. To have the most potency, brands must be honest and compelling in their approach. Consequently, brands must also have a comprehensive understanding of their target market in order to craft a narrative that resonates.
Brand storytelling makes the company’s mission palpable and accessible to its audience. Its narrative clearly establishes what a brand represents, including its purpose, core values and mission. Successful narrative encourages customers to experience the brand beyond just making purchases. One great example is JUST Water. JUST Water is a brand that ethically sources spring water and bottles it in a reusable package, so that consumers can refill their bottle with tap water instead of throwing it away. When the consumer finally throws the bottle in the recycling bin, they can rest easy knowing the package is made of paper and plant-based plastic that’s also ethically sourced.
Their mission is to only pump excess water that their community base, Glens Falls, New York, doesn’t need. Additionally, they pay six times the water rate to support Glens Falls’ infrastructure, while pricing the product affordably for their environmentally conscious consumers. Not only is eco-friendly packaging and ethical sourcing consistent with JUST Water’s narrative, it helps their consumers experience the brand by fueling the preservation of natural resources and the overall environment through their purchase. And the fact that they can keep reusing the bottle serves as a branded reminder.
The result of successful experiential marketing is brand loyalty, increased reach, customer insight and higher reports of customer satisfaction through positive experiences between brands and customers. Experiential marketing helps a brand stand out among competition by way of unique narrative. Customers have many different brands to choose from for a variety of products and services, but their experiences determine which choice they make.