How to Add Experiential Elements to Your Branded Event
SO, you’ve been contracted to host an event for a client, or perhaps you’re representing your own brand at an expo or targeted event, and you receive the instruction to “incorporate some experiential elements” into the event. “Awesome!”, you tell them. “I can’t wait”, you say. But then it dawns on you – you don’t know a thing about how experiential factors can aid in your branding efforts. You ask yourself, “now, what?!”
You’ve heard it all before.
You know you’re supposed to make it different, creative, unlike anything your competitors have ever done. You know also that you’re meant to create a “memorable, emotionally evocative experience” for the customer, to “spark conversations”. But how exactly do you do that?
How to plan activations and attract positive media attention through Brand Experiences at events. Or, to put it another way….
How to Plan Experiential Elements for your Events
Always start at the beginning. And by the beginning we mean the basics: Audience, Message, KPI, Strategy
For the sake of this article, we will assume that you have already pinpointed your brand purpose. If you have, you know will already have a good feel for who your brand is and why it is you’re doing what you do.
Ask yourself: Who am I speaking to? Who cares the most about my brand’s purpose or offering?
Who are you expecting to see at your experiential event? There’s no point setting up a marketing message for executives if you’re attending a childcare expo. Your offering and message must match your target audience. To understand that target audience, you’ll have to dig deeper into your market and ask yourself a few questions.
Take into consideration which sector of your own market is most likely to attend your event. What are their pain points? What are their passion points? How does your product improve their lives? What kind of experiences are they looking for? How many people do you think you will be interacting with? How do they connect with their peers? These are all essential points of information for your campaign delivery.
What is the one message you want your audience to go home with? What is the feeling you want them to take home with them? That is what you need to base your campaign around. Who you’re talking to, and what you want to make them feel. This may seem like the single most simple point, but if you have multiple products and services, more than one business partner and various objectives, this can very quickly become one of the hardest things to nail down. Make sure that your message is ultimately driven by your brand purpose.
Key Performance Indicators
How will you measure your success? What is the quantifiable action you would like your audience to take? It can be anything from using your campaign hashtag on Social channels to signing a petition. Maybe you want to drive traffic to your website. Maybe you just want them to tag you in an event photo. Whatever it is, you need to decide on a specific, realistic, and measurable performance indicator before you even start on strategy.
Strategy is the final aspect of your conceptualization stage. Probably by the time you have laid out the details of your audience, message, and KPIs, you will already have had a few ideas about what you want to do. That’s one of the advantages of working each step through. This is where you decide what exactly you are going to do to create a memorable experience for your audience. How are you going to deliver your message? Will you work with an affiliate or are you gunning it alone? What’s your budget?
What Kind of Experiences can you Incorporate?
Now that you have your audience, message, goals and broad campaign ideas laid out, it’s time to start thinking about the finer details.
Start with your existing marketing plan. Your experiential elements should build on what you are already doing in the marketing space. This will help you to maintain a solid presence across all channels.
Make it Memorable
You’ve probably heard that before. A lot.
But how do you make sure that what you do sticks in people’s memories after the fact? We like to call on the immortal words of Maya Angelou, who said, “People will forget what you did, they will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel”.
Whatever you do, ask yourself this “Will it make them feel? How will it make them feel?”.
Make it easy for people to get to you. Make it easy for them to stay. You need to think not only about what they will do when they get to you, but also what it will be like getting to you, and whether being at your stand will be a pleasurable experience, or if it will send them running. Make your stall the most comfortable little haven at the fair.
Stimulate, Entertain, Engage
People come to events to be awed and inspired. Make sure your stand does that. You want to capture their emotional attention, hold it, make them feel and then get them talking.
Remember it’s not just about what you have to say. Get your audience to give you their opinion, ask them to use your hashtag, get them to share, and be ready to respond to the dialog. Make sure that you have someone backstage ready to answer and like social comments.
Last of all, don’t forget to have fun! Adding Experiential Elements to your Marketing Strategy is an effective way to make sure your target audience remembers your brand positively, encouraging them to stay connected with you for the long term.