From partying with artists and musicians to enjoying some bespoke sweets, branded events frequently bring a bundle of joy into everyday life. How do creative strategists and experiential branding experts engage with consumers? How do they get new customers excited about a product launch, or attach a cool sense of chic exclusivity to a brand’s aura? Looking through some successful branding & experiential marketing events, we have identified some proven takeaways from viral experiences that have shaken the market!
Branding Parties, Everyone’s Invited!
When brands set up a creative party, with refreshments, photo-ops and kaleidoscopic, imaginative experiences, who wouldn’t love to attend? Refinery29 did just that with their creative experiential marketing initiative, “29Rooms”. Unfolding across the United States in various urban centers from coast-to-coast, 29Rooms began as an opportunity to partner with creative minds to craft immersive, unforgettable experiences. Aligned with the Refinery 29 brand, 29Rooms reinforces the idea that this online outlet geared toward women seeking a stylish, savvy lifestyle steeped in wellness. With partners like Janelle Monae and Lena Waithe, these events have cultivated a fierce brand loyalty for Refinery 29. Production managers, exhibit designers, event producers, social media and marketing staff and graphic designers all proved to be instrumental in leading this rewarding initiative for the company. Creatives interested in linking a brand’s mission to unforgettable experiences, take note of 29Rooms’ success and seek out similar opportunities where visitors can leave excited to be a part of a brand that is making creativity come alive. Similar initiatives combining art and branding, including Olympus camera’s Perspective Playground and Kohler’s contemporary Arts/Industry artist residency in Wisconsin, align creative brands with artists who are pushing boundaries forward. Brands provide creative jobs to experienced producers and marketing professionals dedicated to expanding awareness for artists while also cultivating access for visitors to artistic experiences with the brand’s logo prominently displayed.
Creative Jobs: It’s All in the Details
In addition to installing, documenting and spreading awareness around experiential events, creatives who are involved in brand strategy have a blank canvas to paint on. These brand managers can engage in a strategic re-imagining of brands, crafting initiatives open to the public that are tailor-made for community engagement and social media. Often, art murals and art installations play a vital part in engaging wide audiences in re-imagining what a brand can do. Take Volkswagen’s Stockholm, Sweden-based art installation, “Piano Staircase”. Placed at a metro station, members of the public entering and exiting the subway had the option of riding an escalator or walking up and down a staircase that made music. The project not only encouraged creativity in the everyday lives of visitors. It also encouraged healthy behaviors by enticing subway riders to walk up the stairs day after day creating new music. Capturing these passersby on camera making symphonies on the staircase, Volkswagen had the added benefit of aligning their brand with fun experiences as well as healthy behaviors.
Who would’ve imagined a musical instrument as part of Volkswagen’s marketing approach? Marketing guru Seth Godin, who has provided insights to Artrepreneur’s audiences on arts marketing, was quoted as remarking that “…people do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” Creative jobs in the field of experiential marketing allow marketing professionals and producers to dream up a world that people want to inhabit: an event enabling visitors to escape into a world of storytelling, magic and interactive elements. Being a participant and joining in the fun is a visceral way to connect visitors to a positive brand experience.
Another key aspect of creating a positive experience around a brand or a new product involves awareness and inclusivity. By partnering with marginalized voices and/or adopting an inclusive, supportive approach to social standards, brands can attract millennial audiences and embrace a positive worldview. Events and campaigns such as Dove beauty products’ promotion of inclusive attitudes toward body confidence and self-esteem have been highlighted across the board as a positive, influential marketing campaign. Engaging consumers with a way to re-affirm their positive attributes and/or embrace modern beauty standards not rooted in perfection and self-criticism, campaigns like Dove’s or even Lean Cuisine’s #WeighThis campaign promote a healthy sense of self while associating the brand with a positive self-image.
While branding and marketing professionals used to spend their time fretting about what sports events or concerts to align themselves with, today’s creative jobs in experiential marketing center around ways in which audiences can experience an authentic connection to a brand’s purpose. Perhaps this sets the bar high, and it often involves a more robust investment of staffing and resources, but the resulting campaign can drive a wide range of visitors engaging with a brand and sharing about it across their personal social media feeds. Empowering consumers to share their own experiences and to promote a brand in a positive light adds a personal touch, encouraging entire communities to gain insights into what is important to brands. Creative professionals steering these experiences take the brand into their hands: an honor, however daunting! Taking the reins and directing your brand toward a wider, more inclusive and creative vision – then translating that vision to the world – is the fun part of working in experiential marketing. It also requires more than just a little imagination.
Have experience working in experiential marketing? Have a solid grasp of what makes a memorable branded event? Share your thoughts in the comments below!