When engineering a successful product or brand launch, perception is everything. Heavyweight social media overlords Brian Solis and Chris Brogan have suggested that a brand is simply a mental creation to help users differentiate between one product or company and another. Ultimately it’s a culmination of shared experiences.
When you consider that the past five years have seen the most dramatic increase in sharing, or at least the avenues to do so, the opportunity to capitalise on this concept of a shared experience within companies and products is obvious.
Gone are the days of a cocktail party and PowerPoint presentation at a product launch. The increase of offerings to customers and the rise of competition have made it harder for organisations to differentiate themselves solely by providing products or services that satisfy customer needs. Experiential events represent the next generation of communication – the art of creating an interaction or experience where the result is an emotional connection to and changed perception of a person, brand or idea.
An excellent example of this is ‘Push for Drama’. This effort from Belgian agency Duval Guillaume forever raised the bar for stunts. In 2012, in a sleepy Belgian town square, passersby encountered a mysterious red button labeled “Push to Add Drama.” Those who bit unleashed havoc on the streets in the form of ambulances, fist fights and gunshots – all in an effort to promote the channel’s “Daily Dose of Drama.” This really kick started the use of brand experiences being used as weapons of mass communication and story telling.
As a race human beings crave interaction and if you bring together the incredible technological advances with the simple act of getting people together in one room for one purpose, taking them on a highly personalised journey jam packed with messages, excitement and surprises they will be naturally led towards the desired conclusion.
When executed correctly, experiential marketing and events can provide the consumer with their own, personal, and hopefully positive, experience of a brand. It is direct, it is one to one and it allows for a greater emotional connection than many other forms of marketing communication. And herein lies the value. If the experience is targeted to the right consumer, in the right way, it can build a strong personal bond with a brand, which can create long-term loyalty and advocacy.
Acceleris is consistently capitalising on this concept, working alongside marketiers to relate ideas to stakeholders and using next generation events and communication methods.
Two great examples of this are a groundbreaking fundraising and public awareness drive for one of the UK’s oldest maritime charities, The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, and the launch of gourmet confectionery Ultimate English at the BBC’s Good Food show.
Celebrations of the Sea successfully brought together celebrities and world class sports personalities including Daniel Craig, Robson Green, TV historian Dan Snow, Countryfile’s Ellie Harrison and world champion yachtsman Mike Golding to create and endorse the world’s first ever photography exhibition held underwater. The coverage generated from the project resulted in nearly seven million opportunities to see or hear about the charity with web coverage at nearly six million unique visitors.
To launch Ultimate English Acceleris brought brand mascot Alfred English to life – literally. Charged with ‘banging the drum for fun – and fudge’ Acceleris used a real life one man band to accompany promotional teams on a tasting tour of Yorkshire – where the brand was initially piloted. Touring local print, broadcast and online media outlets as well as City Centres, Acceleris created a fun, quirkey and eye catching event which combined fudge tastings with the fun of the performance. Acceleris achieved almost 27m opportunities to see or hear about the event across the region alone, securing over 40 pieces of coverage spanning print, online and broadcast.
Reverting back to Gerald Simmons’ quote above, perception is everything. It is the future of marketing, communication and events and will put companies at an advantage in comparison to traditional communication. The events need to be well designed and have to be based on the brand’s essence, allowing people to immerse themselves in the experience and change their perception of the brand.