Located in the midst of their old brewery in Amsterdam, Heineken has set up perhaps one of the most famous beer museums in the world. The Heineken experience now becomes the 17th most sought-after tourist magnet in Amsterdam, boasting over 400,000 paying guests annually. Unlike conventional advertising, Heineken lives up to its slogan which is in itself a remarkable strategy to introduce new visitors to their brand.
“Meet the Beer, Share the Magic”
The burgeoning burst of competition, the myriad emerging avenues of communication, the gradual overloading of advertising space and the ever-increasing demands of customers: How can a business look beyond the horizon to offer what other brands haven’t even conceived of yet?
You can make the mark only if you unravel the mystery behind this “How” that has eluded brands for centuries!
This post is written as an inspiration! An inspiration I took from how Nike enabled users to experience their latest shoes on the product line. I believe the answer to this “How” lies in its amazing example.
Here’s what Nike did…
Nike enabled test-run sneakers set within an awe-inspiring video game environment for all its walk-in customers.
The company recently launched one of its hottest brands, the Nike Epic React. For its promotion, Nike created an amazing 16-bit fantasy video game environment that it calls the React Land, which I find reminiscent of Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros.
Shoppers can just walk up to the mini React Land centre where employees at Nike take a picture of them and transform them into a 16-bit video game character. After that, shoppers tie on the sneakers of their choosing and jog on a treadmill while their video-game avatars sprint through a springy, fluffy fantasy world, bound through deserts and forests, leap dexterously over city tops, and race past the Giant sphinx of Gaza or dancing giant pandas in China. Described as durable, light, soft, and bouncy, pillows, springs, clouds and other fun elements in the game are a metaphorical nod towards the benefits of the react technology.
The game is interactive with vibrant colors and interesting obstacles. Individuals are handed a trigger button which allows them to make jumps to avoid obstacles which make the experience a whole lot better and further reinforces the bounciness of the shoe.
Sneak a peek at what it feels like to be a part of the React Land.
But, are brands like Nike and Heineken the only ones investing their time and effort in promoting the concept? Let’s find out who else is making a major impact using the concept of experiential marketing.
The Adidas D’Rose Jump Store
Many inspirations are derived from some of the most progressive athletes and if they become the brand ambassador for one of your products, what more could you ask for. Pop-up stores are a concept taking a positive swerve, but one store that swept the crowd off their feet is located in London. The launch of the D’Rose Jump Store ignited the hearts of over a million fans.
So what did Adidas do which other brands couldn’t think of? Adidas talked the Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose into launching a pop-up store where fans were given a chance to get their hands on a pair of shoes poised 10 feet off the ground. Now, all that the fans needed to do was to make that jump. Fans poured in from all around the country to get their shot at this amazing chance to win an original D’Ross pair.
The Magic Mirror at Macy’s London
Every shopaholic is well aware of Macy’s! Let’s face it, everyone’s been there. In the heart of the London city, the amazing Macy’s store is opening new doors for experiential marketing by capitalizing on their ultimate Magic Mirror technology. Haven’t heard of it yet? Don’t fret! Let me help you catch up.
At Macy’s, you don’t just buy clothes off the rack, you actually experience yourself in them in a 21st century version of dress up, and that too without visiting a changing room, grappling with piles of clothes slung over your arms. You can digitally try anything from their New York collections by simply swiping and making a selection. Check yourself out in the magic mirror from every angle. Finding that shirt too overflowing on your bodice, tap to tone it down a size or two!
Here’s a video illustration on how sharp the supported technology behind the Magic Mirror is.
Air France In-Flight Entertainment
What makes a flight service stand out above the competition? It’s the number of in-flight services they offer to their customers. And above anything else, what customers want most is entertainment. There is no doubt that long flights can become quite boring and tedious, but with the recently launched Joon airline service of Air France, users are provided with virtual reality headsets inside the plane.
Some are restricting the flight service as solely designed for the Millennials. If you are on a long flight and you have purchased the business class ticket on Joon, you can enjoy some of your favorite TV shows and movies in a virtual reality experience. In fact, just to make things more fun, the airline allows you and the person sitting next to you to share a viewing experience with each other, making the flight more amusing.
Blink Box’s GOT Marketing Stunt
Now, we can’t exactly deem it as an experiential marketing strategy as it felt more like a well-executed PR stunt played out to grab public’s attention. Somebody on the team of BlinkBox (UK movie and TV streaming service) thought it was a cool idea to drop a king size dragon skull at the Dorset beach before the launch of Season 3.
Apparently, the season’s opening saw an amazing 632% increase in revenue which marked the date as one of the highest trading days for the company. All thanks to the great skull, BlinkBox made a fortune.
The Coca-Cola Hug Machine Experiment
If you are a cola lover, you should definitely try one at the Coca-Cola hug machine. Where can you find one? At the National University of Singapore maybe. On the 125th anniversary of the Singaporean University, the Coca-Cola Company installed a “hug me” vending machine within the University premises. Here, students were encouraged to hug the machine in return for an ice-cold and rejuvenating bottle.
