What is the right way to do experiential marketing
The experiential marketing industry has fast become an indispensable aspect of a marketer’s arsenal. Today, this industry has managed to evolve to integrate technology in the experience and digital outreach to further strengthen the message, making consumer engagement deep and meaningful. Yet, what it needs is to avoid the pitfalls that come with enthusiasm and not enough experience.
In order to avoid making mistakes, you need to start with conducting a pre-mortem of your event plan — analyse what may go wrong and the impact it can have on brand health. For this will keep you in good stead and prepare the teams for successful outcomes. Plot these on a probability and impact axis. Now, those factors in the highly improbable/ low impact quadrant aren’t essential, but the high probability/ high impact quadrant must be addressed.
For instance, for a public concert with a headline act, it may be wise to see how to handle a PR fallout, basis the individual’s behaviour or statement regarding any issue. How can one ensure this doesn’t happen? By having a strict code of conduct signed by all parties.
In a managed event, too, it is important to have a set of common adhered values. For example: the lack of safety leading to an accident that costs one dearly is highly probable and could have high impact. Castrol was amongst the first clients to introduce a safety policy not just for attendees, but for its event partners as well. This is now an industry standard with most MNCs, but it is fair to lay these and other scenarios down.
Secondly, if you want to have a successful event/ experience, one must mutually decide the metrics of measurement. Is it likes, shares, sales, comments, social chatter, PR value? With the incredible evolution of technology, we have many tools to measure impact and delivery.
Cultural and purposeful
We exist in a landscape where we now interact with global audiences. Hence, it is important to understand cultural sensitivities better. Protocol is paramount in government projects.
Diplomacy and political dialogue are positive if protocol is adhered to, and attention to detail is imperative. At a local level in India, too, this is critical. With a diverse cultural landscape, each region of India has its own unique traditions, local nuances and regional sensitivities.
All brands are involved in commerce, but today they must learn to profit from purpose — with new celebrities like Greta Thunberg and the loud voices on climate change, brands need to step up and show their greener side. The most profitable brands today are ones that are conscious of their carbon footprint, or are at least attempting to take a step in that direction.
Take a look at Patagonia, or shoes made from recycled plastic, clothing made from materials like bamboo, soya and banana. Each brand must strive for purpose. The purpose isn’t solely environmental; it could be societal. Take a look at the Red Label campaign which is shattering myths, breaking down barriers and promoting unity. Brands without purpose seem empty and hollow.
Marketers should also create an experience that easily transforms across multiple media.
Finally, planning is key and so is paying the right price. The two caveats I heard in my 20-year journey are: ideas are endless, time is not; and if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys! Pay your agency well, plan with them and let the show begin.
The author is founder and MD, Geometry Encompass