[Article and some links updated April 4, 2023. Originally published on June 28, 2019.]
Experiential marketing has quickly become one of the industry’s most formidable strategies. As HubSpot found in its 2022 Marketing Industry Trends Report, 83% of marketers planned to spend the same amount or increase their experiential marketing investments last year.
If brand experiences are the new marketing front lines, then they also serve as the new creative frontier for marketers. Brands that embrace experiential don’t just commit to providing customers an experience — they commit to innovating and revamping their approach whenever the time comes.
How to Keep Your Brand Experience Fresh
For experiential marketers, innovation is a full-service variable. It catches your customer’s attention, keeps them engaged, and then hammers your message home.
In other words, innovation is essential to creating a lasting impression with your brand experience. But how can you maximize that creative spirit without maxing out your resources? Start with these three tips:
1. Use partnerships from the outset. It’s tempting to wait until later in the process to bring in a partner agency, but your campaign vision can only get you so far. Without a partner offering knowledge and complementary services, an experiential marketing strategy can quickly jump the track.
Marketers often overlook important variables (e.g., detailed logistics, engineering, technology, etc.) that agencies specialize in. Leverage your partner’s expertise early, which will enable you to base every aspect of your vision on the realities of execution. This approach allows your experiential campaign to assess its technological, structural, and show services options before they become expensive line items.
2. Stick to your brand story. Before your dreams of innovative, premium experiences get too extravagant, remember to keep one thing in mind: your story. What’s your intended message and what “must-haves” do you need to convey it? Your brand story should be what you know best — and what you want your customers to know better.
When you know your story, your partner agency can help you tell it effectively and rationally. Together, you can build on those core elements and weave in add-ons like furniture, decor, or new technology to present an activation that’s unique, on brand, and within budget.
3. Ignore the bells and whistles. Many brand experiences try to cram too much into an event space or campaign. Even with your core message intact, it’s easy to keep adding layers to your experience at the expense of the central story you’re telling.
Instead of adding more features, focus on one or two elements that will “wow” audience members and enhance the overall experience. This could be as simple as a custom fabrication piece or a high-level tech element that leaves a lasting impression. Before you make any decisions, determine whether any enhancements serve the main thrust of your campaign and mesh with your target ROI.
When it hits the mark, the impact of an experiential marketing campaign is undeniable. But it takes no small amount of creativity to pull one off. If you want to make experiential marketing a reliable part of your broader strategy, start with a spirit of innovation.