It was a pleasant experience as most students were overwhelmed with joy when they got the chance to embrace the machine and have it reciprocate the gesture with a free Cola. Now, one can find a similar machine installed at the Queen’s University as well. Besides, there are other mystery machines placed at different locations. Are you interested in giving a warm fuzzy hugsy to this machine? It’s time you show some love and get yourself a free coke 😉
Bombay Sapphire Immersive Dine-In Train Journey
Last year, the famous Gin brand Bombay Sapphire launched an immersive fine dining experience for individuals on a stationary train in East London. For a reasonable £30, the train was explicitly and rather exorbitantly designed to take individuals on a sumptuous journey of gin discovery. The event was held for only a week, with the chef star Tom Seller preparing gourmet cuisines for everyone.
Although the chic dinner campaign lasted for a limited time, it created a lot of hype among beer aficionados. The exclusive nature of the event, the breathtaking and opulent ambience, and the great tasting cuisines created an everlasting appeal. As a result, Bombay Sapphire nurtured an interminable list of valuable connections and enabled the company to make headlines in celebrated London-based publications.
Hello Sunny Guerilla Marketing
If you have ever visited London, you may realize that it is replete with tourism spots one can visit. However Love Creative, in collaboration with MDS Ideas, initiated a perky and joy-filled campaign with their jovial costume-clad staff encouraging people to visit Fort Lauderdale to glean a unique hospitality experience. They called it the “Hello Sunny” campaign.
As the campaign gained ground across social media platforms, it instilled the passers-by and commuters with joy during the bleakest and most depressing times of the year. The enthusiastic ambassadors of the campaign distributed flyers, leaflets, and brochures at some of the busiest locations across Liverpool Street Station, Southbank, and One New Change shopping centre, inspiring onlookers to participate in a competition to win a free holiday.
Why Should Businesses Invest in Experiential Marketing?
Experiential marketing is all about engaging your customers & prospects at an emotional level. Instead of reading through a dull and drawn-out brand marketing pitch, watching a commercial or experiencing an ad multiple times over, experiential marketing is more predisposed towards the ideology of touch, sense and feel. It gives your customers an unprecedented opportunity to interact with your brand on a personal level.
The end goal of an experiential marketing strategy is to create an emotional connection between buyers and sellers to cultivate long-term customer loyalty. By brewing up a positive bond between the two, a company seeks to reach out to people who are loyal to their brand, and it is, after all, the end achievement of experiential marketing, which is one of the most significant
What it means for Small Businesses
If the above examples are a little too rich for your taste and are making you break out a sweat, remember that fostering an awe-inspiring customer experience doesn’t have to be a bank-breaking one!
Experiential marketing integrates a grassroots movement aimed towards employing avenues such as community networks and social media to reach customers. Small businesses are restricted by limited finances and budgets and are unable to compete with global giants and multimillion corporations when it comes to mainstream advertising. However, to jump on the bandwagon and revamp the feel of your shopping experience, the key is to put on your thinking cap and explore effective yet cheaper ways of ringing in your customers. It should be out-of-the-box, creative, and proven to be successful.
Certain Public campaigns grant customers the WOW factor that is unable to garner by any other traditional mode of advertising, and they don’t even have to be expensive. Since Startups and small-scale businesses seldom have the capital required to invest in high-profile campaigns, creating an experience that impinges on the minds of your consumers for long is better than splurging a fortune on crappy and whine-worthy sales messages. Not only is it cost-effective, the potential outreach can be amazing.
An example of this sort of experiential marketing is that of Fullers brewery, which came up with its #EmptyPint campaign, a catchy social media campaign which entailed their witter users to follow the London Pride page and then post a picture of their empty London Pride glass, accompanied by the caption “#EmptyPint”. The users were rewarded with a free refill of London pride! This is an excellent example of how small businesses can leverage the power of platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to lay up their online brand exposure. Instead of talking up big words with their clients, Fuller encourages them to engage with the brand, which is mutually rewarding for both.
Another great example is of Cabela’s, which specializes in outdoor apparel and gear. In addition to a commendable blend of top-notch products and meticulous customer service, their unique in-store features are what complete the shopping experience for buyers. Cabela’s stores offer something for the entire family, including bargain caves, gun libraries, boat shops, indoor archery ranges, fudge shops, delis, aquariums, wildlife displays, and mountain replicas, so that it is possible to spend hours inside their store. Although their customers come from a wide array of diverse backgrounds, they all share in their love for outdoor adventures, and that is what Cabela capitalizes on!
What Experiential Marketing Looks Like in 2018?
The years ahead of us mark the birth of machine learning, AI, and immersive technologies. Brands of today are going to make use of such technologies to create remarkable experiences for users worldwide. Wouldn’t you like a vending machine that understands your need better before giving you a specific can of free cola? How about a magic mirror that knows what you have already worn previously and helps you pick a better outfit? Because one way or another, it all depends on how you make your customers feel.
The famous Maya Angelou, (poet and philosopher) once said,
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”