Over the past 30 years or so, consumer spending has shifted largely from products to experiences. In fact, what analysts are calling “the experience economy” grew 70% more than baseline consumer spending since 1987. There’s good evidence that harnessing this preference for experiences pays off for brands. According to a 2016 report, 72% of consumers say they feel warmly toward brands that provide great marketing experiences—and 74% of event participants said they were more likely to buy the associated product.
But experiential marketing—this form of intentional brand experience—is easier said than done. With all the different types of experiential marketing available, it can be tough to even begin strategizing. A broad view of the practice can help get you started. There are two general types of experiential marketing, categorized by distinct branding goals.
The first type of experiential marketing introduces company values.
To successfully forge an emotional connection with consumers, marketers must convey their brand values as clearly as possible—and experiences provide a powerful way to not only report these values, but demonstrate them. These efforts aren’t designed to make sales (at least, not immediately); they’re about forging a connection based on shared positive qualities. So what does that look like?
One classic example of a values-driven experiential marketing campaign is Red Bull’s Flugtag. The energy drink’s brand projects fun, excitement, and exuberant living. To convey these values, Red Bull invited fans to build their own human-powered flying machines—a clear connection to the brand slogan “Red Bull Gives You Wings.” Then they hosted a series of wild competitions in which participants attempted to launch their homemade vehicles from a nearly 30-foot platform over a body of water. The point of these events: to associate its brand with a feeling of adventure.
On the digital side, a great example of values-driven experiential marketing comes from pet food giant Purina. Its Amazon Alexa skill, Ask Purina, guides users to the ideal dog breed for their lifestyles in terms of the breed’s energy level, size, behavioral tendencies, and other characteristics. By matching people with compatible dog breeds, Purina demonstrates its commitment to improving life for pets and their owners—key values that spark a potentially lifelong connection to the brand. However, Ask Purina currently speaks only in Alexa’s voice; a better option would be for the brand to develop a unique text-to-speech (TTS) voice that creates a stronger association with Purina—not with Amazon.
The second type of experiential marketing focuses on building brand equity.
Once you introduce your brand values to consumers, the next challenge arises: How do you continue to build brand equity, cementing the relationship with customers? That’s the goal of the second general type of experiential marketing.
The legendary experiential marketing campaign in this category is also one of the longest-running: the Pepsi Challenge, which the company launched in 1975. In its original incarnation, the Pepsi Challenge offered a blind taste test to consumers around the United States. For existing Pepsi customers, this preference strengthened their partisanship in the Cola Wars. For Coke drinkers, the challenge suggested that a change of allegiance was possible.
Today, interactive media is bringing experiential marketing into consumers’ homes, allowing marketers to further brand equity on a much larger scale than a single event. Smart speakers are a key part of this growth. For example, take spirit brand Johnnie Walker’s Amazon Alexa skill, which offers guided tastings, facts about whisky, and assistance choosing among the brand’s products. Like Ask Purina, the Johnnie Walker skill operates through Alexa’s voice. While this remains an innovative form of experiential marketing, an individualized TTS voice would help the brand create a stronger connection with consumers.
Augmented reality (AR) is an exciting space for experiential marketing as well. MyLADS sports collectables give fans a lifelike experience of their favorite players, strengthening their connection to the club. The physical product—a “LAD”—consists of a plastic figurine of a pro-sports player. The experience begins when fans open the MyLADS app and point a smartphone camera at the figure. Through augmented reality, the player seems to come to life on the pedestal, with stats, game day photos, and player quotes floating about the figure. The app also allows users to interact with life-size digital representations of the players—and to film these interactions or take selfies. Altogether, this direct interaction helps to keep fans coming back; you could do the same for your brand.
Identify your brand clearly in digital experiential marketing efforts.
At an in-person branded event, brand identification is easy; your logo appears around every turn. In a digital, voice-first environment, you don’t have that option. Instead, establish and grow brand equity with the audio equivalent of a logo: a custom branded TTS voice from ReadSpeaker AI.
Regardless of the types of experiential marketing campaigns you launch, make sure your audience knows who’s providing the fun with a distinct, recognizable TTS voice that remains consistent across channels. Contact us to learn more about branded TTS or to start developing your unique brand voice today.