As experiential marketers, we understand the importance of generating brand awareness through events, as well as, the potential difficulties presented. Thus, this article will educate prospective experiential marketers on the 5 most effective experiential campaign tactics for driving awareness.
Metrics Associated With Awareness
In order to effectively execute awareness campaigns, it is important to understand the key metrics which will help determine the success of the campaign.
Measured in: No. of people
Reach is one of the two most important metrics for awareness campaigns, showing brands how many consumers were exposed, at least once, to the promotional activity. A word of warning, reach statistics give no indication as to whether or not the consumer absorbed the content.
Measured in: No. of people
The second of the two crucial metrics, engagement measures the number of people who interacted with you campaign’s content in some way. Engagement is arguably the most valuable metric for this reason, giving a closer indication as to hoe successful the campaign was in getting its message across.
Measured in: No. of samples
Only applicable when sampling is being used, samples distributed is the perfect metric for a product awareness campaign, as it measures the number of consumers who have received what is essentially a trial-version of the product to familiarise themselves with.
Measured in: Likes, Shares, Impressions (Dependent on platform)
Technology has changed, and reporting procedures must accommodate this. Measuring social interactions shows brands how many consumers have been exposed to the campaign’s content through social channels, as well as, who is promoting the content.
Top 5 Awareness Building Experiential Marketing Tactics
Now we understand the context, it’s time to get down to business, starting with…
1. Publicity Stunts
Publicity stunts take many forms, and are a common sight in modern marketing strategy. Whether it’s Westworld’s android flash mob taking over London, Hamleys’ annual Toy Parade, KFC’s edible nail polish or even the 1999 WI calendar which inspired ‘Calendar Girls’, brands everywhere are recognising the potential of this medium, due, in part, to its ability to be highly reactive.
Generate Maximum Exposure
With a wealth of live-content creation tools accessible for free it is a cardinal sin not to make use of it. Whether promoted in advance or kept under wraps, the localised nature of publicity stunts means the natural reach will be relatively low. These tools give your content, and therefore reach, a larger platform. A perfect example is Red Bull Stratos, topping 8 million viewers on its live-stream.
Publicity stunts are a great opportunity to generate awareness through PR opportunities. The inventive nature of these campaigns means they can often feature in local, trade and even national publications.
To illustrate this point, we can look at Facebook’s campaign, in partnership with Bompas & Parr, which turned the London Eye into a pie chart, displaying General Election results as they were announced. The campaign featured in Event Magazine (trade) and Timeout (local), as well as national press including ITV, BBC, The Telegraph and many more.
A Potential Game Breaker
This quote from Infusionsoft aptly sums up the potential of publicity stunts:
“When they work, they grab the attention of the media and your brand can get significant mileage out of it. That mileage can put you ahead of the competition, even when the competition outspends you in other areas.”
Leafleting, or flyering, is a traditional marketing tactic that’s been around the block a few times, however remains effective even when competing with advanced technology, with “89% of consumers remember receiving a door drop mailing” and, “up to 79% of recipients keeping leaflets or passing them on to a friend who may be interested in the services offered.” (DMA)
An Effective Add-on
Whilst it can be effective on its own, leafleting is often best used as a supplementary activity, supporting a larger campaign. This is because pre-engaged customers are more receptive to promotional materials, and the pre-established familiarity with the brand will make them more inclined to learn more.
One of our recent staffing campaigns, in conjunction with Golley Slater & Loteri Cymru, did exactly that, using giant inflatables to create curiosity, whilst distributing promotional leaflets to fill in the information gap.
Finally, event technology can be used to enhance the reach of leafleting campaigns. Here at eventeem, we use MediaWalkers (mobile display advertising) to promote key campaign messages in high footfall areas where staff have no chance to engage each and every passer-by, using visual displays.
When it comes to sampling, the numbers speak for themselves. In terms of awareness, sampling is a big draw, with 81% of respondents to an SEA survey saying they walked up to a company’s display because they wanted a product sample or other free giveaway. Building on this, 59% of consumers are likely to tell others about new products they’ve experienced (Nieslen), showing it to be a great source of word-of-mouth promotion.
As a campaign tactic, sampling is highly versatile as, for most brands, samples require little preparation. This means sampling campaigns can visit a variety of locations including festivals, shopping centres, city centres, retail outlets and train stations. Furthermore, advances in event tech are assisting brands that require additional preparation, for example, sampling bikes with mobile chillers allow the distribution of ambient samples at their optimum temperature, perfect for ice-cream or bottled drinks.
Sampling doesn’t need to be in the street, we often supply sampling staff for teapigs in retail locations. In fact 57% of respondents to a YA survey agreed they would go to a retailer they don’t normally visit to receive a sample. Combine this with the fact that 73% of consumers said they were likely to buy a product after trying it (SEA) and you have a winning formula.
4. Interactive OOH Advertising
Many tell stories of the death of traditional advertising, however it’s perhaps more appropriate to say it’s evolving. This is certainly true for out of home advertising, with a 40% increase in digital outdoor sites in the UK predicted by 2020 (Kinetic Worldwide), this means brands can now use this format for more than just still image content.
The beauty of out-of-home interactive advertising is the huge choice brands have with how they execute. Brands like Carlsberg, Babybel and Nurofen have all used interactive billboards to generate awareness. Similarly Reebok used a speed-camera vending machine and both Lucozade and Pepsi have used interactive bus-stops as part of their experiential activities.
The potential reach of this channel is nothing to baulk at. JCDecaux Airports’ Reach exceeds 114 million passengers each year, whilst Clear Channel Malls’ 288 digital (D6) mall screens, in 85 of the UK’s busiest shopping malls, reach over 8 million shoppers per week. (ScreenMediaDaily) The challenge is for brands to produce relevant, engaging content that entices consumers to stop and absorb.
The pop-up industry in the UK is huge, pop ups contribute £2.3 billion a year to the economy, with 12.3% revenue growth in 2015 and 26,000 employed in the industry. (WeArePopup) Pop-ups are another great campaign style when looking to generate awareness. They provide a concrete, real-world location fans can visit and immerse themselves in the brand through unique experiences. This, combined with their exclusive nature, makes pop-ups easy to promote and, according to a survey by CEBR, popular among millennials, who have the highest average spend in pop-ups.
A great example of a pop-up campaign is Pantone’s colour café. Taking place in Monaco for the past two summers, the café serves a variety of food, hot drinks and juices all branded with Pantone’s colour swatches. This campaign is great because of its creativity, stepping outside their typical business model, Pantone’s seaside café generated hype on both social media and in the press.
Physical and Digital Synergy
Pop-ups, provide a sole bricks-and-mortar location for brands, many of whom do not exist offline. However, this digital-physical synergy also works in reverse, with social media again proving its worth as a tool for amplifying reach. This quote from Eliason perfectly sums up the power of social media in pop-up campaigns:
“The brands are looking for compelling content to share and the consumers are looking for compelling content to engage with. They might get 30,000 people to come into the store to come into the event, but there might be another 300,000 impressions online.”
With this information, you now have a starting point for your next awareness driven marketing campaign. There are just two more things I have to say, firstly, take a simple idea and do it well, the majority of your success will be dependent on the execution, not the idea. And finally, take a holistic approach, even the most successful experiential marketing campaign can be improved with the proper social, digital and direct marketing support, always aim to reflect this in your activities.